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Everything posted by mlsimons

  1. First 3 days are free... I already got my tickets to see the Tides August 20th against the Durham Bulls!
  2. Neat idea...but it is however not possible to "zone" for a business to be locally owned and/or operated. There is a legal issue here that creates an "exclusionary" environment. Achieving this in Virginia would first require "enabling legislation" from the General Assembly in Richmond because Virginia is a Dillon Rule state which requires localities to request permission via enabling legislation in order to anything which is not specifically spelled out in state code. The city may be able to lure in local businesses through economic gardening programs and special tax incentives/abatement programs aimed at business which have owners who choose to live in the same city as the business (notice I said "owners" and not "general managers"). This would target local business but not excluse national franchises which still hosted chains which were individually owned. Economic development programs could also target women and minority owned business ventures through special financing packages and grants. But quite simply, it is not possible in Virginia to zone business/properties for locally owned ventures solely.
  3. http://www.insidebiz.com/news/two-new-stores-will-help-fill-vacuum "With the closing of The Market at Harbor Heights, many downtown Norfolk residents will find themselves hopping into their cars to get many of their groceries - but they will still be able to walk to get some essentials, a cup of coffee, a sandwich or a beer. A new, small grocery is slated to open on Feb. 1 at the corner of Bute and Botetourt streets in the Freemason Historic District. The Shady Grove Marketplace will sell household items, as well as food, such as Boar's Head deli meats, and beer and wine."- insidebiz.com
  4. If Virginia Beach doesn't pursue light rail when the EIS comes out, I'm moving to a real city (and I don't mean Norfolk). I've waited too long for VB to stop acting suburban, and I've got the credentials now to land me a job somewhere away from this suburban republican cul-de-sac! Brain Drain is real.
  5. I'm sorry but being out of the country I really could use some new pics to help describe the situation that is occurring with these "bus shelters"
  6. I hate tolls as much as the next guys, but... Does anyone else see this possible reality as a way of encouraging localism: more people living closer to where they actually work? It seems like all these tolls will curb the 21st century tendency to sprawl and keep more residents living in higher densities. On the flip side, these tolls will create an economic drain on our region, with millions each year going into private hands mostly like overseas. This is not sustainable. Which will have the greater effect on our economy; the pro's of localism or the con's of a severe economic leak?
  7. http://hamptonroads.com/2010/10/vdot-accepts-proposal-expand-hrbt Hampton Roads Crossings' concept would widen the HRBT from two lanes to four in each direction and improve the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel and the James River Bridge for $3.5 billion to $4.5 billion. The proposal would be funded by tolls - $4 to $6 on all three crossings. A source close to the project said the toll range is a worst-case scenario.
  8. Sorry I haven't responded due to being out of the country...but I had to comment... Light Rail is absolutely the most-racially charged issue since the City of Virginia Beach was created out of P.A. County (which could have possibly been a more racist political decision...i.e. Norfolk annexation & the water wars). I have literally heard family member say, "Light rail is going to bring all the blacks into Town Center...you won't be able to even go there for a meal." Additionally, I've honestly heard, "Blacks will get on light rail and rob tourist at the beach and then ride back to Nawfolk." I know this cause I've heard it for years now in my very home. This is not made up or exaggerated, this is a middle class white family in a safe white neighborhood in VB. I feel glad if you've never been exposed to blatant racism. But I know first hand that its definitely on the minds of the babybomming, who's parents-had-moved-out-of-Norfolk, white-flight, republican-for-life voters which makes up a substantial base of the VB political machine. I've chosen to break away from this toxic ideology, getting my master's in urban planning...and hoping to reverse a lot of the wrongs which racially-charged voters have caused.
  9. I'm looking forward to riding the Tide from EVMS to Government Center (City Hall)! I will be riding everyday!
  10. I think the problem is that it was conceived about five years ahead of its time (and the market crash didn't help). But with LRT coming, the demand in convention center space downtown should boom! Plus downtown will become more of a destination for hotel guest as well. The market just isn't there yet as of today...
