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.

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