Bicycling as 2015 "person of the year" in Richmond
Richmond has been very active in using sports and sporting events as a way to increase the city's visibility and brand awareness and as an economic development augur.
-- Sports Backers | Powering an Active RVA
Both Richmond Magazine ("Richmonder of the Year: Cycling | We are living in the year of the bicycle") and the Richmond Times-Dispatch ("Richmond 2015 team named Richmond Times-Dispatch 2015 Person of the Year") chose bicycling as "person of the year" because of the success of the UCI Road Bicycle Championships, an international bike racing event, in Richmond in September.
While it wasn't the financial boon that was touted, although the final economic impact study won't be finished until sometime this month, bicycling as a transportation mode was significantly advanced because of the UCI event and the various initiatives undertaken in parallel, including the creation of bike lanes, contracting for bike sharing (not pulled off in advance of the event), and the completion of the Virginia Capital Trail, shared use path between Williamsburg and Richmond, a length of 55 miles.
(Note that the VCT took 10 years to complete and is 55 miles long. The Metropolitan Branch Trail in DC will take more than 30 years to complete, from the time it was first proposed in the late 1980s--it will be about 10 miles long when completed.)
Many groups, including the RTD, took special steps--the RTD increased their coverage of biking and sent a reporter to the site of the 2014 UCI Championships to get a better sense for how the event worked and the implications for Richmond; many cultural sites did special exhibits, etc.
-- "Richmond embraces the Worlds"
-- "Region, beyond the bike races, should think big on every-day stuff"
-- "Llovio: The world championships are over; now what?"
-- "Organizers estimate 645,000 spectators along course for UCI Road World Championships"
-- "Thousands turn out to see the start of men's "