GRTC orders study for North-South rapid bus line

A study to determine a North-South equivalent of the Pulse will include public engagement sessions.

Broad Street facing east is seen from the middle of the street.

The GRTC board is eyeing four potential corridors for a North-South Bus Rapid Transit line.

Photo by RICtoday

Table of Contents

GRTC wants to add a North-South Bus Rapid Transit line, several years after the launch of The Pulse. There are four potential corridors that will be evaluated by a contractor.

🚌 What to expect

The GRTC board selected a contractor, Michael Baker International, to conduct a study about the project. That process will include public engagement and investigation into possible corridors.

The contractor will finish with a final summary report — which you better believe we’ll read to update our readers.

📍 The four corridors

A previous study from the Greater Washington Partnership identified four potential options for North-South BRT.

We made a handy map so you can visualize each option.

There’s one line going north and three options going south.

  • North | From a downtown Pulse station up Belvidere Street, Chamberlayne Avenue, and Route 1, ending at Virginia Center Commons
  • South: Route 1 | From a downtown Pulse station down Belvidere/Route 1 to Brightpoint Community College in Chester
  • South: Hull Street | From a downtown Pulse station down Hull Street to the Commonwealth Center area
  • South: Midlothian Turnpike | From a downtown Pulse station down Hull Street, then Midlothian Turnpike to Midlothian Village

🗓 Next steps

The recommended routes could be changed by the new study. GWP evaluated existing density and land use, existing transportation infrastructure, and socio-economic characteristics of the areas to find the potential corridors.

After the new study wraps up, GRTC will move on to the environmental clearance and design phase.

The East-West BRT project that became The Pulse started in 2010, opening after eight years of work — so we’re a ways away from launching this new line.

For now, we’ll ask you: Which route do you prefer for a North-South version of the Pulse? Share your thoughts.

📢 Public meetings

In April 2023, GRTC announced two open houses designed to get input from the public. Attend a meeting to learn about the ongoing study and give your feedback on the proposed options.

  • Monday, May 8 | 5:30-7:30 p.m. | John Marshall High School
  • Tuesday, May 9 | 5:30-7:30 p.m. | River City Middle School

Can’t make the meetings? Each step in the process will have opportunities for public feedback, so look out for future opportunities.

💬 Reader feedback

Several readers chimed in with thoughts on a North-South BRT line.

“I think this is a brilliant idea,” reader Lyn G. wrote. “We need to focus on moving people with less environmental impact, as well as offering folks without cars a good mode of transportation.”

When it came to which route to choose, reader Darryl D. favored the southern line down Midlothian Turnpike. “It has the best opportunity for upzoning and to serve the most amount of people,” Darryl said.

“The North-South to Virginia Center Commons would be a game changer for northsiders and Route 1 development, and great for J. Sarge students at the Parham Road campus,” reader Miles M. said of the proposed north corridor.

Reader Tambre H. shared her excitement for expanded rapid transit options.

“Me and my friends will drive downtown and park near a current Pulse station and ride up and down the line visiting shops, bars, and restaurants,” Tambre wrote. “The places we could go and see if the Pulse ran north to south, oh my!”

This article has been updated to include reader feedback following its initial publication. Reader comments have been lightly edited for grammar and clarity.

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