Urban-planning mistakes hide James River downtown

The James River runs right through Richmond, so why are local leaders so blind to the possibilities it offers for recreation, development and tourism? Why so many expensive studies with so little action? A column from the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Michael Paul Williams in August touched on this a topic:

James River access has improved significantly, but it has a ways to go. As a result, the mayor’s administration is reviewing proposals for a riverfront design study that would cost about $500,000 and focus on both banks of the James from the Lee Bridge to the Henrico County line and Ancarrow’s Landing.

We have the green space at James River Park, a testament to the stewardship of its manager, Ralph White. But one of the most remarkable aspects about the riverfront is how little of it is accessible to the public.

You can’t drive or walk its length on downtown’s north bank without being warned off by the signs of corporate property owners. The Canal Walk is disjointed. The south bank and Mayo Island are uninviting. The entire picture lacks cohesion.

See the full article, and be sure to check the comments

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2 responses to “Urban-planning mistakes hide James River downtown

  1. Good column. Of course, the corporate owners of the riverfront are reluctant to give up control to citizens or government.

    I always get drustrate when I am on Brown’s Island and have to look at the river through two giant sheets of glass and vacant comercial space, while lawyers have better views from their parking deck.

  2. Looking forward to a real urban marketplace bridging the gap between downtown and the James River. Don’t know where, when or how, but it is in everybody’s interest.
    Richmond’s Riverfront Marketplace

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