Understanding the traffic-hell (and rapid growth) that is Short Pump and the West End

by | Apr 9, 2015 | POLITICS

In an impressively lengthy breakdown of the recent history of Short Pump, Henrico Monthly’s James A. Bacon Jr. takes a look at how a stretch of farmland just west of RVA became one of the busiest sections of Central VA in the course of 35 years.


In an impressively lengthy breakdown of the recent history of Short Pump, Henrico Monthly’s James A. Bacon Jr. takes a look at how a stretch of farmland just west of RVA became one of the busiest sections of Central VA in the course of 35 years.

For the locals who’ve been around long enough, they remember Short Pump as a no-name stop along the way to Charlottesville, a last gas-up in the 40 miles between the two larger cities. Now, with the mall and the big box store explosion, it can take 15 minutes to travel from exit 17 to your destination.

Have a look at some of the highlights of this great long form piece, and head over to Henrico Monthly to learn more about every RVA resident’s worst nightmare.

… As Dave Kaechele (Henrico County Board of Supervisors member) nears retirement from the board, Short Pump has transformed the geography of western Henrico County. With its strategic location at the confluence of two interstates and a limited-access highway, West Broad became the funnel for commercial growth west of Richmond. Central Virginia’s largest shopping center, Short Pump Town Center, located there. Restaurants and big-box retailers lined the highway. Population surged as subdivisions sprang up all around.

“It is a struggle to keep up with development,” Kaechele says. “I think we’ve done a pretty good job of doing that, though.”

The numbers back him up … sort of. West Broad between the I-64 interchange and Pouncey Tract is the second busiest non-interstate road segment in the Richmond region, surpassed only by a stretch along Midlothian Turnpike, according to the Richmond Planning District Commission. After topping out at 69,000 vehicles per day in 2006, this stretch of Broad saw a steady decline as the recession crimped consumer traffic everywhere and as Henrico County completed road projects that diverted cars elsewhere. Easing to a low of 50,000 cars in 2012, the traffic count spiked back to 69,000 the very next year. (Traffic counts between Pouncey Tract and Lauderdale to the west are still below their 2006 peak: 33,000 cars per day, down from 40,000.)

But congestion could get well worse before it gets better. There are projects in the pipeline for big parcels all the way to the Goochland County line. The new development, which will bring retail magnets such as Cabela’s, a sporting goods chain, and upscale grocery store Wegmans, will generate more cars, more trips and more congestion. Although developers will chip in millions of dollars to help build the road network and Henrico plans to pour more pavement, it’s not clear that the projects can keep up with the traffic demands.

Check out the rest of the story (and you should, it’s an awesome read) here

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner




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