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Here's a Virginian-Pilot article anouncing Micheal Townes has been named the American Public Transit Association (APTA) chairman. Respectively, Norfolk City Councilman W. Randy Wright will head the APTA Transit Board Members Committee. It could have some very promising implications for transportation in Hampton Roads. I posted this in the Off-Topic thread as well, because it could pertain to both.

HRT president named chairman of national transit group

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Amtrak will add a 3rd Norfolk to DC train sometime this year. https://www.pilotonline.com/news/transportation/vp-nw-passenger-rail-hampton-roads-buttigieg-northam-20210331-zdpqhmjqzfe5rcioi3brqor

Once it's 4 lanes, then people will really see why a third crossing is needed

They focus too much on bus service. There is and always will be a stigma on using the city bus. Enough of the light rail studies and get it done already. 

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Just like now, you had detractors from outside of Norfolk railing against of things, a mall; even from outside of Virginia. That's the part that really perplexed me more than anything else. Bottom line, people's view of urban life and development needs to be updated and attitudes need to modernize, instead of resorting to tantrums everytime something has the potential to transform our comfort-cul de sac from mediocracy to something that stands out.
For the life of me, I simply don't understand the prevailing mindset among many, especially from VB, who want so desperately for Norfolk and Portsmouth to remain the dumping grounds of the region. It seems as though many VB residents draw their civic pride from just being better than Norfolk and Portsmouth, instead of reaching for a higher goal -- be better than Raleigh or Austin, even. Talk to a New Yorker and they will tell you there is no better city in the world (a debatable topic, but one they make confidently!). Based on many of the repeated comments to the VP's stories, the VB (and to some extent, Chesapeake and Suffolk as well) position is, "Well, at least we aren't Norfolk or Portsmouth."

I know the history of how PA County was annexed to create VB, and I know the proximate cause. It would seem that it is time to get past it. We might have been independant in the past -- today, all of the communities of HR are interdependant. Unfortunatly, many attitudes here are locked in the past.

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For the life of me, I simply don't understand the prevailing mindset among many, especially from VB, who want so desperately for Norfolk and Portsmouth to remain the dumping grounds of the region. It seems as though many VB residents draw their civic pride from just being better than Norfolk and Portsmouth, instead of reaching for a higher goal -- be better than Raleigh or Austin, even. Talk to a New Yorker and they will tell you there is no better city in the world (a debatable topic, but one they make confidently!). Based on many of the repeated comments to the VP's stories, the VB (and to some extent, Chesapeake and Suffolk as well) position is, "Well, at least we aren't Norfolk or Portsmouth."

I know the history of how PA County was annexed to create VB, and I know the proximate cause. It would seem that it is time to get past it. We might have been independant in the past -- today, all of the communities of HR are interdependant. Unfortunatly, many attitudes here are locked in the past.

Suburban Yuppies....Yet they take in the atmosphere and cultrue of DT Norfolk. They just want it their way in my opinion.

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Has anyone read this blog on VA-Pilot yet? It's kind of funny in it's sarcasm. It pretty much expresses the same sentiment most of us on urbanplanet have. Here's a link incase you want to comment: Light rail skeptics, listen u

SO THE WRITER OF SATURDAY'S LETTER about light rail believes it can't succeed because people in this day and age won't walk a few blocks to a station in return for a break from stop-and-go traffic.

Just like when others said MacArthur Center would be a flop; that no one could be enticed to come to Granby Street at night; no one would want to live in a downtown Norfolk apartment; and that the Tides' ballpark would be better off built in the suburbs. Yes, let's continue to invest in the accoutrements of "personal transportation." The automobile

Edited by levarforever
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The next light rail expansion...what will it be? Any guesses? I know it's too early to speculate, but I guess I'm just curious.

It will likely extend the start line east and west; there will not be any different lines yet. It will likely extend into Virginia Beach at least to Pembroke and west/north to the Naval Station. If for some reason though Virginia Beach doesn't get on board, then it would probably include a new line up to Little Creek Amphib Base.

It will be a while until we see lines connecting to Portsmouth and Chesapeake, and even longer until they extend to Hampton and Newport News. I would be shocked if it ever went as far as Suffolk.

