jeffconn

Chesapeake Light Rail and Transit

8 posts in this topic


Did you read one of the comments? TIDE : Thugs Instantly Delivered Elsewhere. Please!!

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I took the Tide today with my kids, nieces, and mom from Newtown to DT just for a change of pace to hang out in Norfolk for the afternoon. There we some suits, blue collars, and a couple drunk-off-their-asses at 4 in the afternoon. It was a quiet, clean, and respectful ride though. Even the Suit helping the drunk guy get up after he fell and telling him the correct stop to get off. Lol.

My mom enjoyed the ride, harkening back to growin up with El and subway in Long Island and Manhattan.

I think the light rail extension will be a plus for regional connectivity physically and in spirit.

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Did you read one of the comments? TIDE : Thugs Instantly Delivered Elsewhere. Please!!

 

Ugh, there are many parts of Norfolk that are served by the TIDE that are quite nice. Nicer, frankly, than many of the nicest parts of Va Beach and Chesapeake.  There are plenty of crapholes in those sprawling messes.

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Good Lord, I've been away from this forum for much too long. Sorry to post here with limited new, substantive content, but between this project (totally unexpected for someone living outside the region these last two years), the really strong design of Harbors Edge 2.0, and a lot of clever, sustainable infill projects throughout the region, it's an exciting time to take stock of where Hampton Roads is and will be going in the coming years and decades.

 

(And if it makes anyone feel better, I can't read the comments sections of any papers or news outlets in the Bay Area either, and for pretty much the same reasons. Ignorance defies geographic bounds like nothing else. :thumbsup: )

 

I'm not sure if this link has been shared elsewhere (perhaps in another thread, though I didn't find it while catching up on the projects and updates I've missed in the last year or so working tirelessly at the office this morning), but Greater Greater Washington has a very interesting read about the options for Tide expansions in Norfolk, running through alternative routes and the advantages and pitfalls of a few specific ones, as well as a map I hadn't seen elsewhere (map image link: http://www.gohrt.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/FINAL-NSNTES-Projec1FC4106.pdf )

 

That might just owe to my being so out of the loop lately, but I wanted to add a little to the discussion of the northerly routes toward Naval Station Norfolk -- long a part of this forum's analysis of the Tide's viability, ridership, and ultimate success, given the base's huge concentration of personnel -- as well as to provide an analogue/illustration for the southerly option into Chesapeake.

 

The GGW article merits extensive quotation here:
 

 

If the light rail follows Granby Street, a tightly packed urban commercial street, or Hampton Boulevard, the main street through Old Dominion University, then it will probably capture a lot of local riders, since those are walkable transit-friendly destinations. On the other hand, adding transit lanes would be more disruptive for car drivers on narrow streets than on wider, more suburban highways, since there's less space to go around.

 

Conversely, if the light rail follows the more easterly Military Highway, there will be plenty of space to accommodate trains without disrupting cars, and commuters to the navy base using park-and-rides near the end of the line will have a quick ride from their cars to the base.

 

But that alignment wouldn't serve any strongly walkable neighborhoods; it would even miss downtown Norfolk. It would offer quick rides to one destination and easy construction, but the resulting line would be a glorified parking shuttle to the navy base, not the spine of a transit-oriented community.

 

Maybe after a few decades a Military Road alignment might induce enough transit oriented development that some of its stations could become walkable. Or maybe not. In the meantime, Norfolk's genuinely urban neighborhoods will still need better transit.

(Emphasis mine, in bold)

 

Granby or Hampton would be strong options, given existing density and, for the latter, a large number of car-less students who would gain easier, faster access to downtown Norfolk. More to the point, isn't disrupting the comforts of driving kind of the point of promoting mass transit anyway? That is, to foster ridership and mass transit use, driving should be made less attractive, at least at peak hours. The MUNI Metro system in San Francisco is a good (though, maybe not great) illustration of how peak rush hour commuting and non-peak drivability are not mutually exclusive. (Plus I take it daily, so it's an accessible comparison for me to explore.) From about 7:00 am until 9:00 am, and again from roughly 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, during peak hours, MUNI Metro runs about every 5-7 minutes along the N-Judah line, which stretches from the edge of the Pacific Ocean through the sprawling Sunset District toward downtown San Francisco. At peak hours, Judah (and parallel route Taraval Street, which carries the L-Taraval line) is largely devoid of cars; the middle two lanes are dedicated to MUNI cars, with mini-platforms/railings to demarcate stops, while through-traffic is relegated to the outside lanes. This forces the distribution of driving commuters onto side streets, and traffic in the Sunset District can be pretty heinous at certain times of the day. Outside peak hours, however, when trains run every 10-15 minutes (or every 30 minutes after 9:00pm), though, driving is much less challenging, as cars can move between lanes, and as there are fewer trains with fewer, less frequent stops delaying traffic at lights and stop signs.

 

All of this is to say that the traffic disruption/serving existing density trade-off isn't even such a zero-sum issue anyway -- indeed, a lot of residents in the Sunset District alternate between modes of transit readily, knowing the schedule of transit services/peak hours vs. midday or late evening ease of driving. A similar model could easily apply to the southern stretches of Granby, which is about as wide as Taraval or Judah Streets in San Francisco, and could very easily be applied to the wider Hampton Boulevard a bit further north. There is tremendous potential for these northerly routes to dramatically alter the connectivity and interrelationships among Norfolk's neighborhoods.

To tie this back to the southerly expansion into Chesapeake, the second highlighted section in the original GGW quote raises some questions as Chesapeake considers moving forward with the Tide. There will be many changes to many plans over many years before any of this comes to fruition, but I think the hardest challenge facing Chesapeake will be not just making mass transit appealing and functional in a lower-density environment, but also constraining the existing suburban highway infrastructure of its major roads to make driving significantly less appealing. Ultimately, there's a quote I'll paraphrase (read: slightly beotchize) that has been the primary lens through which I've viewed transit development in recent years: a bus or train that has 100 times the capacity of a single-occupant car should have 100 times more privilege and priority on that same street. That's obviously a tough sell in the Hampton Roads region, but it's a norm that's worth embracing and slowly injecting into the area's conversations on transportation and mobility.

 

Thus, the viability and opportunity presented by the southerly expansion into Chesapeake raises questions that hinge much more on political will and shifting perspectives than most engineering, legal/zoning, or even financial considerations, and I'm curious to see how that will play out over the coming years and decades. Thanks again to all for keeping me connected to everything going on back home -- I'll be around from time to time, and I look forward to hearing more :)

-PK

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