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Church Hill Association votes to oppose both concepts of Route 5 Corridor Study

February 23, 2012 2:45 pm by

At the most recent regularly held meeting of the Church Hill Association, members voted to oppose two concepts proposed under the Route 5 Corridor Study.

A copy of the response and letter to the Honorable Dwight Jones, Mayor of the City of Richmond follows:

The Honorable Dwight C. Jones Mayor, City of Richmond
900 East Broad Street, Suite 201 Richmond, VA 23219

Re: Route 5 Corridor Study
Henrico County and the City of Richmond

Dear Mayor Jones,

?I write to you on behalf of the Church Hill Association, a civic association of residents, business, and interested parties living or working in the Church Hill area of Richmond and the St. John’s Historic District.

The Route 5 Corridor Study is an admirable example of collaboration between the County of Henrico and the City of Richmond, and their various agencies. Our members were pleased to be able to participate in the charrette and public meetings for this undertaking. The study, we understand, was a concerted effort to accommodate future growth and to anticipate planning needs in our growing region. We believe the study is a step in the right direction.

At our most recent association meeting our members voted to oppose both concepts offered to the City of Richmond as proposed under the study. Viktoria Badger of the City of Richmond and Lee Yolton from the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission have given several presentations to our zoning committee, board of directors, and our members. After a thorough discussion, we find that both concepts present a serious threat to our neighborhood, including its quality of life and the historic value of the East End, Church Hill, and the City of Richmond.

The substantial concerns of our association and neighborhood are as follows:

(1) We object to any improvements below Libby Hill that would materially cut into the
footprint of the Hill;

(2) We object to any large overpass in the “view that named Richmond” at the Williamsburg
Road/Main Street intersection. This viewshed was recognized by the General Assembly in 2007 (HJ 658 Patron — Del. Jennifer L. McClellan of Richmond), celebrating the panoramic viewshed of the James River from Libby Hill Park in Richmond; and the viewshed was the basis for the naming of Richmond;

(3) We advise all improvements should enhance pedestrian and bike connectivity to Church Hill and to adjacent areas;

(4) We request the City show that cut-through automobile commuter traffic will not come through Church Hill; and

(5) We strongly encourage traffic dispersion through existing commercial areas by restricting use of one way streets in adjacent areas, and improved street parking so as to allow less traffic congestion resulting in fewer “bottlenecks.” This could be an immediate remedy to existing traffic issues.

(6) In addition, I have engaged in lengthy conversations with the surrounding neighborhood associations and merchant associations. All of us feel it is we who will be directly affected by these proposed concepts. It is we who shall bear the negative impacts should either of these concepts be approved by the City of Richmond.

In sum, we urge to you to strongly consider the impacts of this study, both in its current state, and the long term consequences of the two proposed concepts. The Church Hill area, Shockoe Bottom, Rocketts Landing, and the St. John’s Historic District are the foundations of our great city and the combined histories of these areas have shaped our nation. The revolutionary war, the abominable history of human trafficking, and the ensuing civil war are deeply embedded in this area. To tarnish our history by allowing unrestrained and irresponsible developments is something we cannot support and should not permit.

I welcome your thoughts and comments on the afore mentioned and further suggest we agree to meet to discuss our concerns. Councilwoman Newbille is well aware of our stand on this issue and would, I feel, be a valuable resource for all should we further engage in any discourse. Until such time as we are able to meet, I remain,

Sincerely,

Jon Ondrak


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