RVA Pulse Points: How to Stay Safe With New and Changing Transit Patterns

An Article From the Personal Injury Law Firm of Allen, Allen, Allen, & Allen

The preparation and pending launch of the new GRTC Pulse high-capacity rapid transit bus system means that major changes are coming to its 7.6-mile route on Broad and Main Streets in Richmond. These changes will not only affect those who ride the Pulse—they will also impact city motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Sharing the road with GRTC Pulse creates the need for increased vigilance, patience, and the shaping of many new commuting habits. To understand how Pulse might affect your daily travel plans, let’s first take a look at some of the major road changes made to accommodate its route.

Bus-Only Travel Lanes

The most obvious change to Broad and Main Streets are the adaptation of unrestricted travel lanes to bus-only travel lanes. These lanes are clearly marked and motorists are prohibited from using them except when making right turns between 4th and 14th Streets in Downtown.

Bus lanes graphic


On Main Street and the eastern portion of Broad Street, these bus-only lanes are on the right. The central portion of the Pulse route through VCU and Scott’s Addition features bus-only lanes near the median on the left side of unrestricted lanes. Drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists are advised to use extreme caution at the points where the bus lanes shift.

With one travel lane now dedicated to buses, traffic volume will increase in the two remaining lanes. Until you’re sure how this change in traffic flow will affect your total travel time, be sure to add at least a few extra minutes to your commute.

Limited Left Turns and U-Turns

Because bus-only lanes will be positioned on the left of unrestricted travel lanes for much of Broad Street, many intersections allowing left turns and U-turns have been eliminated. It may take navigation software time to recognize these changes, so allowing extra time in your travels for making three right turns instead of one left or driving the extra distance to make a legal U-turn is advised.

Currently, drivers traveling west along Broad Street may make left turns at these intersections:

  • Broad Street at N. Monroe Street
  • Broad Street at N. Belvidere Street
  • Broad Street at N. Harrison Street
  • Broad Street at N. Meadow Street
  • Broad Street at N. Robinson Street
  • Broad Street at N. Sheppard Street
  • Broad Street at Tilden Street

Drivers traveling east along Broad Street may make left turns at these intersections:

  • Broad Street at Roseneath Road
  • Broad Street at Sheppard Street
  • Broad Street at Terminal Place
  • Broad Street at DMV Drive
  • Broad Street at N. Meadow Street/Hermitage Road
  • Broad Street at Allen Avenue
  • Broad Street at Bowe Street
  • Broad Street at N. Belvidere Street

There are traffic signals at each of these intersections.

Pulse Stations in Medians

For as long as buses have been used for public transportation in Richmond, bus stops have been small-scale installations positioned to the right of travel lanes. A feature of the Pulse system are new, larger “bus stations” installed in the medians along Broad Street. Their position in medians allows for easier access from bus-only travel lanes, but it introduces new challenges to motorists and pedestrians because of the increased foot traffic crossing busy roadways.

Pedestrians and cyclists who intend to use these Pulse stations are instructed to only cross with the crossing lights at marked crosswalks, both for their safety and to best access the ramps leading to the station platforms. Crossing in the middle of a block and then trying to reach the station platform could lead to difficult climbs or finding yourself in dangerous proximity to moving buses and cars from multiple directions.

Motorists are advised to use additional caution near these median stations, especially during the first few months they are in service, and to be patient with those walking bicycles at crosswalks in preparation for parking them at stations or mounting them to buses.

Other Pulse Safety Precautions

In order to raise community awareness of the changes we all need to make to help the GRTC Pulse operate safely and successfully, Allen & Allen has launched a campaign to share tips for bus riders, motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians throughout May and June, 2018.

Be sure to check our blog every Monday for new and informative articles that can help you stay safe and improve the quality of your commute when sharing the road with Pulse. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @allenandallen for quick tips and helpful infographics, and share your own recommendations for safety with us there by using the hashtag #RVAPulsePoints.

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