RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A busy Richmond road could be getting some upgrades that specifically focus on safety for those who walk or ride bikes.
At the intersection of Taylor and Forest Hill Avenues, there is a bus stop but no crosswalk. Safety measure changes could soon come to the area to get drivers to slow down and share the roadway.
“I know the neighborhood well,” said 43rd Street Gallery owner Robin Cage. “Love going down to the river and Forest Hill Park.”
For nearly 40 years, Cage has owned 43rd Street Gallery, which is just a few feet from Forest Hill Avenue.
“Huge increase in traffic on Forest Hill itself. And even though they got the blinking light at the end of 43rd and Forest Hill, it’s a very very dangerous intersection,” Cage told 8News. “People are scared to cross the road.”
Residents voiced their concerns after a mother and son were hit in the area. As a result, the City of Richmond commissioned a traffic study along Forest Hill and surrounding roads.
“We need our folks to be safe,” Kristen Larson, Richmond’s 4th District councilwoman, told 8News.
One improvement includes adding a crosswalk with flashing signs at Taylor and Forest Hill. Cars passing stopped vehicles and potentially hitting people crossing the street is another concern at 41st and 43rd Streets. The solution planned is to add a concrete barrier called a bump out.
“If a car tries to pass in the bike lane while another car is stopped for the crosswalk, then they would hit the barrier,” Larson explained. “Right now it’s just open.”
By adding crosswalks and barriers, the city hopes cars will slow down and yield to pedestrians.
“Why are we in such a hurry? Folks are just in a hurry and they need to pay a whole lot more attention but not just on those crosswalks but with bikers you know,” Cage said. “But bikers and pedestrians both. This is not a very safe city.”
The safety improvements are expected to cost at least $800,000. Councilwoman Larson told 8News she has already put in the request with the mayor’s office for the next budget cycle.