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Richmond Residents Revolt at Bike Meeting



The city is still working out a plan announced a year ago to give priority to bike riders and pedestrians on Floyd Avenue in the Fan and the Museum districts. That hasn't stopped some homeowners there from reaching their own conclusions.

"Nobody wants this," a woman shouted at a meeting to discuss the project last week.

The assertion was met with a few supportive cheers, but those were quickly drowned out by booing, and one particularly loud, "You're wrong!"

More than 250 residents packed into the auditorium at the Virginia Historical Society, seeming sharply divided. The adversity city planners faced could hint at the struggle ahead while the city prepares to implement a bicycle master plan that calls for dozens of new bike lanes and bike-walk streets across the city.

Organizers briefly summarized the options the city is considering for Floyd. For example, planners discussed adding traffic circles to all intersections along the street to slow cars but allow bikes to proceed unhindered. In a more extreme scenario, curbs at intersections would divert vehicle traffic but allow cyclists.

Local car traffic would be allowed, but cars traveling through the neighborhood would be encouraged through various measures to use other streets.

Officials wanted to hear how residents would like to see the project implemented, but many opponents refused to participate in planned small-group sessions, preferring to shout their questions and concerns: "This is going to take away parking." (It won't, city officials say.) "Will neighbors be responsible for landscaping traffic circles?" (To be determined, city officials responded.)

City Council President Charles Samuels eventually stepped in, managing to quell the discontent with a few words about his own concerns and a promise to review all feedback.

While opponents were the most vocal, at least half of the crowd was made up of supporters, many in their 20s and 30s. As the meeting broke up, some in favor of the plan stuck around, attempting to persuade opponents that their concerns were unfounded.

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