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Richmond Region Transportation


wrldcoupe4

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  • 5 weeks later...

It is unbelievable to me that modern planning bodies - even those federally-mandated in order to properly plan out and utilize federal funding for RVA metro/Central Virginia transportation needs - continue to plan in such a way that keeps RVA literally shackled to automobiles. How is it that this board can parse out 84% of a $5.5 billion transportation budget strictly for highway projects in and around the RVA metro? This is especially frustrating when we see NIMBY pushback in the city against upzoning (in this case, Carver/Newtowne/Allison) that would go a LONG way to increasing population density, such to make a more beefed up public transportation system much more viable. It's an unfortunate chicken-and-egg cycle that's gotten stuck in one of those old "basic" (computer programming language) "infinite go-loops" ... feds provide a big bucket of funding ... regional transportation board uses most of it for highways and seriously underfunds public transportation because there isn't significant population density to make public transport workable... density is kept low because citizens don't want bigger buildings or more density... so RVA remains car-centric... so when more funding becomes available it goes -- OF COURSE!!!! -- to more highway projects.

This cycles MUST be broken!

https://richmond.com/news/local/more-than-80-of-a-20-year-richmond-region-transportation-plan-is-dedicated-for-highway/article_df8e7f56-9ff0-5469-bde4-4f177fd56092.html#tracking-source=home-top-story-1

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1 hour ago, I miss RVA said:

It is unbelievable to me that modern planning bodies - even those federally-mandated in order to properly plan out and utilize federal funding for RVA metro/Central Virginia transportation needs - continue to plan in such a way that keeps RVA literally shackled to automobiles. How is it that this board can parse out 84% of a $5.5 billion transportation budget strictly for highway projects in and around the RVA metro? This is especially frustrating when we see NIMBY pushback in the city against upzoning (in this case, Carver/Newtowne/Allison) that would go a LONG way to increasing population density, such to make a more beefed up public transportation system much more viable. It's an unfortunate chicken-and-egg cycle that's gotten stuck in one of those old "basic" (computer programming language) "infinite go-loops" ... feds provide a big bucket of funding ... regional transportation board uses most of it for highways and seriously underfunds public transportation because there isn't significant population density to make public transport workable... density is kept low because citizens don't want bigger buildings or more density... so RVA remains car-centric... so when more funding becomes available it goes -- OF COURSE!!!! -- to more highway projects.

This cycles MUST be broken!

https://richmond.com/news/local/more-than-80-of-a-20-year-richmond-region-transportation-plan-is-dedicated-for-highway/article_df8e7f56-9ff0-5469-bde4-4f177fd56092.html#tracking-source=home-top-story-1

This isn’t just a Richmond area trend. Since streetcar lines were torn up in the mid 20th century and the federal government subsidized car centric development, almost all transportation funding has gone to highways in pretty much every municipality across the country with a few exceptions. While we can create a very dense neighborhood even with 6 and 12 story buildings (something similar to European cities), it is disappointing that we can’t get 12 stories along our busiest transportation corridor due to NIMBYs who would only get positive effects from the rezoning. I think that if the city implements good urban design such as streets that don’t only emphasize cars in this area, while implementing bike and transit infrastructure and minimizing setbacks and packing in units, we could see this area support something like light rail with ease. In terms of the overall region though, doing things like eliminating parking requirements altogether and redeveloping parking lots in suburban areas could do a lot to increase the viability of transit along major corridors such as broad, route 1, midlo turnpike and Hull street. Luckily suburban counties are starting to see that only investing in highways doesn’t work(ie. NOVA) and have become interested in transit oriented development. Hopefully this trend fully catches on and we can decrease the inequity in transportation spending.

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  • 2 months later...
On 9/27/2021 at 11:08 AM, Icetera said:

Amtrak just launched Northeast Regional Route 51 operating during commuting hours from Main Street Station to DC's Union Station and onward to Boston.  This route does not continue on to Williamsburg/Newport News, instead focusing on Richmond.


https://www.wtvr.com/news/local-news/new-amtrak-train-route-51

This is going to be a big thing for people looking to move out of NOVA/DC and to RVA that need to go into the office a few times a week. 

