Thursday, July 31, 2014

Don't Tread on Property Owned by the RMTA

Regarding the A Ring Around the Diamond event on Aug. 3 at the Diamond, I have received a message that pertains to what property should be avoided. Via email Brian Johnson, Toll Road Manager for the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority, has advised me that “protesting activities are not allowed on RMTA (the name changed to include the word Transportation on July 1st) property.” Furthermore, parking lots controlled by the RMTA surrounding the Diamond will be closed on Sunday.

The text of the email is below: 
Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority
July 30, 2014

Dear Mr. Rea,

It has come to the RMTA’s attention that this Sunday, August 3, your group plans to host an event in the vicinity of the Diamond ballpark. Your stated plan is to use the public sidewalks to create a human ring around the Diamond. We greatly appreciate your plan to use public sidewalks. Please be aware that public sidewalks are those which border the Boulevard, Robin Hood Road, Hermitage Road, and Avenue of Champions. All other sidewalks in the area are located on property that belongs to either the RMTA or other entities. 
Attached to this email is an aerial view of the RMTA’s property, outlined in red, which includes the Diamond and associated parking. Please refer to this exhibit while positioning your participants along the public sidewalks. Please be aware that all RMTA parking lots surrounding the Diamond will be closed on August 3. 
If your current plan involves sidewalks inside the red lines shown on the exhibit, please modify your plans. To be clear, protesting activities are not allowed on any RMTA property, so it is imperative that your activities are limited to the sidewalks outside of the area outlined in red on the attached aerial view. 

Please don’t hesitate to call me (804-523-3381) should you have any questions.

Brian E. Johnson
Johnson sent copies of the email to:
  • Angela Gray, General Manager, RMTA
  • Eric Ballou, Esq., Secretary, Board of Directors, RMTA 
  • Capt. John A. O’Kleski, 4th Precinct, Richmond Police Department
The idea that parking lots owned by the RMTA (until the end of the year, when the city will own them) are off limits is interesting. Now that the counties have equal representation on the board, as of July 1, I wonder how much their representatives really don't want anybody walking through those empty lots to show support for keeping baseball on the Boulevard.

Furthermore, I wonder how many of the elected leaders in Chesterfield and Henrico, or in Richmond for that matter, really want to come down on the side of trying thwart citizens who plan to peacefully exercise their freedom of speech rights on what amounts to property those citizens own. After all, the plan for this event was to choose a date that would not to disrupt a baseball game.

The map image was provided by the RMTA.

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