  11. So if the EIS doesn't come back positive for the two LRT spurs maybe we can do this instead... Wuppertal Schwebebahn
  12. Ok, you asked for it: http://www.amtrak.co...074_FY09_Riders Amtrak's Acela Express Service is in fact one of several aspects of Amtrak which are profitable, and I've backed up with evidence. The Acela Express earned $409,251,483 from ticket sales last fiscal year. Here's another fun report about some reasons why Acela service has been becoming more popular. http://www.wired.com...ould-people-av/
  13. Currently riding the Acela Express train from D.C. to Boston. I can't help but be amazed at how convenient and 21st century this experience is...and yet most Americans don't even know this travel option exist in America. I put this post under the Norfolk Light Rail forum because I can't wait for High Speed Rail to one day be connecting in with Hampton Roads at Harbor park. This mode of travel is seriously the future. Gotta go, we're pullin into Baltimore!
  14. I paid $12 today to park downtown today for the APA conference. If light rail was running I would only have paid $1.50 for my ticket...Do I have any other options for all day parking downtown?????
  15. Well my parents haven't even been downtown at all since the 1980s...seriously. So I continue to hear the rhetoric of how decrepit and dangerous downtown still is! They are bamboozled as to why I would want to be a city planner in Norfolk rather than VB. Some folks will never change!
  16. This is seriously such a sick plan. And I love how ODU constantly has money to complete their projects. The Village is a success, so hopefully the District will just tie in and bring much more density and safety to the Highland Park/Kensington Neighborhoods.
  17. I seriously can't get into this or I'll have a privatization relapse of my revelations last year in uncovering the truth behind the midtown tunnel debacle
  18. I completely agree with this idea, rather than the military hwy or I-64 route. This is because light rail is more than just transportation but also a tool for revitalization. The pieces are there for church st/granby: density, history, a direct route, wards corner and a central connector directly through the city. In addition the central connector provides an environmental justice to the demographics of Norfolk which are fairly distributed down the Church St/Granby St corridor. Furthermore, I can't say I agree with the idea that Norfolk's focus for any light rail spur going to NOB should be to provide a commute for folks living in VB. Although I agree that their support and ridership would be helpful, I'm convinced that this understanding is short-sighted. If you go to Boston and ride one of the 4 spurs of the Green line (B,C D & E) these will take you from downtown to the mostly residential, highly dense outer-lying areas of Boston (Alston-Brighton, Brookline, Longwood, Jamaica Plains, etc). Although this is seen as a commuter shed, because it would take at least 30 min to arrive downtown from the outermost termini...and due to the density, it would take 15-20 min to arrive downtown by car. Its important to note the even the outermost termini are no further from their downtown that NOB is from our downtown (approx 10 miles or less). Realistically is someone was to take light rail from VB to NOB, regardless of the route, it would roughly take at least 45 min. Light rail is not made for speed, its made for density. The reason why we pursue light rail expansion into VB is b/c this region is polycentric with many nodes of development. It only makes sense to connect these nodes for travel within...not necessarily to commute from one end to the other. Honestly I feel that if Norfolk was to connect a spur to NOB that the transient military (fickle-minded with their living arrangements) would move to an apt along the line where they could leave their cars parked at home. This would cause a migration of military off Holland rd, among other popular military housing hot spots, and create new military housing hot spots in Norfolk. Nothing happens over night, but this is my prediction.
