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City Council Approves Red Bus Lanes On Broad Street

A GRTC Pulse bus pulls into the East Riverfront station
FILE PHOTO: A GRTC Pulse bus pulls into the East Riverfront station. (Crixell Matthews/VPM)

The GRTC bus-only lanes on Broad Street will soon take on a new color.

Richmond City Council voted Monday night to spend roughly $2 million to paint the lanes red as a way to increase traffic safety. Funding will come mostly from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

Dironna Moore Clarke, who leads Richmond’s Office of Equitable Transit and Mobility, said in March she hopes the measure keeps people from driving or parking in bus lanes, which remains an ongoing problem. She said part of the implementation will also include a public education component.

“With enforcement a lot of times we are unsure if citizens ignore the bus lane, or they really don’t know where they are supposed to be on the roadway,” she said.

The GRTC Pulse rapid transit line was unveiled in 2018. The Pulse buses carry thousands of passengers each day, moving from their own lanes and re-entering traffic at various points along Broad Street. In some areas, riders are let off at bus shelters in the middle of the street, and have to cross traffic to find a sidewalk.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said the city began working on a grant proposal to paint the bus lanes shortly after resident Alice Woodson was struck and killed by a Pulse bus in 2019 trying to cross Broad Street. Across Virginia, there were 1,625 pedestrian-involved crashes in 2019 with 124 fatalities.

The state grant will pay for painting the bus-only lanes on Broad Street between Foushee Street in Jackson Ward and Interstate 195. The pavement of the bus-only lanes will be painted red, either solidly or in a hatching pattern.