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East End News

Funds to reconfigure I-95/Broad Street Interchange pending City Council approval

A proposal to reconfigure I-95/Broad Street Interchange that surfaced back in January has been approved by the state, and sent to City Council.

Ordinance 2016-276 (introduced to City Council on Monday) authorizes the Chief Administrative Officer to execute a Standard Project Administration Agreement between the City of Richmond and VDOT for the project. The project is expected to cost $28,042,650, and is fully funded by VDOT.

The main focus of the project would be to streamline and make more safe the Broad Street/95 interchange, including a pedestrian overpass up the hill towards the hospital.

The proposal includes the closing of the off-ramp from 95/64 onto Oliver Hill Way, while adding an on-ramp at that location.

The plan also calls for terminating Oliver Hill Way just north of there as a dead-end street, and converting Oliver Hill, 17th Street, and 18th Street to two-way traffic. In our immediate area, the proposed alterations include 5 new roundabouts at Venable Street & Oliver Hill/18th/Mosby, Mosby & MLK Bridge, and 17th & Broad.

In addition, a bike facility will be provided at Oliver Hill Way and 17th Street to support the corridor’s connection to the Cannon Creek Greenway and communities north of downtown. The proposed reconfiguration would facilitate continuation of the existing buffered bike lanes into Shockoe Bottom.

There will be a public hearing on December 12, 2016 AT 6:00 PM in City Council Chamber.

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60 comments

chpn 11/16/2016 at 3:36 PM

@scudderwagg The interchange is ORD. 2016-276. The attached docs from ORD. 2016-275. Somebody copy & pasted wrong, I think.

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Jim 11/16/2016 at 4:44 PM

A pedestrian overpass is a must. That is currently the most hazardous crosswalk in the city. If they do not rebuild the interchange, they need to at least construct a pedestrian overpass.

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Jomo 11/16/2016 at 5:27 PM

Dear god we need an overpass

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Ben G 11/16/2016 at 5:41 PM

Wow, the pedestrian situation at the on-ramp needs to be fixed so hard. But this really looks like there would be no exit for Broad St Eastbound off of 95S or 95N? That can’t be right, and if it is, it’s not OK.

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Kathleen 11/16/2016 at 6:29 PM

Please no more roundabouts!! RVA can’t, or won’t, build a real roundabout.

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crd 11/16/2016 at 6:56 PM

@8 agreed, I think that is one part that is absolutely horrid, roundabout at 17th and Broad. The rest sounds okay and pedestrian overpass is sorely needed.

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Lee 11/16/2016 at 8:33 PM

Minor thing: aren’t the outer lanes on the Leigh street bridge already bike lanes? What exactly would they change?

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Mars 11/16/2016 at 10:33 PM

Yes, please – need it ASAP! Everything sounds good, just not the roundabouts!

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Cadeho 11/17/2016 at 12:18 AM

Cutting off Oliver Hill Way would be a mistake. I use Fairfield Way and Oliver Hill to get to the bottom. What’s the alternate route, more traffic for Mechanicsville/Mosby? I am for roundabouts on Mosby at Venable and O Sts. I hope the awful buckling concrete is replaced with pavement on Venable (not in this but Fairfield Way as well). Closing the ramp at 15th Street makes its reroute a waste of money. Geez, I draw maps and I could have come up with a better plan.

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David Conmy 11/17/2016 at 1:25 AM

Very interesting. It seems like both Venable and Oliver Hill Way would become significantly more important corridors in our community as they would both play an important role in connecting commuters directly to I-95/64.

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Marco 11/17/2016 at 1:54 AM

Please god make it an actual roundabout and not these crazy half hearted versions. People can’t seem to figure them out. If you’re gonna build one, make it so blatant that even a dummy can drive it… Cause it’s a world of dummies out there.

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JessOfRVA 11/17/2016 at 8:57 AM

Roundabout at 17th and Broad: I’m moving. There’s no way I’ll ever get to work by a reasonable time ever again if that thing goes in place. People are already morons, trying to make illegal left turns at McDonald’s and left turns onto 18th or to the Exxon at peak hours. We don’t need to confuse them further with a roundabout.

I don’t agree with the dead-ending of Oliver Hill Way. I think you’re going to stifle potential growth areas and further isolate low income areas.

Also–no off ramp from 95N? What’s the next available alternative–going to Chamberlayne or taking 64E to 360? Talk about going around your elbow to get to your… And I daresay that’s not where a majority of the traffic is coming from that needs resolving.

