Important Issues for Stephen
I live roughly half a mile from Springfield Elementary School, Echo Lake Elementary School, and Echo Lake Park. All of these places should be a ~10 minute walk from my house, but it is incredibly unsafe to do so. I would have to walk along roads with a posted 45 Mph speed limit to reach any of these locations. Henrico County has had over 27,000 car crashes and 400 pedestrians hit by cars in the past 5 years. The numbers are steadily increasing and I think the county has a responsibility to address this crisis.
Everyday, school children walk to and from their bus stops on Springfield Rd, Mountain Rd, and Three Chopt Rd. These roads don't have sidewalks, forcing kids to walk either in the street or in the ditch. This poses an obvious safety hazard and must be fixed before a tragic accident occurs. As a civil engineer, I know how to design infrastructure with a focus on pedestrian safety, and I will commit to building sidewalks throughout the community.
This is a picture of the only entrance to Echo Lake, a popular community park in the Bookland District. It is completely unreachable to any pedestrian, which is ironic for a popular walking trail.
Springfield park does have sidewalks in the area. Unfortunately, Springfield road is a 45 Mph posted speed limit with frequent speeders. The sidewalk is two linear feet from the travel lane, where cars are moving at speeds fatal to a pedestrian. Placing sidewalks so close to the road is dangerous and uncomfortable for pedestrians. As a result, the community doesn't use the sidewalk, and instead drives to the park with their family.
Of course, who can blame residents for driving to their local park when they would have to cross 4 lanes of high speed traffic to get there.
Clean Water / Wastewater
Communities depend on clean and reliable water. Here in Henrico County we get our drinking water from the James River. Despite this, Henrico County has dumped 66 million gallons of raw sewage into the James River between 2016 and 2021. The County recently settled a lawsuit from environmental groups requiring the county to address this issue.
Henrico shouldn't wait around for watchdog groups to notice a health hazard, gather evidence, and navigate the legal system before the county begins to address it. Polluting the James river pollutes our water supply, prevents residents from swimming in the river, and kills the local fish and wildlife populations.
Henrico County Wastewater Reclamation Facility
Smart, Sustainable Growth
Henrico County is one of the fastest growing areas in Virginia. Growth can be good, but it must be well organized, sustainable, and with every Henrico resident in mind. As a Civil Engineer, I understand the risks to growing too quickly without proper planning. We must avoid overburdening our roads, crowding our schools, and raising the cost of living above what current residents can afford. Below are two examples of poorly planned development approved by the county.
This is the entrance to a community at the intersection of Old Mountain Road and Mountain Road. This serves as the only way to access approximately 80 single family homes. You'll notice there are no curbs, no sidewalks, and no left turn lane. All at the end of a turn on a 45 MPH posted speed limit. Anyone wanting to enter their community from the west risks holding up traffic, being rear ended, and turning down a hill, making it difficult to see if there are any obstacles in the road.
Overall this entrance does not come close to meeting the standards of safety that should be expected in Henrico County.
For reference, this is the entrance to a community approximately one quarter mile south at the intersection of Mountain Road and Mountain Spring Terrace. This is the only access for approximately 40 single family homes, which is half the number of units at Old Mountain Road. This entrance has curbs, a median, and dedicated turn lanes from both directions. Overall I would rate this intersection as meeting traffic safety standards. However, this should be the standard across the county.
This kind of design should not be restricted to areas most favored by the Board of Supervisors or to communities who have the most money.
Here is a paved ditch on the side of Church Road, approximately a half mile south of Route 64. The road has no shoulder and the ditch is two feet deep with very sharp corners. If there were an animal on the road or if a driver happened to be on their phone, they could easily drift out of the travel lane. If someone's wheels fell into the ditch, their car would bottom out and not be able to move without a tow truck. They would be stuck, unable to move, and on a turn where another driver wouldn't easily see them stopped on the side of the road.
This is particularly dangerous being on a turn with reduced visibility.