Opinion & Blogs » Punch Drunk

Punch Drunk: Jack's Beautiful Road Rage

How long will Richmond stay pretty after the cycling enthusiasts leave?



The UCI Road World Championships are almost upon us. It’s been a long, winding, roughly cobblestoned path up till this point, but the streets soon will be filled with European guys in tight shorts and it will all be worth it.

But where will we park? What about my daily commute? Street closures, you say?

There’s no doubt that Richmond scored a coup by securing these races. And yes, the international sporting event will be great for our little city. But some people fear that their lives will be turned upside down from Sept. 19-27. That the people here day-in and day-out — many of whom can’t name a single cyclist other than Lance Armstrong — will get caught in the spokes.

The preparation for an event that supposedly will draw 450,000 spectators is immense. But remember, that doesn’t mean 450,000 people are coming to Richmond, now! That gigantic number is so often thrown around, dismissed and re-explained that it hardly means anything at this point. People are definitely coming though. Lots of them. The latest estimate of out-of-towners is an average of 41,500 for six of the nine days.

Still, that parking thing.

Bottom line: We need to be looking sexy.

Style has reported on the polishing underway. The Times-Dispatch says that among the projects the city identifies as needing completed are: “repairing and improving 7.5 miles of sidewalks; restoring and replacing 630 street signs on the course; and marking with crosswalks 83 intersections on the course.”

We’re getting real prettified up in here.

It’s sort of like getting yourself all done up for date night, hitting the town, drinking, dancing, and then coming home for a passionate grand finale of depraved intercourse. The next morning your makeup is smeared. Your mouth tastes like rats had little rat babies in it and then those babies pooped. You’re wearing torn boxers and a stained T-shirt. The house, which last night was clean, filled with the soft glow of candlelight and the smooth sounds of Brian McKnight, now is an overturned-wine glassed, clothes-strewn train wreck. The gloss is long gone. You’re back to the normal, gross person you’ve always been.

Or maybe that’s a horrible analogy and it won’t be like that at all.

Maybe we’ll wake up on Sept. 28 after all of the cycling enthusiasts and European men in compression shorts leave and we’ll remain beautiful and fresh. The weeds will stay pulled. The sidewalks will be clean and free of trash. The grass along our urban thoroughfares will remain impeccably trimmed, much like the Euro guys with the shorts.

But this parking situation.

Another plus is all that TV time Richmond will get. Hundreds of hours of prime viewing time. An estimated 300 million viewers from all over the world.

Many foreigners imagine that New York’s Times Square is a snapshot of America. We need to disabuse them of that notion. In that regard, a long-awaited and much-needed renovation of Kanawha Plaza — an extremely visible area of downtown and an area that figures to be a centerpiece during the races — has begun. Unfortunately, along with the infamous Floyd Avenue bike lane, it probably won’t be done in time for the race. But it will be improved, and most importantly, the pesky homeless people that frequented the plaza will be shuffled out of view. Not sure where, but I’m sure the officials will worry about that later, right?

We can’t have the television audience knowing there are homeless people in our city!

But wait, a huge chunk of Broad Street will be closed for nearly a month?

The Richmond 2015 team, city workers, residents, volunteers and numerous local sponsors will continue to bust their butts until this thing begins Sept. 19. Some of the city’s smartest people have been committed to doing Richmond and America proud.

Although I don’t like the sound of Monument and Franklin closing at certain times. That really could affect my day-to-day life.

Look, we need to understand that what’s good for the city isn’t always good for everyday convenience. Sacrifices must be made. Society must take precedence over the individual.

Unless I can’t get to Chipotle.

Then I say we burn this bitch to the ground. S

Jack Lauterback also is co-host of “Mornings with Melissa and Jack” on 103.7 Play weekdays from 6-9. Connect with him at letters@styleweekly.com, or on Twitter at @jackgoesforth.

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Add a comment