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1 hour ago, wrldcoupe4 said:

It's definitely good, but also want to encourage business investment in our region vs becoming a commuter community of DC.

I was thinking the same thing, Coupe.

So much of the focus & language of this new service launch has been around RVA residents commuting to DC for work. RVA is NOT a DC bedroom community. It is a distinct, separate, MSA that has its own suburbs and its own bedroom/commuter communities. Do they same the same thing about Baltimore (which is significantly closer to DC) as they're saying about RVA? Is Baltimore a DC commuter community? I think not. Why then should RVA be considered such.

Totally agree with you. This new rail service should be a tool to encourage new business investment, recruitment, relocations, etc., to RVA first and foremost.

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A couple of questions: How many trains stop at Main Street Station currently? Do all of the long-distance routes currently stop only at Staples Mill Road and travel via the Belt Line? I read on Wikipedia (not that it's necessarily the most authoritative source) that a new bridge will be built to carry trains over the river along a route that uses Main Street Station.

Where is there good, readable, information about what is being proposed and the proposed timetable for all of this to happen? I'm not as up on this as I should be - and I'm curious about current service to/from/through Main Street Station and what is being planned, particularly as it relates to long-distance and southeast regional service. (Example: is the plan that ultimately all regional service originating in Raleigh and Norfolk/Hampton Roads will be routed to stop at Main Street Station?)

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2 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

A couple of questions: How many trains stop at Main Street Station currently? Do all of the long-distance routes currently stop only at Staples Mill Road and travel via the Belt Line? I read on Wikipedia (not that it's necessarily the most authoritative source) that a new bridge will be built to carry trains over the river along a route that uses Main Street Station.

Where is there good, readable, information about what is being proposed and the proposed timetable for all of this to happen? I'm not as up on this as I should be - and I'm curious about current service to/from/through Main Street Station and what is being planned, particularly as it relates to long-distance and southeast regional service. (Example: is the plan that ultimately all regional service originating in Raleigh and Norfolk/Hampton Roads will be routed to stop at Main Street Station?)

Up until these additional routes, we only had the two round-trips to Newport News via Williamsburg running through RVM.  All others run only RVR.  Everything indicates that it is intended to route all routes via RVM across the S-Line bridge in the future once HSR is completed.  This would require a Western platform addition and I believe a second track (restoring the old one removed) and perhaps a new/rebuilt bridge.

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4 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

A couple of questions: How many trains stop at Main Street Station currently? Do all of the long-distance routes currently stop only at Staples Mill Road and travel via the Belt Line? I read on Wikipedia (not that it's necessarily the most authoritative source) that a new bridge will be built to carry trains over the river along a route that uses Main Street Station.

Where is there good, readable, information about what is being proposed and the proposed timetable for all of this to happen? I'm not as up on this as I should be - and I'm curious about current service to/from/through Main Street Station and what is being planned, particularly as it relates to long-distance and southeast regional service. (Example: is the plan that ultimately all regional service originating in Raleigh and Norfolk/Hampton Roads will be routed to stop at Main Street Station?)

Like Icetera said, we currently have 3 round trips that stop at Richmond Main Street. With the $3 billion infrastructure deal that the state passed, all new regionals that terminate in Richmond will be extended to MSS which would bring the total to around 10 round trips. Currently, none of the long distance, Norfolk regional or southeast HSR trains stop there and there currently is no way that can happen until a new bridge is built for passenger rail across the james river. The price tag for that new bridge is estimated at about $1 billion according to the DC2RVA plan and I don’t believe it’s included in either the state plan or the Amtrak 2035 plan. However, it seems like returning as much rail service to downtown as possible is a state priority so hopefully it won’t be long till the S line is restored and a second bridge is built over the James. Amtrak did run a test train to the western side of MSS a few weeks ago during the night so hopefully they may consider restoring service to the western side of the station.

