Route 1 corridor, along 360, and down Route 60 from Chippenham to West-chester Commons. Concerning the latter, there are an estimated 35,000 jobs from Chip to WC which are inaccessible to anyone without a car.”
Harton’s further passion is enabling the growing aging population of our county to “age in place.” He serves on the Richmond Region Aging 2.0 workgroup, which is developing an “aging in place” curriculum for the region. “Public transportation is a key element in enabling aging Baby Boomers to stay in our homes into old age,” said Harton.
Mike Harton, a member of the RVA Rapid Transit Board, an advocacy group for regional Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and better public transportation in general, spoke at a Board of Supervisors on Nov. 16. “We are focused on several things: the success of the initial Willow Lawn-Rockets Landing Pulse Route, (Pulse runs in a designated lane with minimal stops) generating interest in expanding that route to the far west end, and getting BRT into the updating of the Route One Area Plan in Chesterfield.”
Currently the Northern Jefferson Davis area plan of the county’s Comprehensive Plan is underway, and there is a push to get a “good transportation” component into that plan.
Jefferson Davis Highway is considered the commerce corridor of the county, home of large industries such as Dupont Spuance; United Parcel; soon-to-come Tranlin Paper, which will employ over 1,000; Walthall Industrial Park; and east on Route 10, Amazon and a technology park that employs a seasonal 2,000 workers, which is just a drop in the bucket.
Nicholas Briley addressed the Board indicating public transportation for employees to travel to their places of business in the county, as well as the cost of current transportation options for employees who work at Amazon and lack options.
“The need for buses is obvious along Route 1, as this is where the concentration of poverty and unemployment in our county lies. People not only have great difficulty even getting to the grocery, but they cannot get to jobs, doctors, etc. Walking is extremely dangerous, since there are no pedestrian ways,” Harton said.
Pedestrian access has been ignored in Chesterfield for decades as suburbanites took to their cars in lieu of getting some exercise.
“What we are asking the Board of Supervisors (BoS) to do is to set aside funds (probably in the neighborhood of $150,000 as a starter) for a feasibility study,” Harton said. “We are confident that such a study will produce the hard data needed to move BRT ahead.
“Personally, my driving passion is to eventually see Pulse run along the