I have recently been reviewing the Downtown Master Plan, which was published in July 2009. It was created by dozens of elected officials, city employees and “hundreds of Richmond residents,” which is a nod to all of the charrettes held to gain input from the citizens of Richmond. It says “the public planning process began in July 2007. The Plan was adopted by City Council in October 2008. Additional Amendments were adopted in July 2009.”
According to Will Jones of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Rachel O. Flynn, Richmond’s controversial and once-outspoken planning director, has resigned, along with her top deputy, Brooke Hardin….As Richmond’s top planner, Flynn guided a widely praised update of the city’s Downtown Master Plan and attracted praise and scorn as she criticized what she regarded as inappropriate development.
My timing of reviewing the plan was a coincidence, but there are several items that I find fascinating. I don’t know if the departure of Flynn and Hardin will make these ideas and plans less likely to happen, but I’m not going to hold my breath.
One of my favorite parts of the plan involves the VEPCO levee. It is not referred to by that name (or any name for that matter), but I’ve written about how Richmond needs to rebuild this walkway and open up the river.
Construct a pedestrian bridge over abandoned rail foundations: The abandoned rail foundations located immediately upstream of the Manchester Bridge should be improved to create a pedestrian connection all the way across the James River. This new bridge would provide access from the trail system along the north bank of the James River and the Canal Walk to the proposed trail system along the Riverview Parkway and Miller’s Creek along the south bank of the River. This bridge will open to public view some of the River’s most scenic segments, including natural areas that are virtually unknown today.