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Ben Campbell on Segregation by Transportation

RVA Rapid Transit has the text of a recent talk by Ben Campbell at Eyes on Richmond from October 21st, 2016:

In transportation, the effect was dramatic. Segregation by mode of transportation replaced the law requiring people to sit at the back of the bus. The new policy was backed up by massive capital expenditures and built into state and county budgets: state and county budgets provided dedicated taxes and enormous expenditures for roads but little or nothing for public transport.

Up until the 1950’s, Richmond had an excellent public transportation system.

But now the white suburbs had expressways. And the center city folk had the buses, which stopped at the city line, unable to cross to where the new jobs and stores were fleeing and the new subdivisions and schools were being built.

Between 1980 and 2000 the State and Federal governments spent $1.1 billion in public money to build a circumferential highway around metropolitan Richmond, capitalizing economic development for the counties and allowing complete bypassing of the center city. But still, the state did not extend—or require the extension of—public transportation across the county lines. We built eight-lane roads with no streetcar, no bus rapid transit, not even a bus. If you had a car, you could live in the counties. If you didn’t you had to live in the central city.

The result: 50 years after the General Assembly’s actions, so far as we can determine, metropolitan Richmond is the only city of 1 million or more people in the world that does not have full-service public transportation along its major arteries.

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Michael Corley
Michael Corley
3 years ago

Michael Corley liked this on Facebook.

Alex Goodmundson
Alex Goodmundson
3 years ago

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Robert Cobb
Robert Cobb
3 years ago

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Mark Kronenthal
Mark Kronenthal
3 years ago

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Graham White
Graham White
3 years ago

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Erik Ruiz
Erik Ruiz
3 years ago

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Anoali1902
Anoali1902
3 years ago

Great article. I’ve felt this way for years regarding public transportation into the counties. There are alot of opportunities in the counties, but for those people living in the city of Richmond who doesn’t have a car, you can’t get out there. A few years ago, the Henrico county manager (they don’t have a mayor) said that he didn’t want GRTC buses running into the counties during certain times and certain days because he didn’t want the “Richmond experience” in Henrico county. What is the Richmond experience? Look it’s 2016, we need to move past these biases and stereotypes, and… Read more »

Allie Ludeman
Allie Ludeman
3 years ago

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Susan W Burdette
Susan W Burdette
3 years ago

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Syd Brown
Syd Brown
3 years ago

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Laura Dickinson
Laura Dickinson
3 years ago

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crd
crd
3 years ago

@1 Way back in the 1990s, the General Assembly tried to give Chesterfield money (my recollection is around 4 million) to expand bus service into the county. Chesterfield turned it down, and someone on the board of supervisors actually made a remark along the lines of, if the hotels and motels want to get janitorial services, they should just send some vans to do so.

Anoali1902
Anoali1902
3 years ago

@2 I believe it. No disrespect to Henrico county, but the east end of henrico county is 15 years behind. So is chesterfield. I’m proud of all of the accomplishments the city of Richmond has made during the last 7 years

William Heath
William Heath
3 years ago

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Scott
Scott
3 years ago

Posted this back on Oct. 18th: Just got back from the RVA Rapid Transit meeting- the expert they brought in, Walker, did a good job of explaining the case for more ridership, however he also said that the Richmond plan is disappointing because there is not enough budget to do enough high frequency routes to make a real difference. I suspect that Rev. Campbell’s crusade is going to run into the reality that the counties do not want to pay for good regional mass transit. I think City of Richmond taxpayers better hold onto to their wallets lest they get… Read more »

Taneya Dwan M Ed
Taneya Dwan M Ed
3 years ago

Taneya Dwan M Ed liked this on Facebook.

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