Drivers frustrated by major traffic jams after Shockoe Bottom lane changes

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Drivers and people who work in Shockoe Bottom said recent changes that make 17th and 18th streets between Grace St. and Broad St. two ways instead of one way are creating major traffic backups.

“It’s gotten worse and worse,” one driver who lives in Church Hill said while trying to navigate through the traffic Thursday during rush hour.

We saw cars going the wrong way on 18th street, and long lines of traffic stretching from 18th St. where it hits Broad, and Main St. down to 15th St.


Traffic jam in Shockoe Bottom

“You have some people swearing a lot of horns blowing,” Curtis Bassett, who owns Brazilian Express on 18th St. said.

We also found the right turn lane on 18th St. at Broad St. basically unusable because of cars parked in the lane.

There are not any “no parking” signs there.


CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit

People who live and work in the area said since the traffic pattern changes the congestion has become unbearable.

“Everything have to go slow now you know,” Paul Gordon, who works at the corner of 18th St. and Main St. said.

“A lot of times you get a lot of emergency vehicles that come through here so that doesn’t help them either,” Bassett added.

Michael Sawyer, a Transportation Engineer for the City of Richmond, said the city is aware of the issue, and they’re working to fix it.

One of their solutions is to increase the signal time at 18th St. and Broad St. for traffic that’s moving up 18th toward Broad.

“That might work, we’ll just have to wait and see,” Bassett said.

Sawyer also said they are working to put a traffic light in at the intersection of 17th St. and Broad St. that will allow traffic to flow in both directions and give drivers a second option to get to and from Broad.

Shockoe Bottom

Shockoe Bottom

One woman said she believes the changes will ultimately produce results.

“I think it’s going to work perfect because everyone will get to work on time, it’s less traffic,” Antoniette Wade, said.

Sawyer said 17th St. should be in use as a two way in one month.

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