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'Controlling the crowds': Richmond to close parking lots near James River Park

'Controlling the crowds': Richmond to close parking lots near James River Park

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City of Richmond's Thomas Jefferson Tot Lot in front of Thomas Jefferson High School.

Starting this weekend, the city of Richmond will close its high-traffic parking lots with access to James River Park System.

Those lots include the parking areas on Tredegar Street north of the river and Pony Pasture on the south bank, as well as popular entrances at the pipeline downtown and West 21st Street in South Richmond.

“With the weather turning warmer, we are trying to help with controlling the crowds,” Tamara Jenkins, a spokesperson for the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities, wrote in an email.

On Monday, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney banned many activities in and around the James River — including swimming, sunbathing or congregating in groups. Residents can still exercise along the river. Stoney also closed playgrounds and courts in city-owned parks and schools.

City-owned parks — such as Forest Hill, Byrd and Bryan parks — remain open.

“None of our parks are closed. There are just certain amenities that are closed. We ask that visitors adhere to the social distancing guidelines,” Jenkins said.

Previous Richmond parks and recreation closures include all dog parks, athletic fields, picnic shelters, park houses, community centers, administrative offices, basketball courts, tennis courts, pickleball courts, skate parks, playgrounds, and the cancellation of all department sponsored programming.

The James River parking lot closures will begin Saturday, April 4, and continue on the weekends until June 10, through Gov. Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home order.

The parks department will continue to close the traffic gates in Byrd Park on Strollers Lane, Westover Road, and Trafford Road on the weekends.

The city will re-evaluate the need for closures and cancellations as the coronavirus situation evolves, Jenkins said.

ccurran@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6151

Twitter: @collcurran

Colleen Curran covers arts and entertainment for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She writes the weekly column Top Five Weekend Events.

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