The University of Richmond may hold the key for safe passage between the Huguenot Bridge and the Near West End and Henrico County with the implementation of its plan to develop a trail along Little Westham Creek.
“The finished Eco-Corridor will also feature a multi-use recreational trail between Westhampton Way and River Road,” according to the plan for the Gambles Mill Eco-Corridor.
Providing safe non-motorized passage away from the narrow and heavily trafficked roadway corridor along River Road between the River Road Shopping Center (at Huguenot Road) and Three Chopt Road (near the Country Club of Virginia) will have a major impact on the regional bike/ped network.
(The trail is not an official part of the regional network, but if we all behave ourselves, I hope the University of Richmond will continue to allow passage through this corridor.)
The plan is for the trail to be completed by Summer 2019. Work will be done in conjunction with UR, Waterstreet Studio, RES, and the City of Richmond’s Department of Public Utilities. The trail could eventually have a 2-mile loop that would connect along Gamble’s Mill, the River Road entrance and the area behind the UR Physical Plant. The community garden is expected to remain and may even expand after the project is complete.
I use that route often on my bike commutes between my house and my office at the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission in Bon Air. Quite often, I chose to take the Gambles Mill corridor – despite the mud, crumbled roadway, and overgrowth – because it is safer and provides connections to many other safe routes. It is already a vital connection, but the redevelopment will make it even more attractive and essential for UR students and area residents as well.
Over the next year, Gambles Mill Corridor and Little Westham Creek will be undergoing Eco-Corridor construction and stream restoration. This project is a prime example of campus stewardship that will improve the health of Little Westham Creek and the surrounding area for years to come.
This project includes four components: construction of a multi-use recreational trail, removal of invasive plants, management of storm water, and restoration of Little Westham Creek.
If you didn’t get to see it, the goats were amazingly cute and super efficient. They were out in April of 2018 and cleared a huge amount of underbrush in a very short time.
SIDENOTE: I live near the intersection of Parham Road and Patterson Avenue. All the stormwater from my neighborhood eventually flows down to Westhampton Lake. Did you know that the City of Richmond has 20 watersheds? RVAH2O has the full details (and a cool map), but the one that matters for this particular area of town is the Kanawha Canal watershed, which funnels down to Westhampton Lake on the campus before pouring into the James River & Kanawha Canal.