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It will likely extend the start line east and west; there will not be any different lines yet. It will likely extend into Virginia Beach at least to Pembroke and west/north to the Naval Station. If for some reason though Virginia Beach doesn't get on board, then it would probably include a new line up to Little Creek Amphib Base.

It will be a while until we see lines connecting to Portsmouth and Chesapeake, and even longer until they extend to Hampton and Newport News. I would be shocked if it ever went as far as Suffolk.

I see a connection to portsmouth, Hampton and Newport news more important than the extention to the oceanfront and navel base. They are definitely doable and obvious, but I see them only as a quick way to get people converting. The true benefit will be seen when it crosses the water... Once it crosses the water this region will jump forward into the future.

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The next light rail expansion...what will it be? Any guesses? I know it's too early to speculate, but I guess I'm just curious.

1. EVMS to Navy base via ODU.

2. Virginia Beach is putting along, and most likely will try to avoid a decision before the November, 2008 election. (I'd love to see Council act at their Retreat this November 3-4.)

3. If Portsmouth can get rail included in Midtown Tunnel planning, it will start planning it's route.

Anyone want to take a shot at the Peninsula? :unsure:

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Henry Ryto, just curious: What do you think are the odds of these options happening and what do you think about the time-frame? I'm especially curious about your #3. Am I remembering correctly that you are personally involved with the planning at HRT?

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Henry Ryto, just curious: What do you think are the odds of these options happening and what do you think about the time-frame? I'm especially curious about your #3. Am I remembering correctly that you are personally involved with the planning at HRT?

No, as my signature indicates, I sit on HRT's User Citizen Advisory Committee (UCAC). I'm not a route planner.

Odds:

1. Norfolk - it's common sense, but will common sense prevail in government?

2. Virginia Beach - if Will Sessoms and the incumbents win in November, 2008, light rail Newtown Road - Dome site will defintely be studied.

3. Portsmouth - their City Manager is already on record about route planning.

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1. EVMS to Navy base via ODU.

That is the wrong solution, for three reasons:

1. There is nothing to that route alignment that can't be accomplished by bus service, connecting to the Medical Center LR stop (which has bus bays in the plan). The traffic generator there is the NS -- and LR passengers would have to switch to bus to get to their on base destination anyway. And, based on current SOV utilization rates, I'm not sure there would be much ridership anyway.

2. No possiblity for dedicated LR ROW on that route -- as a consequence, you have nothing more than a street car. Which gets back to #1.

3. That alignment isn't in the HRT master plan, for a good reason. That plan calls for LR up the 64 HOV lanes. Dedicated ROW, and much closer to the origination and destination of most NS traffic. They don't start in downtown Norfolk -- they start at VB. There isn't an attraction to ride at street level, all the way from Pembroke to the NS. The HOV lanes route might get the NS population out of their SOVs. Street level never will.

As far as the peninsula, nothing will happen until the Third Crossing gets funded. The peninsula doesn't have the generators to make LR work -- until you provide a way for commuters to get across the water. 2017 at the earliest. By then, LR will run from the oceanfront to NNSY via the Midtown --- and possibly up the HOV lanes to the NS.

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That is the wrong solution, for three reasons:

1. There is nothing to that route alignment that can't be accomplished by bus service, connecting to the Medical Center LR stop (which has bus bays in the plan). The traffic generator there is the NS -- and LR passengers would have to switch to bus to get to their on base destination anyway. And, based on current SOV utilization rates, I'm not sure there would be much ridership anyway.

2. No possiblity for dedicated LR ROW on that route -- as a consequence, you have nothing more than a street car. Which gets back to #1.

3. That alignment isn't in the HRT master plan, for a good reason. That plan calls for LR up the 64 HOV lanes. Dedicated ROW, and much closer to the origination and destination of most NS traffic. They don't start in downtown Norfolk -- they start at VB. There isn't an attraction to ride at street level, all the way from Pembroke to the NS. The HOV lanes route might get the NS population out of their SOVs. Street level never will.

As far as the peninsula, nothing will happen until the Third Crossing gets funded. The peninsula doesn't have the generators to make LR work -- until you provide a way for commuters to get across the water. 2017 at the earliest. By then, LR will run from the oceanfront to NNSY via the Midtown --- and possibly up the HOV lanes to the NS.

