By Thomas F. Wilds, for the Church Hill Association Transportation Committee
The Church Hill Association Transportation Committee meets regularly on the second Monday of each month at various locations throughout the Church Hill community. Over the course of the last six months, committee members have been very active advocating for improvements to all things involving the movement of people to work, recreation and other community activities. We’ve looked at roads, sidewalks, stairwells, traffic, parking, and signage.
Some of our accomplishments include recommending to the city over three dozen locations for bike racks. Many of you have witnessed how responsive the city has been by installing a great number of racks where they are now installed in concrete sidewalks. Another wave of racks are to be installed in brick sidewalk locations in the near future.
We’ve conducted a review of the historic staircases throughout Union Hill, Church Hill and Chimborazo. We submitted a list of recommendations for repairs with pictures of all locations. Trash has been removed and repair requests are now working their way through the department of Public Works and the Department of Parks and Recreation.
A major concern has been cross walks around Libby Hill Park, the Chimborazo playground and park, and around the schools. The Department of Public Works was very responsive and finished these projects before the new school year.
We’ve been concerned about speeding, parking and illegal turns. The City conducted speeding studies on Franklin and Marshall streets. We’ve also been involved with hearing about the circles and roundabouts throughout the community. We’ve asked the local police to step up enforcement of the ‘no turn’ directive in front of McDonald’s as you drive east. We’ve also asked for the enforcement of the 20-foot rule of no parking at intersection corners. For bikers and drivers alike, crossing some roads in the Bottom and on the Hill is dangerous because of blocked vision.
With a vision to improve all aspects of transportation in our community and the surrounding area, we decided to work towards a strategic plan that would involve all aspects of our community. As such we’ve met with Dr. Megan Gough, Assistant Professor from the Virginia Commonwealth University Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs to discuss her assistance. She discussed three possible options. First is a group of graduate students conducting a project under her or another professor’s supervision. Another option is a single graduate student conducting a study and the third is paid assistance.
We thought the group study would be the best for the Church Hill Association. The project could start as soon as next semester. We thought that though we might want to focus on transportation, we would also need to cover a broader focus, e.g., if there were a transportation goal for streets or sidewalks, this would also need to address the CHA mission: does it include historic preservation? That would influence the strategy for improving streets & sidewalks.
Also we discussed involving a broad base of people. Not just Church Hill Association membership would need to be involved in some way, but neighboring communities through their associations or leadership. Note the CHA board approved a resolution at their last board meeting to involve a broad base of communities as well as the strategic planning itself. The minutes should be posted soon on the CHA website. We’ll keep you posted regarding our future progress.
Anyone wanting to volunteer for this Transportation Committee is welcomed to join. And if you have recommendations for the committee we are waiting to hear from you. Please contact the committee at VP@Churchhill.org.