The unseasonably warm weather this past weekend made it seem more like May than February. Visitors flocked to river (and hopefully gained some appreciation for the need to protect it). While it was wonderful to see people getting outdoors and enjoying the riverfront, the crowds also illustrated overcrowding at the Belle Island parking lot. Streets in Oregon Hill were also overflowing with visitors’ vehicles.

This is a worsening problem that needs attention. Some have suggested building more parking lots, but more parking lots will not come close to addressing the existing pent-up demand for easier access to the riverfront. Besides, Dominion Energy and other entities already have parking lots that could possibly be made accessible to the public during weekend hours. The Virginia War Memorial is supposed to be building a large underground parking deck. Even including these, they are not enough for all the park visitors and they come with their sets of problems, such as more stormwater runoff and eradication of more natural habitat and features.

The Sierra Club Falls of the James group and the Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association have repeatedly suggested that mass transit be connected more to the river park system. In the City’s Riverfront Plan, plans for a newly renovated Shiplock Park and’Sugar Pad’ landing in the East End will benefit from a planned, nearby Bus Rapid Transit stop, but still nothing for Tredegar Street and Belle Island. Perhaps a seasonal van shuttle can be created as a public amenity. As GRTC meets and plans for its new route structure, there needs to be more consideration of this issue.

The Eye of Sauron

From local photographer Arthur Stephens:

Sun setting on the Lee Bridge while the Eye of Sauron watches on. It may look like a scene from Lord of the Rings, but it’s just out of focus branches.

The School Budget

Recently seen flyer:

From recent Times Dispatch article:

Newly seated Mayor Levar Stoney, who promised a smoother process on the campaign trail, is hoping to head off the tense public display this year.

His administration has been working behind the scenes for weeks with representatives from the City Council and the School Board to hammer out a draft of an “education compact,” which lays out shared goals for the school system and plans to develop a long-term funding plan to support them.

People should not forget Open High’s march from two years ago.

L’Opossum Wins The 2017 Elby’s

Congratulations to David Shannon, chef and owner of L’Opossum! His 2 1/2 year old restaurant, at the corner of China and S. Pine, won big at Richmond Magazine’s Elby Awards last night at the Altria Theater.

Shannon took Chef of the Year, and L’Opossum also was named Restaurant of the Year.

From Richmond Magazine:

In 2015, L’Opossum received the Elby for Best New Restaurant. Last year, Shannon was named a James Beard semi-finalist. One visiting judge said: “To be frank, when I first read the menu online, I thought it was overly clever. But the chef earned the right to his sense of humor. … It’s the No. 1 place I visited this year that I’d go back to.” Another wrote: “Beautiful presentations and precise execution with every course. Cleverness and innovation abound, but above all, the spot-on taste of each dish – from foie gras and double-cut loin lamb chops to la petite mort au chocolate en flambé – dazzled. The intense labor and excellent quality of ingredients make this restaurant a value!”

Dumb Waiter At Mojo’s Tomorrow Night

From FaceBook event page:

Dumb Waiter Jazz-metal-funk trash bins playing trash music. “Cancel Christmas” vinyl + new tees will be available.
Zephyranthes (Raleigh, NC.) Delicious finger food. First time in RVA!
MANZARA Heavenly angels playing some music to gnash your teeth to. https://manzara.bandcamp.com/
930PM FREE at Mojo’s Rva

5th District Meeting Next Thursday

From announcement:

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Councilman Parker C. Agelasto to hold a meeting for the Richmond Central 5th Voter District

All Richmond Central 5th Voter District residents invited and encouraged to attend

WHAT (Richmond, Virginia U.S.A.) – The Honorable Parker C. Agelasto, Councilman, Richmond City Council, Richmond Central 5th Voter District, will hold a meeting for the Richmond Central 5th Voter District. Councilman Agelasto typically holds individual meetings for the Richmond Central 5th Voter District every other month throughout the year. These meetings are free and open to the public and all Richmond Central 5th Voter District residents are invited and encouraged to attend. The planned agenda for this meeting includes:

· Richmond Real Estate Tax Abatement Program for Seniors and People with Disabilities
Ms. Valerie Weatherless, Revenue Manager/Real Estate Collections, Richmond Department of Finance

· Richmond Real Estate Tax Delinquency and Vacant Properties
Ms. Valerie Weatherless, Revenue Manager/Real Estate Collections, Richmond Department of Finance

· Richmond Food Cooperative

· Richmond Central 5th Voter District Updates

· Questions and Comments

WHEN Thursday, February 23, 2017
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

WHERE Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts
3411 Semmes Avenue; Richmond, Virginia 23225

CONTACT The Honorable Parker C. Agelasto, Councilman, Richmond City Council, Richmond Central 5th Voter District, at 804.646.6050 (tel), or parker.agelasto@richmondgov.com (email)

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