#sadsidewalksigns, Part 1

We got tired of seeing the Richmond Police Department drop digital trailer signs smack dab in the middle of our city’s sidewalks, so we decided to do something about it. Thus begins Streets Cred’s first attempt at making an actual change, albeit a small one, in our city: Ending the Richmond Police Department’s habit of blocking sidewalks with these signs for good. Step one is to figure out if they have a policy regarding where and how they deploy these signs. 

A note about what we’re planning: We’re going to post all of the emails we send and receive, notes from meetings, and anything else generated by this process. Transparency is important. But, maybe more importantly, we think that by making the process of advocating for change public we can speed the actual implementation of those changes while also teaching folks how to get things done in their own neighborhoods and cities. 

Below is our first email to RPD, asking if they have a policy regarding where and how they deploy digital trailer signs and, if not, offering to help them design one.


Mr Lepley,

We’re writing to request a copy of the Richmond Police Department’s policy regarding where and how it deploys digital trailer signs.

In recent weeks, we’ve come across several trailer signs parked directly in the middle of sidewalks, blocking pedestrian and ADA access. Pictures of two of them are attached below. The first, parked in the pedestrian refuge in the middle of Belvidere at Leigh Street, blocked both ADA ramps. The second, on the southbound side of Arthur Ashe Boulevard at Moore Street, was parked directly in a bus stop. These sign placements are problematic and we observed dozens of complaints from concerned citizens. 

As you know, in October 2017, Mayor Stoney signed a Vision Zero Pledge and in early 2018, the first draft of the Vision Zero Action Plan was completed. The work to make our streets safer for people continues across many City departments and the Richmond Police Department is an import partner in Richmond’s Vision Zero strategy. Unfortunately, the placement of these signs are counterproductive to Vision Zero by forcing pedestrians out into the street, making it harder and less safe to walk on our sidewalks. We hope this can be prevented in the future. 

If the Department does not have a policy about where and how to deploy trailer signs, we would be happy to work together to come up with a policy that allows for safe placement of these signs while not endangering people as they move about our city.

Thank you for your consideration,

Ross Catrow & Max Hepp-Buchanan

Streets Cred — streetscred.com