by Ned Oliver
The proposed Floyd Avenue bike boulevard has bedeviled advocates and opponents alike. On Monday, for better or worse, it finally passed.
Construction on the project should start this spring, according to Jake Helmboldt, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator.
The Planning Commission voted 4-2 to approve a compromise plan, which leaves the bulk of the proposal intact but replaces four planned traffic circles with raised crosswalks that will essentially serve as speed humps.
Planners say the fix will allow bike traffic to flow unhindered while slowing car traffic. And importantly, planners say the switch to raised crosswalks at those intersections -- Strawberry, Rowland, Plum and Harvie streets -- will ease parking concerns at key intersections.
The possibility of a loss of parking on the street fueled much of the opposition to the project, which will replace most four-way stop signs on the street with traffic circles.
While some supporters worried the plan won’t do enough to improve the street for cyclists, on Monday, after months of public hearings and debate, advocates seemed excited to get the thing passed.
Max Hepp-Buchanan, the director of Bike Walk RVA said he was “happy that the community could come to a compromise.”
Hepp-Buchanan said he hopes the project will be successful as is, but if not, he says, it can always be fixed later.
The Planning Commission is set to review the project after a year.