Uh...Paul Fraim mentioned such a routing in his remarks at the FFGA SIgning Ceremony. ;)

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Yeah the routes were actually mentioned even during the waiting period in an article from Port Folio title "On Track". More interesting, the article mentioned that the next plans to extend the line are already moving forward with the next phase extending from the Medical Center to ODU and at the other end to extend to the airport and Naval Base by mostly being parallel with I-64. Quite honestly, the ODU extension will be huge for LR in my opinion. With such a large student population that lives in the dorms and surrounding apartments, LR I think will be a huge assest for the university and its large out-of-state and exchange student population to at least expand their access of Norfolk. Additionally, the article mentions that should and hopefully the region follows Norfolk, LR would succeed regionally if Downtown Norfolk, Town Center Va Beach and either Downtown NN or Osyter Point areas anchor the system. Time will tell I guess if and how that will unfold.

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saw a special on norfolk light rail on channel 48, nnn. it was really cool. one of the nuggets that i walked away with, and did not previously know, was that apparently light rail brings in a significant amount of private investment - a 3:1 ratio. So, if it ends up costing 200 million to pull this thing off, then companies will invest 600 million in the area. that is, it isn't just a means of transportation, but is actually an economic engine. that, to me, is almost as important as the pragmatics of transportation.

has anyone else heard this 3:1 figure? does it seem accurate?

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I saw that another region projected a cost similar to ours, as their system was similar in size. When done, cost overruns put it at $325 mil+ . Yowsers!

That seems a bit far fetched. How much development did the bus stops drive? What time period was the light rail completed? For example, if someone else's light rail was completed right before the real estate mania took off, then it might be easy to say the light rail drove the expansion, when really other factors drove it.

Who can tell.

HRT isn't self sustaining .... I don't think blight rail will be either?

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saw a special on norfolk light rail on channel 48, nnn. it was really cool. one of the nuggets that i walked away with, and did not previously know, was that apparently light rail brings in a significant amount of private investment - a 3:1 ratio. So, if it ends up costing 200 million to pull this thing off, then companies will invest 600 million in the area. that is, it isn't just a means of transportation, but is actually an economic engine. that, to me, is almost as important as the pragmatics of transportation.

has anyone else heard this 3:1 figure? does it seem accurate?

If that is true, I can not see why someone doesn't have the vision to see the potential of the Macarthur stop (Kirn Stop)...

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has anyone else heard this 3:1 figure? does it seem accurate?

That economic number is like the economic development numbers that professional sports teams use when they try to get public money for new stadiums...

Edited by Glassoul
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I saw that another region projected a cost similar to ours, as their system was similar in size. When done, cost overruns put it at $325 mil+ . Yowsers!

That seems a bit far fetched. How much development did the bus stops drive? What time period was the light rail completed? For example, if someone else's light rail was completed right before the real estate mania took off, then it might be easy to say the light rail drove the expansion, when really other factors drove it.

Who can tell.

HRT isn't self sustaining .... I don't think blight rail will be either?

I don't think any major regional mass transport company is self sustaining. And that's part of the problem. Locals have been sold on this $250M number. As you point out, none of these initial construction costs ever comes close to its proposed budget (see Charlotte) and Norfolk will be the one left to pick up the tab. HRT (and longtime supporters like The Pilot) have never been truthful about the true costs. The long-term operational costs (electricity, payroll, maintenance, etc.) will probably double or triple the total costs over 30 years.

As for the ridership numbers they're proposing? Pie in the sky. They say at a minimum 6k riders a day, I bet its 2/3 of that MINIMUM number. Sure it'll be a novelty at first for some people, but that will quickly wear-off. You will not get people standing in 85-100 degree heat and humidity for 10-15 mins on a daily basis 6 months out of the year to ride something that covers such a limited area; and having to pay something approaching $3 a round trip to boot.

Those numbers are very accurate. Look at any numbers for other light-rail projects in the country and that is just the average ratio. Also, it was interesting in that TV short to see that a Fort Norfolk light-rail stop will be added in the future.

Your statement doesn't contradict my point, the size of the pie doesn't change, they're simply redistributing the pieces.

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