Richmond’s bike-friendly future gets official

by | Nov 10, 2014 | POLITICS

Richmond is working more towards becoming bike and pedestrian friendly with the city’s new Complete Streets Policy.

Richmond is working more towards becoming bike and pedestrian friendly with the city’s new Complete Streets Policy.

The policy was adopted just a couple of weeks ago, with recommendations from a number of organizations including the Mayor’s Pedestrian, Bicycling, and Trails Commission; and the Green City Commission.

According to a press release from the city of Richmond, the streets will be “designed and operated to be safe, comfortable and convenient for all users regardless of age, ability or mode of travel.”

Jakob Helmboldt, Richmond’s Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trail Coordinator, has lived in the Richmond area for a couple decades now and is an advocate for cyclists. In a recent interview, he spoke about potential plans the city may soon have in store for RVA bikers.

“The new Complete Streets Policy is just the beginning of a series of steps towards a long term goal,” said Helmboldt. “While this is a car-dependent city, Richmond is full of people on bikes and we want to make appropriate changes for them. We want to approach all of this carefully to provide the most efficient roads possible.”

With that being said, don’t expect any drastic changes to happen overnight. Helmboldt said the city administration only wants to make simple updates to little things, for now.

“Basically, we want to do more with what we already have,” said Helmboldt. “It’ll all be taken care of through ongoing increments. We want to do things like repave roads, put gaps in sidewalks for easier bike access, and add stripes and buffer lanes. It’s also important for us to update policy issues and procedures, as well.”

While this is good news for those locals who prefer two wheels to four, the guidelines and details are still being finalized and it could take some time for all these new changes to be implemented.

“Unfortunately, this is really about a year-long process that’s required by Richmond officials,” said Helmboldt. “It’s important that we don’t miss any kind of blank spaces and make sure we get all the documentation and guidelines put together properly. It’s part of the routine with our city government that may seem tedious; but it’s in everyone’s best interest.”

Mayor Dwight Jones also gave a statement in a press release expressing his interest for the new policy’s effect on the city.

“The goal of the Complete Streets Policy is to balance the access, mobility and safety of all users while creating a stronger and healthier community,” said the Mayor. “City residents as well as those who come to the city to work and play will all benefit from safer roads, more transportation choices, increased mobility, and reduced pollution.”

City officials encourage Richmond residents to keep up with neighborhood discussions and council meetings. Policies which directly impact the city, such as this one, are discussed during those times.

“We really do need the feedback,” said Helmboldt. “It’s a nice reality check from outside the administrative world, and will help benefit everyone in the long run.”

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner is the former editor of GayRVA and RVAMag from 2013 - 2017. He’s now the Richmond Bureau Chief for Radio IQ, a state-wide NPR outlet based in Roanoke. You can reach him at

more in politics

RVA 5×5 | Bonding With (Or Against) The People?

There has been a lot of activity across the region recently about bond ratings and localities issuing bonds. It is a timely comparison of priorities of local leaders, a glimpse of a possible future, and what happens if you have people in charge who worry more about...

Richmond’s Next Mayor? Get To Know Dr. Danny Avula

Here’s my conversation with Dr. Danny Avula, candidate for Mayor of Richmond VA. This completes the set of all my conversations with Richmond’s prospective Mayors for November 2024. One of these people is going to be leading the city next year. Who it’s going to be is...

Dystopian View of VCU’s Graduation Walkout

The Greater Richmond Convention Center has undoubtedly experienced more prosperous times. The recent walkout by Virginia Commonwealth University graduates highlighted a series of declining events in Richmond, marked by police confrontations during protests and the...