Having always had a passion for conservation, Doyle moved to Richmond for graduate studies in urban and regional planning at Virginia Commonwealth University. After working five years for Henrico County’s Planning Department, he landed the job with the James River Association about six years ago. Now one of his primary roles is advocating for the Richmond Riverfront Plan from 2012.
Doyle was involved with one of its first big completed projects: the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge, which has been a huge success with river-goers.
“We have a wonderful site-specific conceptual plan for Richmond’s east riverfront which includes Intermediate Terminal dock and Lehigh,” he says, noting that it makes recommendations for connecting Richmonders to the James through fishing and paddling. The land around the area, which is public space, remains desolate on the Lehigh side of Gillies Creek, which the Capital Trail passes through.
While still looking for the city to fund that plan, among the projects he’s gotten funded in the last year: Gillies Creek Greenway, universal access at Huguenot flatwater, accessibility improvements along Tredegar Street and the Canal Walk connector project, which he calls “an expressway for bikes to move westward on riverfront toward Brown’s Island.”
“My philosophy is we need to have more publicly accessible open space for people to enjoy to spread the love,” he says, noting that they do run into the argument that more people on the river bring more pollution. “But at the same time, people won’t have an appreciation for natural resources if they don’t have a connection to them.”