As I mentioned last week, there was a open forum at Main Street Station held by the City to get public input regarding the Downtown Master Plan as it relates to Shockoe Bottom and Shockoe Slip.  It was good to hear representatives of City Planning talk about the overall plan and see their reactions to the public opinion, but generally speaking there wasn’t a lot of new info to be had.

Once I thought about it, though, the setup wasn’t to have the City tell us what they had in mind, but in fact we were there to enable the public to provide feedback to the City. 

Several citizens were happy to step forward and express what concerned them most regarding the current situation in the Slip and the Bottom.  Understandably, the main thoughts were regarding equitable enforcement of building codes and keeping crime down.  There was a general sense of frustration that the city harrasses some building owners when they are updating, and then not raising a finger to address the many dilapidated buildings that haven’t been touched in decades. 

As for the issue of crime prevention, the Plan calls for more trees and the return of on-street parking.  I did learn why the trees had mostly been removed in the Bottom, and why on-street parking had been more limited lately.  Apparently, having trees and on-street parking ended up obscuring the current street lamps, and it was easier to have those obstructions removed rather than installing new lights.

Here is the literature the City passed out for the meeting: Download Shockoe.pdf

But wait, there’s more!  There are three more upcoming District Meetings:

Broad Street and Jackson Ward
Tuesday, February 12
The Jackson Center Building/DHCD Board Room
501North 2nd Street

James River (River, Islands, and Riverfront Area)
Tuesday, February 19
Main Library
101 East Franklin Street

City Center (VCU Medical Center, Capitol Area, Biotech Park, and Central Office District)
Wednesday, February 20
City Hall/5th Floor Conference Room
900 East Broad Street