RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — City leaders say improvements are on the way for a Richmond Street with a history of traffic accidents.

Residents that are familiar with Semmes Avenue — frequenting the road and living nearby — have wanted traffic changes for years.

Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts is located at the intersection of Semmes Avenue and Forest Hill Avenue. It begins a stretch of road that has experienced a number of crashes over the years.

Antwan Harris lives in the city and his daughter attends the school. Harris reached out to 8News, worried about his daughter’s safety and hoping to see some changes.

“It’s very concerning. All the parents walk their kids across, and no one wants to see their child get hurt. No one wants to see anyone else’s child get hurt,” Harris said. “So that’s why, as a community, just as a whole, we can do better just to make everyone safer.”

The Richmond Police Department said there were four speed-related crashes on Semmes Avenue in 2022. According to police, the last was on Oct. 23 at Semmes Avenue and 7th Street. An injury was reported in the crash.

On the same street in Nov. 2022, 17-year-old Huguenot High School senior Josie Cox was killed in the 2200 block of Semmes Avenue. Her memorial is still set up in the median.

In 2021, a crash caused a car to flip on its side and land in a neighbor’s yard.

Stephanie Lynch represents the 5th District on Richmond’s City Council.

Lynch said she has been advocating alongside her neighbors since she got elected to the council in 2019.

“On Semmes, we’ve had a very, very tragic fatality. We’ve had multiple serious and violent incidents and traffic accidents,” Lynch said. “You’re taking your life in your own hands as a pedestrian, as a driver, with these cars passing you at speeds of 60 plus miles per hour.”

The speed limit is posted at 30 mph on Semmes Avenue.

However, Lynch told 8News, the street is not the only problem area in her district or the city. She believes Bainbridge Street, Midlothian Turnpike and Hull Street are several others that need to be addressed.

The majority of traffic calming measures for Semmes Avenue are under construction or under design right now. There will be two pedestrian hybrid beacons. One will be on Semmes and 28th Street and the other will be outside Fire Station 17. These two should be completed by the Summer.

There are other projects that are in the design phase. There will be a beacon on Carson Street with a new traffic pattern at the Forest Hill intersection. There will also be a new traffic control signal at 34th and Semmes which is located near Patrick Henry Elementary School.

Traffic Signal visibility improvements were recently completed at three signalized intersections on Semmes Avenue:

  • Forest Hill Avenue at Semmes Avenue
  • 26th Street at Semmes Avenue
  • Cowardin Avenue at Semmes Avenue

According to Lynch’s office, bike lane infrastructure was installed, high visibility crosswalks were installed, and pedestrian safety improvements were implemented at Cowardin and Semmes.

“It will bring comfort and I think great pride to the people that advocated for those changes. But it really couldn’t come soon enough,” Lynch said.

The Semmes Avenue Safety Committee, a group that gives neighbors a voice to advocate for traffic safety, will be meeting next Thursday evening.