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Transit Activists Question Need For Navy Hill’s Proposed GRTC Transit Center

A rendering of the proposed GRTC transit center within the Navy Hill development project. (Courtesy NH District Corp.)
A rendering of the proposed GRTC transit center within the Navy Hill development project. (Courtesy NH District Corp.)

As part of the Richmond Coliseum redevelopment proposal, the GRTC bus system would receive a new transfer center. The developers have called it a public benefit, but transportation activists are questioning its necessity.

The organization RVA Rapid Transit recently issued a statement saying they have serious concerns about the new transfer center’s size and location. The current GRTC transfer hub is basically an extended sidewalk near Richmond City Hall, that services 13 bus routes in the evening, but only 5 during the day. The Navy Hill redevelopment proposal calls for a centralized, mixed-used space with room for 12 buses. 

RVA Rapid Transit’s Executive Director Ross Catrow said all that space may not be necessary after the 2017 redesign of the bus system.

“We’ve gone to more of a grid-like system where you hope folks make their transfers throughout the region, throughout the city,” Catrow said.

He also highlighted that if riders getting off at the proposed transit center wanted to connect to the Pulse Rapid Transit line, they would still have to walk two blocks to the nearest Pulse station. That’s a mobility issue, Catrow said.

“If we want people to use transit we need it to be accessible to everyone,” Catrow said. “That’s folks with mobility challenges, that’s folks pushing strollers, that’s folks who are maybe a little younger or older.”

RVA Rapid Transit argues that a series of smaller transfer stations closer to the Pulse line might be more useful to riders. 

In a statement, GRTC CEO Julie Timm said the transit authority will continue to work with the  Navy Hill developers on the location and design of the proposed transit center. But she urged the need to have a larger community conversation in order to ensure the transit center will be a success.

“Without further conversations on these topics, there is a real risk that the location could lock the system into less than optimal connections to the Pulse now and in the future,” Timm said. “I am excited and encouraged that these conversations are happening.”

You can read RVA Rapid Transit’s full statement on the proposed GRTC transit center here.

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