  19. http://www.tidewaternews.com/news/2010/apr/17/mcdonnell-looks-jump-start-toll-road/ Can we talk about this? Our beloved governor, who is from Va Beach...Said making hwy 460 into a four lane divided hwy is "the most important project in the Hampton Roads region" First of all...the road is already built, has been for decades. And folks can cruise at about 60mph all day with absolutely no traffic congestion. Why are we deciding to privatize out roads that currently exist and were paid for by taxpayers? Ok, so the argument is that a private offshore firm is willing to finance upgrades which will turn the road into an interstate where folks can go 10 mph faster than before (and pay tolls to companies overseas). But it will still be the second fastest way to get to Richmond or up north or out west, unless you happen to live in Suffolk or Deep Creek exclusively. How is this the most important project in the Hampton Roads regions? Even if we had a major hurricane we would all get backed up at the Downtown Tunnel, Midtown Tunnel, High Rise bridge, or HRBT...so how would this help us since we still need to get through bottle necks just to get to 460?
  20. Yellow Fever is the reason we fell behind while the others soared ahead...1855 "Citizens fled both cities in panic. At Old Point, they were turned away by soldiers with bayonets. Other cities enforced quarantine or imposed fines. But some doors remained open, notably those in Richmond, Mathews County and Fredericksburg, and on the Eastern Shore. Governor-elect Henry Wise took refugees into his own home and set up tents on the lawn for the overflow...In all, there were an estimated 1,000 deaths in Portsmouth and 2,000 in Norfolk, about a third of those who did not flee."- Norfolkhistorical.org
  21. This is really good news for the local economy! This provides "export" (basic) employment with a high multiplier effect, with a high propensity for a local industry clusters to emerge, thus creating higher economies of agglomeration which create cost savings for the lab (due to backwards & forward linkages) and a higher economic spillover effect for the region. Also these wages pay very high and help reduce the "brain drain" for any local scientists in this field, as well as promote more research related academic ventures among our local institutions of higher education. This also creates wage-competition for related academics who have the good fortune of choosing to either work at the lab or with a nearby university. Lastly ventures like these could possibly be linked with workforce development programs (which have shown to be successful for pharmaceutical-related research industries in Boston). This venture also further diversifies the economic base and gives temporary stimulus to the local contractors, builders and local folks associated with soft-costs. I only mentioning all of this because we often act like we need all of these activities in our area and maybe are sometimes unaware of their very existence.
  22. haha...does anyone on this forum actually say "Nawfick" or "Naughfuk?" Every since I've been in Richmond, everyone thinks I'm freakin weird for sayin it that way... I just say that how my parents said it.
  23. It'd be really cool to have a 7-11 downtown!
  24. I agree that Va Beach is not an "inner city." But Va Beach is not a bedroom community either. Va Beach does not look and feel like a traditional suburb at all (save maybe the Pungo/courthouse portion). Va Beach has jobs, has tourists, has wealthy waterfront/golf course communities, has projects and ethnic communities/enclaves, has the tallest building in Virginia, and will soon have light rail transit. Va Beach is no more a suburb than Brookline, Mass is in Boston. You could make the same counterpoints about both places. But they in fact function as cities do. I have high expectations about the Hampton Roads metro and high expectations for this forum in the post-recession decade to come. I would like to continue to think that urbanplanet is consistent in forecasting economic changes before they occur locally. This is partly because the folks here appear to be rather forward-thinking and yes, critical of ideas and plans for the future. Either I'm getting to the point in my life, or the economy is getting to a certain point in the cycle, where my development-minded friends/family are choosing to ask me directly about the big changes which they can no longer deny or oppose. I grew up surrounded by the good ole boy mentality and that developers knew what's best for P.A. and Norfolk county, not the government. I'm not convinced its one way or the other...but I do agree that huge changes are right round the bend, and light rail is a huge part of it for both Norfolk and Va Beach.
  25. Here's some data provided by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy which outlines the average home values within metro regions (values based on land, structure and both combined). The Norfolk region is higher than many regions such as Charlotte and Atlanta. No data provided for Richmond, and Yes D.C. values are much higher than us (as should be expected). http://www.lincolninst.edu/subcenters/land-values/data/2009-07-DAVIS-PALUMBO.DATA.XLS
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