Brookland Park residents upset after pedestrian safety infrastructure removed unexpectedly

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)– Residents of the Brookland Park community want answers after the city removed several bump-outs.

Crews installed bump-outs, a sidewalk attachment to help pedestrians cross the street safely and to beautify an area, along Brookland Park Boulevard last February. Last week, neighbors noticed crews began removing some of the sidewalk attachments.

Willie Hilliard, the Brookland Park Area Association President, said the removal came without a warning to neighbors.

“There was no engagement on this at all,” he said. “This was done without any knowledge of anyone in this community knowing that it was being done and that’s just not the process.”

Hilliard said he wasn’t initially a fan of the bump-outs, but added the sudden removal snatched thousands of dollars from their neighborhood.

“It was $300,000 to install them and $20,000 to remove them and it’s just ripped out of our community without any input whatsoever,” he said.

Councilwoman Ann-Frances Lambert, who represents the district, held a meeting last week to talk about the reasons for the removal. She said it was in response to a signed petition saying the bump-outs limited parking spots.

However, some places along Brookland Park Boulevard where the bump-outs were removed from, were in front of ‘no parking’ signs and fire hydrants. These are spaces where people aren’t legally allowed to park.

Chriss Gillespie, a beautician along Brookland Park Boulevard, said the city should’ve considered community input, but ultimately, she’s relieved they’re gone.

“I didn’t like it anyway, so it was perfect for me,” she said. “Parking has been an issue for a while.”

Hilliard said parking is still a huge issue, but he wants city leaders to find more innovative ways to promote pedestrian safety and invest the money in other areas of the neighborhood like sewers.

“You ripped out $320,000 worth of amenities to our community and we want those put back,” he said. “Not necessarily in the bump-outs, but we want that $320,000 worth of amenities or services, you know, because you basically ripped the guts out of this community with no notice.”

8News reached out to Councilwoman Lambert and to the Department of Public Works Thursday and have not received a response.

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