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6 hours ago, blopp1234 said:

Like Icetera said, we currently have 3 round trips that stop at Richmond Main Street. With the $3 billion infrastructure deal that the state passed, all new regionals that terminate in Richmond will be extended to MSS which would bring the total to around 10 round trips. Currently, none of the long distance, Norfolk regional or southeast HSR trains stop there and there currently is no way that can happen until a new bridge is built for passenger rail across the james river. The price tag for that new bridge is estimated at about $1 billion according to the DC2RVA plan and I don’t believe it’s included in either the state plan or the Amtrak 2035 plan. However, it seems like returning as much rail service to downtown as possible is a state priority so hopefully it won’t be long till the S line is restored and a second bridge is built over the James. Amtrak did run a test train to the western side of MSS a few weeks ago during the night so hopefully they may consider restoring service to the western side of the station.

Good information. Thanks, blopp!

Now, another question: In order for rail service to pass through MSS, where specifically would this new James River rail crossing bridge be built? Has that been worked through or is the state/CSX/Amtrak/Feds etc. - whatever parties are invovled not that far along in the process yet?

You mentioned funding in the Amtrak 2035 plan - what all will be happening over the next 14 years between now and 2035 at MSS? The continued addition of the new DC service? 

Where can I find really good, comprehensive, detailed but reasonably readable information on all of this? I am not at all up on this as much as I'd like to be.

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https://transformingrailva.com
Here is the link to the project page.

https://www.npr.org/local/305/2021/03/31/983044429/virginia-finalizes-3-7-billion-deal-to-acquire-tracks-from-c-s-x

And here is another article that might do a better job of explaining it then I do.

 

Edited by blopp1234
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3 hours ago, blopp1234 said:

https://transformingrailva.com
Here is the link to the project page.

https://www.npr.org/local/305/2021/03/31/983044429/virginia-finalizes-3-7-billion-deal-to-acquire-tracks-from-c-s-x

And here is another article that might do a better job of explaining it then I do.

 

This is great information, blopp. Thanks so much for posting it!

So two questions:

1.) In order to bring long-distance service through Main Street Station - a new bridge across the river needs to be built. Has there been any indication of WHERE that bridge would be located?

2.) Do I understand it correct that the ultimate plan is that ANY train that passes through Staples Mill Road station will ALSO stop at Main Street Station? (once the new bridge is built) -- and -- that the hourly RVA-DC/DC-RVA trains will ORIGINATE and TERMINATE at Main Street Station?

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8 minutes ago, I miss RVA said:

1.) In order to bring long-distance service through Main Street Station - a new bridge across the river needs to be built. Has there been any indication of WHERE that bridge would be located?

On the dc2rva site, they have detailed maps of the track addition and road relocation plans.

https://www.dc2rvarail.com/about/project-maps/

The bridge is in the same location as the existing one.  The maps show it as just double tracking the bridge, but that probably required rebuilding it or building a new one in about the same location as the existing bridge goes through openings in the floodwall on both ends.

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28 minutes ago, blake_p said:

On the dc2rva site, they have detailed maps of the track addition and road relocation plans.

https://www.dc2rvarail.com/about/project-maps/

The bridge is in the same location as the existing one.  The maps show it as just double tracking the bridge, but that probably required rebuilding it or building a new one in about the same location as the existing bridge goes through openings in the floodwall on both ends.

Okay - that makes sense. Thanks SO much for the clarification, blake! Much appreciated.

In looking at their project map, do I take it correctly then that once that new/replacement bridge is in place that the long-distance trains that currently bypass downtown via the Belt Line will instead simply continue south and east to downtown and Main Street Station? I see on the project map where the tracks from the Belt Line ultimately meet up with the main line in Centralia. So is that the plan, ultimately, to take the entire Belt Line routing out of the equation except for the Auto Trains?

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You are correct that the plan is for all trains that pass through Richmond to stop at both RMS and Staples Mill (except auto train), meaning that with a new bridge over the James, then Main Street would have hourly service to DC and points north. This would only improve with the reconstruction of the abandoned S line to Raleigh (which is included in the infrastructure bills in congress and create a 110 mph rail line).  

