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Richmond courthouse parking lot closed as GRTC transfer station build starts

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A new GRTC bus transfer plaza downtown is now under construction in downtown Richmond.

On Monday, crews closed the surface parking lot at Eighth and Clay streets to begin work on the $2.2 million temporary transfer center that will replace the existing GRTC plaza along Ninth Street in front of the soon-to-be redeveloped Public Safety Building.

The new transfer station will feature 12 bus bays configured in a saw-tooth design for up to 10 standard buses and two larger articulated buses that resemble an accordion in the middle.

GRTC temporary transfer station rendering

A rendering of the GRTC transfer station currently under construction at the parking lot at 8th and Clay streets

The plaza will include fencing, bus shelters, benches, trash cans and a temporary restroom facility reserved for bus drivers.

The relocation of the temporary transfer plaza is required after the city sold the dilapidated Public Safety Building at 510 N. 10th St. for $3.5 million to a group of developers planning to redevelop the site in partnership with VCU Health.

“GRTC worked with the City of Richmond’s Office of Equitable Transit and Mobility to secure a new transfer area” with the project on the horizon, the transit company said in a statement Monday. “GRTC and the City were able to take advantage of this opportunity to develop a new station that greatly enhanced safety and convenience for riders.”

GRTC transfer plaza construction begins

GRTC is building a temporary bus transfer center at the parking lot in front of the John Marshall courthouse.

GRTC has contracted with Oilville-based construction firm J.R. Caskey to perform the work. Officials said the project is expected to last until spring 2023. A combination of federal, state and local funding is covering the cost.

GRTC officials last year said moving the transfer plaza to the parking lot in front of the John Marshall courthouse will eliminate 230 parking spaces, 165 of which are reserved for city employees.

In its Monday statement, GRTC said the city has arranged alternate parking in the Coliseum Garage on 7th Street, and anyone who needs to travel to the downtown center can use public off-street parking or park at Main Street Station and ride the Pulse for free.

GRTC first opened its temporary transfer plaza on Ninth Street in 2014 to ease congestion on Broad Street before the bicycle races of the UCI Road World Championships the following year. Plans for a new permanent plaza were included in the proposed $1.5 billion Navy Hill redevelopment project downtown that City Council rejected in 2020.

Richmond and GRTC officials say plans for a permanent plaza are still in development.

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