Stoney discusses road safety, quality at City Hall
Mayor Levar Stoney offered an update on Richmond’s “three-pronged stool” of road quality and safety measures at City Hall on Wednesday.
“We can continue to invest in infrastructure, we can continue to educate the public,” Stoney said, “and lastly, we can continue to enforce the traffic safety laws that are currently on the books.”
Virginia saw a 33% increase in estimated traffic fatalities this year, compared to 2021. Richmond has recorded 27 fatal accidents, according to the Richmond Police Department.
RPD has started a new 90-day traffic safety enforcement program.
“Speed is one of the biggest factors, especially when you talk about the fatal crashes,” said Maj. Donald Davenport.
Davenport said the department has selected 40 locations, 10 in each of the city’s four precincts, where drivers often exceed the speed limit; many coincide with roads identified by Vision Zero’s high injury network.
Davenport said RPD has received city funding to cover overtime and is partnering with Virginia State Police to patrol those spots.
The city is also continuing to fund its Vision Zero program, which aims to zero out traffic fatalities.
Michael Sawyer, Vision Zero coordinator for Richmond, said “the focus needs to be on slowing down.”
That can be accomplished through messaging and engineering.
Stoney promised investments in speed tables — extended humps designed to lower speeds around crosswalks — on Wednesday. The city has also extended curbs in some places to increase pedestrian visibility.
Sawyer said Richmond’s traffic engineers have proposed about $1 billion in Vision Zero-related road improvement projects they’re interested in working on during the next six years.
“That all has a focus on complete streets, where all people of all ages and abilities are able to use the street,” Sawyer said.
The city also has many roads that are overdue for paving, which increase wear-and-tear on vehicles. Stoney said the city has invested $70 million in repaving efforts while he’s been in office and has increased the percentage of roads considered “good” from 35% to 65% in three years.
Director of Public Works Bobby Vincent said the public works department is installing pedestrian and cyclist-friendly infrastructure as a part of its repaving and repair projects. This includes improvements like ADA-compliant ramps, replacing existing signs, improving road striping, adding or refreshing bike lanes and more.
Although Richmond has added more bike lanes in recent years, most don’t offer any protection or a buffer from vehicle traffic.
Mayor Levar Stoney said the city will continue to fund planning and installation of traffic calming measures and infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists.