Installing a huge buffered bike lane on the Leigh Street bridge, connecting Downtown and Church Hill, was a massive step forward for Richmond back in 2014 or 2015. But today, that bike lane is faded and full of debris—including cars. On one end of the bike lane you have VCU’s medical campus and city services housed within City Hall—places people need to go. On the other end of the bike lane, you have a bunch of neighborhoods including Mosby Court—places where people live. So why in the world would we not offer the most protected bike lane possible? Protected bike lanes offer a wider buffer and vertical delineation from traffic, helping to separate vulnerable people on bikes from speeding two-ton metal boxes. Plus, it just makes you feel safer! Enter Untitled Urbanism Project #1, aka The Festive Cones project.
If you’d like to help fund our next tactical urbanism project, Untitled Urbanism Project #2, you can contribute over on our GoFundMe. We’re looking to raise $300. If you’d like to learn more, keep reading!
Sometimes you just have to DO SOMETHING in order to fix your streets. Tactical urbanism is a short (sometimes very short)-term solution to an ongoing problem—a lack of sidewalks; an intersection thats too big and scary to cross; a downtown parking space that could be better used as a public parklet; or an important connector street (like the Leigh Street bridge) that needs a quality, protected bike lane. But why not spend the time and energy pushing for an appropriate long-term solution right off the bat? Well, that’s where we usually start, but sometimes advocating for a long-term solution doesn’t get you very far very quickly. Tactical urbanism is about demonstrating what could be if you—actually, your city leaders—had the necessary funding, political will, and/or creative design that they lack. Sometimes, it can just help open folks’ eyes to easy ways to make our city safer, more humane, and more fun. Sometimes, it helps build momentum toward that long-term solution. And, sometimes, it’s just a fun release of creative energy.
We started StreetsCred to create a space for conversations about making our city a better place. To quote from our mission statement a bit, “Streets Cred raises awareness of urban issues affecting mid-sized American cities today and the best practices used to address inequities and challenges in the built environment.” Small, creative, and clever tactical urbanism projects—projects that raise awareness of Richmond’s urban issues—are exactly in line with what we’re trying to do here.
And Untitled Urbanism Project #1 is just the beginning. We’ve got a super-secret list of great tactical urbanism projects we want to put down across the city and are excited to roll them out over the next couple of months (if you’ve got ideas, send ‘em our way). Each project will be small, cheap, clever, and will, in a small way, make a tiny part of Richmond safer, more humane, or more fun.
While these projects are cheap, they aren’t free. Untitled Urbanism Project #2 will cost us $300. Click here to contribute over on our GoFundMe.