Richmond, VA: Bicycle Infrastructure Report

Posted by Content Coordinator on Friday, March 25th, 2016


In the 2013 Baseline Report, we surveyed the existing bikeways in the region—a Sports Backers employee literally walked, biked, or ran every mile of trail and bike lane. While there were about 37 total miles of bikeways in the region at the time, a majority of what we measured were unpaved trails, mostly in parks. This time we’ve decided to take a different approach, focusing mostly on paved multi-use paths and on-street bike lanes that contribute to a non-motorized transportation network.

For the 2016 Bicycle Infrastructure Report, instead of measuring bike lanes as one category, we’ve divided them up into traditional bike lanes, buffered bike lanes, protected bike lanes, and contraflow lanes to reflect the diversifying types of bikeways coming online in our region. Other bike and pedestrian facilities such as dedicated multi-use paths and bike-walk streets will also be included in this report. Examples of these facilities are provided on the next page. We’ve also chosen to measure mileage in “centerline miles,” which counts bike lanes on both sides of a street at the same time as opposed to “lane miles,” which count bike lanes on both sides of the street separately (a 1-mile-long street with bikes lanes on both sides has one centerline mile—or 2 lane miles).

The Region’s Progress

  • Since 2013, our region has made significant progress toward becoming more bike-friendly.
  • THE VIRGINIA CAPITAL TRAIL —a 53-mile long paved multi-use path between downtown Richmond and Jamestown, passing through Henrico County and several other localities, was completed in 2015.
  • About seven centerline miles of NEW BIKE LANE PROJECTS HAVE BEEN ADDED IN THE CITY OF RICHMOND, including several buffered lanes that increase separation between cars and bike traffic.
  • Construction is underway on the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge, A BICYCLE- AND PEDESTRIAN-ONLY CROSSING OF THE JAMES RIVER.
  • Construction of the FLOYD AVENUE BIKE-WALK STREET PROJECT began in November—the first of its kind in the region.
  • The City of Richmond’s first Bicycle Master Plan was completed in 2015.
  • Chesterfield County adopted the Bikeways and Trails Chapter of its Comprehensive Plan in November of 2015.

Total Bikeway Miles By Year

Opportunities for the Richmond Region Moving Forward

THE FUTURE OF BICYCLING IN THE RICHMOND REGION LOOKS BRIGHT. New plans for building a network of bikeways in the region provide a strong foundation for connecting people of all ages and abilities who want or need to ride a bike.

WE STILL HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO. In order to effectively build on the progress we have made thus far, Bike Walk RVA has the following recommendations for jurisdictions going forward:


Developing and passing a bicycle infrastructure plan is the first step toward having a connected network. Having a plan in place helps secure federal funding through grants for designing and building projects.


Funding for the plan does not have to come from local capital improvement dollars alone, though allocating funds annually in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) is usually the most efficient way to build bike infrastructure. There are multiple grant opportunities for federal dollars, though many require a small local match. The local match is one important reason to allocate some funding for bicycle infrastructure in the CIP.


In order for new bikeways to be truly successful, they should be designed for all ages and abilities. By physically separating bicycle traffic from motor vehicle traffic, comfort increases for people on bikes and the bikeways are more likely to attract new riders.


Finally, we need to focus on building a connected network of bikeways and not just going after the low hanging fruit. Some streets might be easier to install bike lanes on than others, but if they don’t connect to desired destinations or other bikeways, they are not as useful and don’t contribute to the overall network.

With the right plans in place, ongoing funding, good design, community support, and political will, the Richmond region will continue to make great strides in building a comfortable and connected network of bicycle infrastructure.

Download full version (PDF): RVA 2016 Bicycle Infrastructure Report

About Bike Walk RVA
Bike Walk RVA, a program of Sports Backers, was created to advocate for comfortable and connected places to bike and walk for people of all ages and abilities in greater Richmond. Biking and walking for everyday transportation should be accessible to everyone.

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