RVAgreener Highlight: Jason
Meet RVAgreener Jason! He moved to Richmond 15 years ago and currently resides in the Bellevue area of Northside. Jason’s favorite parts of the city are hard to narrow down since they include all of the James River Park System, Carytown, and any place with solid walking and biking infrastructure. Jason teaches cultural anthropology at University of Mary Washington. One of the reasons he’s so focused on transportation is because of its impact on air quality - both air pollution and disease (such as issues with microscopic particles that come from car tires, which are then in the air we breathe).
As you have probably guessed, Jason considers himself a regular cyclist, enjoying the opportunities to get on his bike and venture through the city or even to go shopping. As if the rocky infrastructure was not challenging enough, Jason has shared that the warmer days also make this desired activity more challenging to experience. Nevertheless, this doesn't hinder his excitement for all of the electric bike structures he has seen popping up across the city and hopes that many more people will consider biking more regularly.
Jason has observed the increase in population and development in Richmond - along with more bike lanes - and believes this is positive but emphasizes we need to consider the way people are choosing to travel around the city: are they driving more or less? We also need to consider how climate change is impacting the ability and willingness to be outside and use transportation like bikes. For example, someone may choose to or have to drive because it’s too hot or too stormy to use other options.
Jason suggest looking at examples from many northern European cities that have made it really safe to get around without cars and “cater less to cars,” like Copenhagen. It’s not clear yet whether these efforts can be easily replicated in Richmond, but Jason reminds us that these places weren’t always so focused on people and safety.
Jason is part of the RVAgreen 2050 Transportation Working Group and got involved because it is an extension of other work he has done, like serving on the similar working group for the Richmond 300 Master Plan process. When he and his family moved to Richmond, they started biking more to help make it more appealing to people and he has made good connections with neighbors in this field. He would have liked for the RVAgreen 2050 working group meeting sessions to be in person to really embrace the energy of the participants. The conversations are challenging and deeply immersed in equity, which has been unprecedented in the prior engagements he has been in involved in.
Author: JaVonne Bowles, RVAgreen 2050 Racial Equity & Environmental Justice Roundtable and Working Group member
Photo: Bikeable Richmond