RICHMOND, Va. --The GRTC Board of Directors voted to relocate a bus stop after a press conference, petition, and vehement opposition from residents along Davis Avenue and Grace Street.
The stop was an end of the line for the newly proposed bus routes 50, 76 and 77. Buses would have traveled south on Davis and west on Grace as they turned around.
Residents at the William Byrd Senior Apartments, management at the William Byrd Barber Shop, and members of the West Grace Street Association voiced opposition to the stop. At a press conference they cited health and safety, parking, trash, graffiti, and devaluing of property values as reasons the stop should be relocated.
Around 60 buses would have traveled through daily.
GRTC said they began evaluating alternatives after they received negative feedback.
Bus Stop # 3651 at Davis Ave. and Broad Street will be moved to another location, pending approval from the Science Museum of Virginia, who owns the property.
The proposed terminus for routes 50, 76, and 77 are now east on Broad, North on DMV drive and west into the former Worker's Compensation building parking lot.
GRTC concluded that the changes were minor and stayed within acceptable change limits, and there was no inequitable distribution of service.
There are currently no fare changes proposed with the new alternative.
The changes, if approved, would take effect when the new routes become operational on Sunday, June 24, therefore never operating as a terminus at Broad and Davis.
David Streever, a homeowner in the 2500 block of Grace Street, said he was one of the few on the block who supported the proposed route.
"I am disappointed that GRTC caved on this," Streever said. "The bus network serves over 1 million rides a year, and overblown fears of safe, low-emission buses will negatively impact the Richmonders who rely on the network."
He said he doesn't notice buses going by when he is at restaurants on Broad Street, and said "I don't think I'd notice them on Grace Street either."
Streever said he stopped attending West Grace Street Association (WGSA) meetings when they became obsessed with GRTC and "stopping it at all costs."
Elsa Woodaman, WGSA president, called for GRTC to utilize areas north of Broad St., that are less residential.
Woodaman had questioned who would take responsibility for street repair, bus station upkeep, ensuing graffiti and trash if GRTC kept the proposed route along Grace.
“A loud, unpleasant, and dangerous environment will prove hostile to our residential community and will devalue our old and historic homes, our neighborhood and frankly our quality of life,” Woodaman said at the press conference in May.
“We also recognize that allowing this invasion of our neighborhood will open up the door for GRTC to do the same to other historic neighborhoods in this city and we just should not accept that,” she added.