It’s a good start, love the overpass idea for pedestrians. Hopefully they continue to develop this idea.

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R. 11/17/2016 at 9:51 AM

The takeaway I’m getting is the 95S exit for our area will be 74C, instead of being just westbound Broad, it will be a right merge/yield onto Broad westbound and a left signal turn for eastbound Broad and straight signal for southbound 14th. The circle at 17th should be a true roundabout and this would assist with traffic as 95S/downtown expressway will be the only entrance at the top of Broad. 95N/64E will go north Oliver Hill/17th for the merge, or take 18th and then travel west on a cross street to the 95N entrance ramp. This should actually reduce the amount of traffic waiting to exit Broad for the 95 entrances and give more avenues (no pun intended) for entrance to 95. Lastly, I see a shade of purple on Broad in between 17th and 18th, this should then not allow the pesky left turns from Broad or onto Broad to/from Exxon.

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Daniel 11/17/2016 at 10:21 AM

The real issue is that most people do not know how to use roundabouts… I have even been almost hot by a police officer who did not know what to do in one, not to mention 90% of the rest of the population.

How about the city put up some signs that say…..YIELD TO TRAFFIC IN ROUNDABOUT!! Most people do not understand this one concept… and if they understood this one principle… the roundabouts would run much smoother.

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Clay Street 11/17/2016 at 11:02 AM

I know how to navigate a roundabout.

The problem is most of these “roundabouts” are simply small concrete islands that the majority people drive past without slowing down because it doesn’t actually read as a traffic-calming measure.

Personally, I will not pull out in front of a car that is going 40 miles per hour up Jefferson with no intent of slowing down at the circle (this usually while the driver is also texting or otherwise oblivious to pedestrians and cyclists). So then I end up waiting for them to pass, reinforcing that driver’s belief that they have the right of way.

It’s a problem, and these roads have been driven for decades without traffic circles–there is not enough of an indication of change, in my opinion, for many people to “get with the program” and adjust their awareness and thus their driving.

Maybe more signage/direction painted onto the street itself? Yellow painted grids all around the roundabout to indicate a shared zone of yielding?

Or “YIELD TO TRAFFIC IN CIRCLE” painted in large capital letters on the pavement around all 4 sides of the circle?

Placing blinking electric VDOT signs for the next few months that flash “new traffic pattern–yield to traffic in circle”?

The city has done a terrible job of making these things have a hope of functioning, especially the smaller ones.

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Richard R 11/17/2016 at 11:16 AM

Daniel, concise and true! Simple yield signs don’t work as we’ve all been programmed to think the guy from the smaller street has to yield more. These rounds abouts would speed up traffic though we have to give up our ‘I have green, you have red’ mentality. It would be nice if they could let the McDonald’s and Exxon provide fewer parking spaces and have some kind of on/off ramp or even less access to broad.

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JessOfRVA 11/17/2016 at 1:17 PM

Daniel

Ahhh did not notice the purple part. Here’s hoping those left turns go away. I know we all have a slight aneurysm when someone does that rush hour!!

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crd 11/17/2016 at 3:34 PM

@22 and 23 – maybe signage like that would help. The only roundabout I know of that really works is the one on Monument Ave. at Allen Ave. around the Lee statue – and it is seriously well marked, big signs ‘yield to traffic in circle.’ The rinky little yield signs we have get ignored.

I waited in the circle in front of Alamo recently while five cars went whizzing by on Jefferson, none even slowed down much less yielded to me, and I got there first. I didn’t want to be creamed by one of those speeders, so I just sat there and waited while I actually had the right of way..

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tiny 11/17/2016 at 3:36 PM

It sounds great except too many roundabouts. Why oh why?

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Lee 11/17/2016 at 3:43 PM

@22 / Daniel – The issue is a lot of the smaller roundabouts were originally designed and installed as “mini-roundabouts” which did not function in the same way as an actual roundabout. For example, when they were first installed, most of the “mini-roundabouts” on M street did not require drivers travelling down M to yield, only drivers crossing M St were required to yield.

My understanding is that the state required the city to change the design because this was so different from what is in the state guidelines for road construction, but I may be mistaken on this point. In any event, they all now appear to function in the typical manner (i.e. everyone must yield to traffic in the circle).

