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2021
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More than 80% of a 20-year Richmond region transportation plan is dedicated for highway projects. Some want that changed. | Richmond Local News

Jimmy Chen, a professor and program chair of the Virginia Commonwealth University Urban and Regional Studies and Planning program who attended ConnectRVA 2045 public meetings this summer, said the Richmond region is car dependent due to many people traveling for work, as well as the lack of other reliable travel options.

“You cannot rely on the [Greater Richmond Transit Company] bus to get 100% access to destinations,” Chen said. “Right now the population is so dispersed .. and job and housing is unbalanced.” 

Chen said while driving provides “unprecedented mobility” for travel, it emits more pollutants than other modes of transportation, so it is important to eliminate unnecessary car trips and support sustainable travel.

“[The plan] mainly focused on supply side, how do we improve the intersection, how do we widen freeways,” Chen said. “but we also need to make sure that travel demand should be reduced … we need to encourage more transit-oriented development.”

However, Chen said it’s an overall great plan, adding the plan is not permanent and will be adjusted in the coming years — the plan is updated every four years.

“This blueprint is great,” Chen said. “This year they’ve had a lot of meetings and made a lot of progress.”

The projects list is in a public review and comment period for air quality testing from July 9-24, which examines projects to see their potential for ozone emissions. If a projects emissions are high, the board could reconsider whether toinclude it, Parsons said.