Phil Riggan – James River News Hub
The To the Bottom and Back shuttle service is providing an easy and FREE connection between the city’s historic attractions, shopping and dining locations on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Picasso exhibit. “To the Museums and Back” is free, though donations are accepted.
The Reedy Creek parking area in the Main Section of the James River Park System has a reputation for car break-ins. For all the paddlers that either put-in or take-out at Reedy Creek; bikers and hikers that hit the Buttermilk Trail; dog-walkers that walk the gravel path near the visitor’s center; there may be an improvement to the situation.
There is good potential for cameras to be installed in the Reedy Creek parking lot, which could have a great impact on improving the safety of the vehicles people leave while they play at the James. The parking lot is notorious in part because it is hidden from view from traffic on Riverside Drive and the houses above the lot. People often leave their cars for hours in the lot, and are easy prey for would-be robbers.
Cameras could also have an impact on Hillcrest Road, which ends at the entrance to Reedy Creek and has for years been the safer choice for people that fear parking in the hidden parking lot below.
Have you ever had a break-in in the Reedy Creek parking lot? Would you be in favor of installing security cameras? How bad is the parking lot in your estimation?
The Richmond Folk Festival is over and things are getting back to normal around Belle Isle. However, the upper parking lot at the ever-popular Belle Isle will remained closed for at least the next six months. It is planned to be reopened in April 2011, but there are a few issues: Overcrowding, trash not put in receptacles, abuse of parking area, parking on the steep grassy hillside between the lots, etc. Combined, the upper and lower lots only handle about 50 cars.
Closing the upper lot is in part to cut down on maintenance, but this is also the off-season for Belle Isle. At the peak of summer, people park along Tredegar Street (on the way down to Belle Isle) and 2nd Street (off Robert E. Lee Bridge) and in the Oregon Hill and Spring Hill neighborhoods. By spring, some alternatives may be in place to help on weekends. Possible solutions, all with a fee involved:
- Parking at Dominion parking lot at base of pedestrian footbridge
- Parking at upper lot along Tredegar Street at Tredegar Ironworks
- Parking at MeadWestvaco parking deck
- Parking at American Civil War Center lot
Have you had trouble parking at Belle Isle? Does overcrowding at Belle Isle keep you away? Would you be willing to pay to park at Belle Isle? What would you suggest to help solve the overcrowding in the parking areas? If you have to pay, should food vendors be allowed to set up as well?
The summer season is winding down and it was one of the busiest yet in the James River Park system. According to park manager Ralph White, estimated visitation for the year to the parks is expected to be more than 650,000. When it was last surveyed two years ago it was more than 600,000.
Not everyone was happy with the parking situations. The lots at Belle Isle and Pony Pasture are always packed, but the number and size of the existing parking lots sizes will not increase, White said.
Pony Pasture — probably the busiest parking lot of all — had volunteers and JRPS staffers managing the parking lot on the weekends to keep everyone legal, happy and safe. The lot — which is the largest in the park system – has 80 parking spaces but can be expanded with creative management to 110 spaces, White said. He recently mentioned that the city was looking into the possibility of high-occupancy parking at Pony Pasture on the weekends.
Are you happy with the current set up? Should there be more parking areas? High-occupancy rules on the weekends? More access points to the river? Should shuttle services be brought in to allow for parking at satellite lots? Post your comments here!