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Lee 11/17/2016 at 3:46 PM

I’d also like to add that, aside from roundabouts being confusing to many drivers, the installation and then subsequent change has also been less than helpful – anecdotally, it seems like as soon as folks began to understand ( though maybe only subconsciously… ) how the original traffic patterns were supposed to work, the city changed them.

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UnionHillian 11/17/2016 at 10:22 PM

Hallelujah for the pedestrian overpass. *But*, losing the 95N off ramp to Oliver Hill Way is a big problem. I take the Expressway around downtown to avoid that stretch of 95. What will be my option to get to Church Hill if this change takes place??

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Eric S. Huffstutler 11/18/2016 at 3:44 AM

They need to extend that Median further to include the front of McDonald’s. In addition to the traffic circle signage, people just don’t read or care hence the “no left turn” signs at McDonald’s. We have become a society of inefficient, lackadaisical, uncaring, and sometimes lawless drivers, with most simply ignoring signs… including STOP signs. If a car is stopped at the intersection due to a stop sign and you are behind them, you don’t follow them without stopping yourself like you are a trailer attached to the guy in front. Rolling stops are illegal by the way.

But I have to say, there has to be a more efficient way for people who go to McDonald’s first to get breakfast and then need to stop and get gas at Exxon; having to cross traffic in a 1/2 block stretch and make the left turn. Converting 18th Street north of Broad a 2-way would help some. But at the same time, there really isn’t a left turn lane to go south on 18th off of Broad to get gas either so you still will hold up traffic to get into Exxon.

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R. 11/18/2016 at 9:12 AM

@31: The off ramp is still going to be there, its the current on ramp to 95N that will be removed. It’s tough to see but there are arrows showing the traffic pattern for the off-ramp.

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Sheryl Johnson 11/18/2016 at 3:49 PM

I hope the roundabouts would be real roundabouts and not those faux roundabouts that keep popping up that just confuse people on the “big road” into thinking they still have the right of way (because it still looks like they are mostly going straight and not really entering a round about.) And yes, there are technically yield signs entering the round about in every direction, but the physical setup is confusing as it is unbalanced and one street doesn’t really have to go out of their way to get around.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/11/2017 at 9:15 PM

I brought this back up on another thread but wonder why going on 2 years, nothing has moved on this project? That dangerous exit 74B (Franklin Street) off of I-95 South, was to be eliminated and convert the Broad Street exit (74A) into both a left and right turn onto Broad. And medians built where needed. Not just roundabouts.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 01/09/2019 at 4:18 PM

Another year has passed. Any updates on this?

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Lynn S 01/10/2019 at 9:38 AM

State employees who work in the Monroe Building were given the following information at the beginning of December. Construction has not started yet.

“VDOT recently made us aware of its East Franklin Street Ramp Widening Project that will begin December 4th, 2018 and continue through approximately August 15th, 2019. The project scope is to widen the ramp from I-95 south to East Franklin Street (Exit 74B), creating a third lane and installing new traffic signals and pedestrian crossings at East Franklin and North 14th Street.

“During construction, the left lane (east side) of the exit ramp will be closed to traffic. Vehicles will be able to proceed straight onto 15th Street or turn right at East Franklin Street. Those motorists heading to Main Street Station will not be allowed to turn left into the station’s parking lot and will be detoured to East Main Street. In addition, the eastbound lane of East Franklin between 14th and 15th Streets will be closed during this time.

“The purpose of the project is to improve traffic flow on the ramp and reduce congestion on I-95, especially during the morning rush hour. In addition, pedestrian safety will be improved with the new crosswalks.”

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Ryan Kolb 01/10/2019 at 9:56 AM

There is no specific reference to the larger project, but this was announced last month and begins this Monday, weather permitting. VDOT is shutting down Exit 74B, from Southbound I-95, between Midnight and 6a Monday to place concrete barriers. After the barriers are in place, lane closures will exist.

http://virginiadot.org/newsroom/richmond/2018/franklin-street-interchange-improvements-project-to-begin-in-richmond12-3-2018.asp

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Eric S. Huffstutler 01/10/2019 at 11:51 AM

I think the “current” Franklin Street Exit Project is completely different…

The one mentioned above from 2016 would completely eliminate the Franklin Street exit off I-95, consolidate it with the Broad Street exit for both East and West traffic, and believe have it come off of Oliver Hill Way that comes up to a Traffic Circle and adds Medians along Broad. And create a Walk Over. Or something like that?

What is the status of “that” project? Why spend money on an exit that is going (or supposed to be) eliminated?

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