Bike Walk RVA 2022 Spring Update: Bike/Ped Funding in Bloom
By: Brantley Tyndall, Bike Walk RVA Director of Outreach
The sun is shining and warming the ground that will soon be new bikeways and trails! While we think about out next biking or walking adventure, let’s share some recent updates from Bike Walk RVA!
Local Bike/Ped Funding seeds are germinating
Budget season is here, and we are happy to report some significant investments from many of our region’s localities for biking and walking infrastructure! Just seven short years ago, bike advocates would get excited for a local investment of $500,000 for “bike lanes and “sharrows”. Half a million dollars doesn’t buy much bike lane and even less sidewalk, but it was realistic to start small and work towards growing applicable project lists through planning efforts and building community and administrative enthusiasm.
Bike Walk RVA is currently hosting its 9th Bike Walk RVA Academy, and we are seeing significant increases in funding where trained and organized bike/ped advocates have built relationships with local elected leaders, administrators and staff, and their communities.
Local budget summary:
- Chesterfield County: $3 million in FY23 and $5 million in FY24 for Community Connections
- Hanover County: $300,000 for bike/ped
- Henrico County: $5 million for sidewalks (half from CVTA funds) and $2.5 million for bike/ped
- Richmond: $17 million for Complete Streets. It is not yet determined how much will be for bike/ped, but it will likely be significant.
The General Assembly adjourned last week, and during this longer 60-day session, they debated an investment to multi-use trails across the Commonwealth of $233 million proposed by outgoing Governor Ralph Northam. Through the budget negotiations, the House and Senate were able to find funding somewhere between $57 and $90 million, respectively. However, the legislature adjourned without finishing the budget this year, so we will have to wait a few weeks to see how the two houses conform their proposed budgets for trails to see exactly what we will get and how the funding will be structured. The proposed House budget would dedicate $14.9 million directly to the Fall Line, among its other dedicated trail line items, and the Senate would establish an Office of Trails that would disburse the funding to trails (to which our localities would apply for Fall Line funding).
However, this is shaping up to be the largest state investment in trails in Virginia history and is worth celebrating!
As we wait to officially celebrate the state trail funding, we can turn our attention to the federal spending bill, somewhat ominously dubbed “the omnibus.” Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner were instrumental in securing $2 million for the Fall Line in this bill, something we asked for as far back as last year’s National Bike Summit.
PlanRVA is hosting an open house for BikePed2045, the region’s bike/ped plan on March 22. RSVP here.
The annual National Bike Summit is the last week of March. We will join advocates from around the Commonwealth to meet Virginia’s senators and representatives to give an update on the Fall Line and other bike/ped safety issues and investments. Join us on Wednesday March 30 for lobby day if you can!
RVA Bike Month is coming, with a return to May. Look for some new opportunities and a slightly updated format for 2022 that we think you’ll enjoy.
RVA Bike Ped Counts, our semi-annual volunteer driven data collection project partnership with Richmond and Henrico Health District, returns in May. Get ready to volunteer!
Spring is in the air, and it is time to get ready to enjoy a bountiful year of riding in the spirit of all the great places soon to be built for us. Thanks for reading and for all you do to show our regional, state, and national leaders just how important investing in safe and comfortable places to walk and bike is to our health, our economy, and our quality of life in Central Virginia.
Director of Outreach
Bike Walk RVA