Richmond, Virginia is a mid-sized American city, and, like hundreds of other mid-sized American cities, it’s totally awesome…while, at times, totally frustrating. Also, like other similar cities, Richmond has made a lot of recent progress in creating a more beautiful, sustainable, and equitable urban environment, but there is, of course, still tons of work to do. To speed up this process—so Richmonders a couple generations from now aren’t still waiting on a city-wide network of protected bike lanes or frequent transit into the surrounding counties or even just sidewalks in Scott’s Addition—Richmond should learn, borrow, and steal as much as we can from our peer mid-sized cities. That learning/stealing should go both ways, too—Richmond has plenty of smart people willing to share smart lessons with folks across the country. To that end, we think Streets Cred can help.
The “mid-sized” part is really important. Sometimes hearing what new amazing thing one of the five Big Transit Cities™ has done to decrease bunching on their subway with 3-minute headways just doesn’t resonate with the average Richmonder, or Charlottean, or Columbusite. But when you start discussing what Spokane, Washington has done to increase transportation options for people living in concentrated areas of poverty so they can access grocery stores, jobs, and schools—well, now we have a better apples-to-apples comparison. Focusing on the problems facing mid-sized cities and their solutions, providing that comparison, that’s what we are trying to do with Streets Cred. We sure as shoot can learn from the experiments, pilots, mistakes, successes, and proven best-practices of other mid-sized cities. If we’re not doing that, we’re messing up.
Also, to be completely honest: We will rant or rave about Richmond-specific things that really suck or really rule. A closed sidewalk in Carytown with no pedestrian access alternatives really sucks. We will yell at you about it! A new bike lane that was done as part of a routine paving project totally rules—and we will sing its praises! Be prepared! We hope that our region’s elected officials and decision makers—and other folks from other mid-sized cities—are listening and learning about what works and what needs fixing.
Finally, we are always looking for contributors. If you have something to say about transportation, land use, planning, design, placemaking, urban policies—stuff like that—send us a message and we will work with you to give you a platform. All aboard!