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Richmond City Council to consider James River access road

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) –Getting to the James River and finding a place to park can be a hassle.  Tonight the Richmond City Council is expected to vote on a road project that could make the trip to the river, a little easier.  It is a proposed deal 17 years in the making. 

For some, like Bruce Wallace and his son, spending time on or around the James River is a regular past time.

“It’s just a great atmosphere,” said Wallace.  “You can’t get this anywhere else.”

But on some days just trying to make it to the riverfront is difficult, considering parking can be a pain.

“You just have to make rounds, or you can park down in the lower part–which is all gravel and dirt,” said Wallace.

Richmond City Council is looking to ease the parking problem, by voting on a deal to possibly install a road that links South 2nd Street with Tredegar Street. 

“I’m hoping for it, yeah definitely,” said Wallace.

If the connector road is approved it’s expected to also alleviate rush-hour traffic, in addition to the ongoing parking problem. 

“It’s been a hassle, it’s always been a hassle,” said river enthusiast Reeves Hankins.

The public and private collaboration will involve the city, NewMarket Corporation, Venture Richmond and Dominion Resources.  Some are hoping the community-wide effort will create a convenient way for walkers, bikers and kayakers to reach the river.

“If this parking was a little more accessible, there would probably be more people coming out here,” said Hankins.  “But it’s hard to say.”

Ryan Frazier with Dominion said in addition to helping ease parking problems and rush-hour traffic, a connector road could also benefit emergency crews trying to access the riverfront from Tredegar Street.  Currently there’s only one way in and one way out. 

If approved, the road could be complete by the end of 2012 or the beginning of 2013.

Richmond’s City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at at 6:00 p.m. tonight, July 23.

Stay with CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for continuing coverage of this story.

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