The Office of Equitable Transit and Mobility (OETM) has completed a draft of the Path to Equity: Policy Guide for Richmond Connects. After a summer of virtual and in-person community engagement, the plan is ready for public review.
The Path to Equity: Policy Guide for Richmond Connects articulates the policy framework for Richmond Connects, the multimodal transportation planning process set to begin March 2022. The goal of the document is to provide a principled, community-rooted foundation to guide the implementation of the upcoming project-based transportation plan.
The policy guide was developed with the help of the public and two planning committees. An internal steering committee, made up of Richmond city staff across many departments, helped guide the process. An advisory committee, made up of a diverse group of citizens, advocates, and local and regional planning and government professionals, helped develop the new policy statements in the document. OETM relied on more than 1,900 responses from the public survey to craft the guide while considering research and best practices in equity planning from across the country.
Said Administrator of the Office of Equitable Transit and Mobility Dironna Moore Clarke, “Thank you to everyone who attended the community engagement events this summer, including our very popular Tacos for Transportation effort! OETM heard so many great ideas, and we are excited to share this draft.”
Summary of Path to Equity: Policy Guide for Richmond Connects
First, the document lays out the history of the injustices that have occurred as a result of government policies, from the local to the federal level. It takes ownership for these injustices and lays out additional context that the city is operating within today. It articulates which injustices, and what elements of the planning and funding process, hinder progress towards equity in transportation today. It points to new directions the city and its planning partners must take to get closer to true equity.
The policy guide reiterates the transportation-related goals and objectives from Richmond 300: A Guide for Growth, the city’s master plan, but adds additional policy statements to center the policy on equity in transportation programs, policies, investments and infrastructure.
It articulates a new set of policy statements, called Equity Factors, that describe the desired outcomes related to addressing injustices of the past and barriers today. It also lays out three guiding principles for how the process must unfold in achieving these Equity Factors and Richmond 300’s objectives.
Says Moore-Clarke, “Process matters. It’s important not just what we accomplish, but how we accomplish it. That’s why we’ve outlined guiding principles as our process guideposts.”
Next steps in the planning process
Once finalized, the framework developed in the Path to Equity: Policy Guide will ultimately help prioritize needs and recommend transportation projects and programs for the city in Richmond Connects. It will align the city transportation needs and a variety of recommendations from various plans to identify equitable transportation projects across the city. Including commenting on the Path to Equity draft, there will be many more opportunities for your voices to be heard, as the Policy Guide is but the first step in planning for what residents see as the community’s top transportation needs.
This policy guide continues the City’s commitment to building a more equitable city for all Richmonders. Please help this vital work by reviewing the draft policy guide before January 31, 2022.
Please stay connected at www.rva.gov/connects and review the draft document at www.rva.gov/path2equity.
The policy guide in its entirety is available for review and comment. Considering the length and detail of the document, the equity factors and guiding principles are also available separately for comment and review.
The Office of Equitable Transit and Mobility also invites the public to join a webinar on January 10 from 1 to 2 p.m. to learn more about the planning process; an event page can be found on the city’s Facebook and on the Path to Equity webpage. Also stay tuned to the city’s Facebook for information on a series of Path to Equity mini-sessions happening Thursdays in January, starting next week, via Facebook live.