The rutted road in front of Roosevelt Robinson’s home was one of the worst in Church Hill North.
“I don’t think it’s been paved for 15 years or more,” he said. “It was real bad.”
That changed this week. Crews from Richmond’s Department of Public Works began resurfacing the stretch of North 31st Street between Nine Mile Road and U Street, in front of the new Armstrong Renaissance development. The segment is among 275 lane miles set to be paved this fiscal year, which ends June 30.
If Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has his way, twice as much money will go to fixing city streets next year.
At a press event he held on the street Wednesday, Stoney said the budget he will propose to the Richmond City Council later this week will double the city’s investment for road and sidewalk maintenance, from $16.2 million this year to $32 million. About half of the sum will come through the newly created Central Virginia Transportation Authority, he said.
Stoney said the proposed investment shows road maintenance is a top priority for his administration.
“I want you all to know this is an administration built on what Richmond can do,” he said. “We can invest in our schools and invest in improving our roads all at the same time.”
The Stoney administration told the City Council last spring that 1,526 of the 2,329 lane miles in the city were either in fair or very poor condition. Repairing them would cost $104 million, Public Works Director Bobby Vincent Jr. said at the time.
Last year Stoney proposed, and the council approved, $15 million for road maintenance. That money has allowed Public Works to repave long-neglected neighborhood roads and busy thoroughfares in all nine council districts.
Public Works has filled more than 84,000 potholes and repaved 355 lane miles since 2017, Stoney said in his State of the City speech earlier this year.
He will present his budget to the council on Friday at 3 p.m., marking the beginning of a three-month review period. The final plan, which the council must sign off on, will take effect July 1 and run through June 30, 2021.