Edited by blopp1234
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2 minutes ago, blopp1234 said:

You are correct that the plan is for all trains that pass through Richmond to stop at both RMS and Staples Mill, meaning that with a new bridge over the James, then Main Street would have hourly service to DC and points north. This would only improve with the reconstruction of the abandoned S line to Raleigh (which is included in the infrastructure bills in congress and create a 110 mph rail line).  

And I'm guessing the configuration of how trains would serve Main Street Station would be something like this:

West platform - 'regular' north/south long-distance trains that currently are routed via the Belt Line, plus trains to/from Norfolk (to/from DC) and trains to/from Raleigh (to/from DC) - part of the new Southeast Corridor HSR

East platform - trains to/from Newport News/Williamsburg (to/from DC)

Where do/will trains ORIGINATING/TERMINATING at Main Street Station platform? Prior to the early-mid '70s when the station was closed, there were "center" tracks between the current dual-track "external" configuration that spurred off and actually entered the train shed itself. Those were long since torn down and the train shed itself is no longer (without significant reconstruction) configured to accept trains internally. Are there any plans to "restore" some kind of "center" track configuration for trains that begin/end at Main Street Station? It's honestly a shame that the train shed was turned into that failed mall and then used for office space - and now used for whatever its used for instead being used in the way it was originally intended to be used - as an actual train shed!

October 1962.jpg

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22 minutes ago, I miss RVA said:

And I'm guessing the configuration of how trains would serve Main Street Station would be something like this:

West platform - 'regular' north/south long-distance trains that currently are routed via the Belt Line, plus trains to/from Norfolk (to/from DC) and trains to/from Raleigh (to/from DC) - part of the new Southeast Corridor HSR

East platform - trains to/from Newport News/Williamsburg (to/from DC)

Where do/will trains ORIGINATING/TERMINATING at Main Street Station platform? Prior to the early-mid '70s when the station was closed, there were "center" tracks between the current dual-track "external" configuration that spurred off and actually entered the train shed itself. Those were long since torn down and the train shed itself is no longer (without significant reconstruction) configured to accept trains internally. Are there any plans to "restore" some kind of "center" track configuration for trains that begin/end at Main Street Station? It's honestly a shame that the train shed was turned into that failed mall and then used for office space - and now used for whatever its used for instead being used in the way it was originally intended to be used - as an actual train shed!

October 1962.jpg

I would bet on the Western side since a new track would be enabled exclusively for passenger service rather than using the shared single track on the Eastern platform.  I imagine they would either need to add a new switch before the approach viaduct begins or integrate into the existing switch.

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3 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

And I'm guessing the configuration of how trains would serve Main Street Station would be something like this:

West platform - 'regular' north/south long-distance trains that currently are routed via the Belt Line, plus trains to/from Norfolk (to/from DC) and trains to/from Raleigh (to/from DC) - part of the new Southeast Corridor HSR

East platform - trains to/from Newport News/Williamsburg (to/from DC)

Where do/will trains ORIGINATING/TERMINATING at Main Street Station platform? Prior to the early-mid '70s when the station was closed, there were "center" tracks between the current dual-track "external" configuration that spurred off and actually entered the train shed itself. Those were long since torn down and the train shed itself is no longer (without significant reconstruction) configured to accept trains internally. Are there any plans to "restore" some kind of "center" track configuration for trains that begin/end at Main Street Station? It's honestly a shame that the train shed was turned into that failed mall and then used for office space - and now used for whatever its used for instead being used in the way it was originally intended to be used - as an actual train shed!

October 1962.jpg

My bets are on the eastern side once long distance and southeast service is returned to MSS.

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  • 3 weeks later...
35 minutes ago, Shakman said:

Very nice! 

DASH is in Alexandria, VA.  Is GRTC now advertising the transit system of another city or did the driver get lost?

It is great that they could coordinate with another Virginia locality in order to test.  I recall there were articulated buses in a GRTC budget that came out early last year.  I am glad to see that it does not appear to have fallen through the cracks.

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