A New Era for Carytown? Pros and Cons of a Car-Free Transformation


The annual Carytown Watermelon Festival is today and that got us thinking — should Carytown be car free?

According to a recent article posted in BizSense, the City of Richmond is thinking about making Carytown closed off to cars, transforming the area into a pedestrian and bicycle haven. This idea has been hanging around for years, but now it’s gaining momentum thanks to an online survey and social media chatter.

Now, this proposal has two sides to it, and we’ve got to break it down:

Team Pedestrian-Only Street

The majority of the 6,200 respondents to the survey are in favor of this, with about 83% giving it a thumbs up. The vision is a nine-block stretch exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists. Think of the space, the fresh air, the quiet streets! Some are even pushing for green space by building a park over the I-195 downtown expressway.

Team Concerned Business Owners

On the flip side, Carytown business owners like Kelley Banks and Bonnie Patterson are scratching their heads over practical issues. Parking is already a headache, and the proposal could make it worse. Some merchants worry that closing the streets could actually hurt business, making potential customers think twice before visiting.

Maybe A Middle Ground? 🤔

There’s talk about trying this on a trial basis or maybe even making it a monthly event. Erin Bottcher, who co-owns Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream, thinks a single-day event could be fun. Others are suggesting improving pedestrian safety with wider sidewalks, better crosswalks, and a reduced speed limit instead.

So, what do you think? Should Carytown go car-free? Is this a good idea or a disaster waiting to happen? Is there room for a compromise?

Take the survey HERE

RVA Staff

RVA Staff

Since 2005, the dedicated team at RVA Magazine, known as RVA Staff, has been delivering the cultural news that matters in Richmond, VA. This talented group of professionals is committed to keeping you informed about the events and happenings in the city.

more in eat drink

What is the Go-To Ice Cream Spot in Richmond?

This summer is one of the hottest on record in Virginia, so that got us thinking about delicious ice cream. Luckily for all of us, Richmond is brimming with ice cream shops, offering everything from classic scoops to dairy-free options. Here's a quick overview of some...

Richmond Named No. 1 ‘America’s Best Town To Visit’

CNN just crowned Richmond as the No. 1 best town to visit in the U.S. this year. CNN travel editors explored the country, searching for cities full of things to do, loads of personality, and not typically swarming with tourists. Richmond topped the list for several...

Our Richmond Barfly’s Happy Hour List 2024 

Picking a spot for happy hour in downtown Richmond can be a pain. But don't worry, we've got you covered. If we've missed your favorite haunt, need to update the information or you want your business included, just reach out. We’ll be adding to this list as we go...

RVA 5×5 | Substantial Doubt of Competency, More Meals Tax Issues

While the Mayor and friends were busy celebrating the AAA bond rating upgrade atop City Hall, inside the lower levels the city continues to fall apart. Most notably, the meals tax fiasco that we were told was being handled and improved is showing more and different...

Wave That Flag! Richmond’s Pride 2024 Events Are Here to Slay

We are a little late on this but Virginia Pride has unveiled the schedule for its annual "Endless Summer of Pride" campaign, a celebration of the Richmond region's LGBTQ community. The campaign kicked off on May 31 with a pride flag-raising ceremony at City Hall,...

Time For A Richmond Pizza Date!

Over the last decade Richmond has become a proper pizza town. Local pizzerias dish up a variety of styles at every price range. Pizza is the food of the people so naturally it makes a great date. You can learn a lot about a person across a slice. Are they a folder?...

RVA 5×5 | Legend Brewing Co. is Looking to Sell

This Business of the Week story is somewhat bittersweet as Mike Platania at Richmond BizSense reported that Legend Brewing Co. is looking to sell its property and maybe their assets and formula as well. Last month they put their 1.3-acre property on 7th Street in...