RICHMOND, Va. – According to a recent press release, Richmond City Hall plans to launch a new “Two Steps Forward, One Step Back” campaign in the capital city.
“Ever since the mid-18th century, Richmond has struggled to earn its status as a prominent second- or third-tier American city,” said City Commissioner Barry Fisk in a speech at City Hall. “With this exciting new initiative Richmond can make that leap forward, then take a small step back a bit to steady ourselves.”
The strategy is part of the city’s First 100 Days of 2017 program and seeks to revitalize severely underfunded parks, services, departments, and cultural institutions in the River City, but not too much. “We have a strong tradition here of embracing the future, embracing change,” commented Fisk, “It’s time we move Richmond forward into the 20th century. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, though; the 20th century will do fine.”
The “2 Step, 1 Step” initiative was inspired by the “Jump to the Future Program” in Syracuse, NY but the Richmond model carefully incorporates the city’s three-century-long tradition of political infighting, economic short-sightedness, and just not really trying hard enough. Speaking on condition of anonymity a city official commented, “We could’ve really pushed ourselves here, but let’s face it, that’s a lot of work and a bunch of our friends are at the River this afternoon so we’re just going to close out early.”
A particularly progressive section of the program focuses on community transformation. The bold new approach will increase funding and resources to improve urban planning going forward. “After the lightning-paced development of Scott’s Addition we realized a more pragmatic approach would be to make a plan ahead of time so that builders and construction companies aren’t over-developing without regard for amenities.” Scott’s Addition has developed rapidly in the past five years, though much of that is housing and breweries, leaving a discernible void in grocery, retail, and green spaces.
To counteract the progressive urban planning strategy, another arm of the initiative will be dedicated to removing statues, trees, and parks to create more room for parking decks. “I speak for the citizens of this great town when I say cars always take priority here,” said Councilwoman Maureen Danvers. “This is a city where all vehicles can find a home.”
The program also includes a provision to convert former Dominion Power coal ash dumpsites into organic farms. “Solving food deserts is a big priority, but we want to ease our community into organic food with slightly toxic food first,” added Danvers. “Plus Dominion cut us a great deal on those hazardous waste sites in return for some small tax breaks, not to worry.”
The transportation section calls for further investment in buses, bus stops, and route expansions but only to to irrelevant locations. “We’re working hard to ensure those transit additions won’t go anywhere important,” commented Transportation Commissioner Ted Mason, “Those extra buses will cost plenty, but they won’t go anywhere you’re trying to go. A real win for the ‘2 Step, 1 Step’ program.”
Dr. Jack Wilson, an economics professor at University of Richmond consulted on the “2 Step, 1 Step” planning process. He predicts the program will ensure that Richmond will still be “kinda handling” the persistent problems other cities have already solved 50, if not 100, years from now. “The numbers look promising. Schools will definitely still be under-funded. Crime will still be strangely high for our population. And housing? Just as crappy as the roads, although the leaf removal operations will be spot on. You look at places like Nashville and Minneapolis and tell me they’re not jealous.”
With the Two Step Forward, One Step Back initiative, the city hopes that by 2067 Richmond will still fail to attract the kind of talent that drives past on its way to job interviews in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. “This is a program that lets Richmond do what it does best—aim high and then shoot itself in the foot. And the best part? Plenty of unpaid internships.”