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Norfolk Light Rail and Transit


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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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guys, can we move this racial talk to the off-topic and focus on LRT updates? And can someone grab some pictures this weekend of new lines/construction since January?

As much as we may love to talk about LR and transportation issues in vacuum away from race and class, it just isn't reality. their is a reason Europe is covered with trains and LR and US is not. Its more than just our love for cars. Go to ANY diverse city where public transportation is being debated and you hear the same arguments about race and class. -- believe it or not our mention of these issues are mild compared to some places.

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As much as we may love to talk about LR and transportation issues in vacuum away from race and class, it just isn't reality. their is a reason Europe is covered with trains and LR and US is not. Its more than just our love for cars. Go to ANY diverse city where public transportation is being debated and you hear the same arguments about race and class. -- believe it or not our mention of these issues are mild compared to some places.

I believe it... I remember reading somewhere that the asian area of Atlanta caused some stir when MARTA decided to call it the yellow line for the public transportation

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I don't believe this is true at all. Norfolk has more white people than black people anyway.

I am born and bred in Norfolk and I do believe that statement to be true. And according to the 2006 Census estimate 48.4% of Norfolk is white and 44.1% is black. Almost even. I would suspect those two numbers get even closer after the 2010 Census.

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As much as we may love to talk about LR and transportation issues in vacuum away from race and class, it just isn't reality. their is a reason Europe is covered with trains and LR and US is not. Its more than just our love for cars. Go to ANY diverse city where public transportation is being debated and you hear the same arguments about race and class. -- believe it or not our mention of these issues are mild compared to some places.

Europe is way small and petrol is way expensive.

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Everything seems to be moving great in regards to the LR. Tracks have crossed Boush ST., St. Paul's Blvd.. Everything seems to be complete.. minus the stations from Newtown to Downtown. Tracks have been laid at the MacArthur Station.. The only thing left is to lay track from Granby St. to York St. and connect Monticello's tracks to the MacArthur Station by crossing City Hall Ave.. then the electric poles downtown , stations and thier finishes, testing.. then we can ride! It looks great by Harbor Park, too. Nice wrought iron (sp.) fence.. new sidewalks, new stoplights, etc. Also, the shell for the elevator shaft and staircase at the elevated NSU station is already up. I know it's just the starter line,but I think the trains are going to make Norfolk feel much more like a real city.

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Everything seems to be moving great in regards to the LR. Tracks have crossed Boush ST., St. Paul's Blvd.. Everything seems to be complete.. minus the stations from Newtown to Downtown. Tracks have been laid at the MacArthur Station.. The only thing left is to lay track from Granby St. to York St. and connect Monticello's tracks to the MacArthur Station by crossing City Hall Ave.. then the electric poles downtown , stations and thier finishes, testing.. then we can ride! It looks great by Harbor Park, too. Nice wrought iron (sp.) fence.. new sidewalks, new stoplights, etc. Also, the shell for the elevator shaft and staircase at the elevated NSU station is already up. I know it's just the starter line,but I think the trains are going to make Norfolk feel much more like a real city.

They are currently putting the tracks in in front of our clubhouse (www.757labs.com, Hampton Road's hackerspace) so once that is done along with the work over on Granby near The Monistary and City Hall / Plume, then the track will go all the way through downtown, no?

I've also noticed some poles have gone up in various places, either for signage or for the power lines at intersections.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Can we have some more discussion on the extension to the Naval Station? I really believe that it may be the most important line on the entire transit plan . But how will it connect to the starter line? I don't have any trust in Virginia Beach going through with LRT, so Norfolk may be in it alone for the next decade. Can Norfolk afford to build two LRT lines in one decade? Or would that place an excessive burden on the taxpayers? I'm really excited for the future of our transit system. I think it's awesome how in real cities, the well-to do and middle class ride transit and everywhere you go, you see information on rail and bus service. I was in Tyson's Corner mall.. and I was impressed that they have tv's showing the traffic conditions on the beltway, but it also had times for every departing bus... and connecting rail lines. I thought that was great. I hope one day it will be cool to take transit in HR.. and in 40 years we may have a rail network to the likes of Metrorail.

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Can we have some more discussion on the extension to the Naval Station? But how will it connect to the starter line? I don't have any trust in Virginia Beach going through with LRT, so Norfolk may be in it alone for the next decade. Can Norfolk afford to build two LRT lines in one decade?

In my opinion, an extension to the Naval Station cannot enough ridership without Virginia Beach. There are not enough people in Norfolk who want to go to the naval station. Many Norfolk residents live close enough to the NS that they would never take light rail. You have to collect the people along the light rail line in VB, and then transport them to the naval station.

For this same reason, the extension to the naval station has to go up Military Highway or I-64, not Hampton Boulevard. People from VB do not want to go all the way to downtown Norfolk in order to go to work at the naval station. My apologies to those who are looking for an extension to ODU, but I do not see it happening anytime soon.

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For this same reason, the extension to the naval station has to go up Military Highway or I-64, not Hampton Boulevard. People from VB do not want to go all the way to downtown Norfolk in order to go to work at the naval station. My apologies to those who are looking for an extension to ODU, but I do not see it happening anytime soon.

I agree with you. But maybe we could do a streetcar up Hampton Blvd?

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In my opinion, an extension to the Naval Station cannot enough ridership without Virginia Beach. There are not enough people in Norfolk who want to go to the naval station. Many Norfolk residents live close enough to the NS that they would never take light rail. You have to collect the people along the light rail line in VB, and then transport them to the naval station.

For this same reason, the extension to the naval station has to go up Military Highway or I-64, not Hampton Boulevard. People from VB do not want to go all the way to downtown Norfolk in order to go to work at the naval station. My apologies to those who are looking for an extension to ODU, but I do not see it happening anytime soon.

Those are excellent points! Another reason I want the extension to go to the airport first before the naval station is that ridership would only be high (or even existent at all) on that segment in the morning and evening during rush hour. For the airport, there would more likely be a constant flow of riders using the line to go to the airport and other destinations along the line.

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I agree with you. But maybe we could do a streetcar up Hampton Blvd?

Look back at the graphic I posted two pages ago.

Instead of Hampton Blvd, there should be an extension from SPQ to Ward's Corner via Church St/Granby St. An extension through Ghent to ODU would be feasible along the north side of the Norfolk Southern right-of-way. The ODU station would be on Powhatan, not on Hampton Blvd. There just isn't enough room to accommodate light-rail on Hampton Blvd, and no politician would survive its construction.

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Look back at the graphic I posted two pages ago.

Instead of Hampton Blvd, there should be an extension from SPQ to Ward's Corner via Church St/Granby St. An extension through Ghent to ODU would be feasible along the north side of the Norfolk Southern right-of-way. The ODU station would be on Powhatan, not on Hampton Blvd. There just isn't enough room to accommodate light-rail on Hampton Blvd, and no politician would survive its construction.

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.

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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.

This is the key, and it's going to HAVE to happen for Hampton Roads rail transit system to be successful. & not just military folks.If people that are unsatisfied with thier commute or suburban lifestyle move to apartments/condos that sprout up around transit stations.. then LRT will be great and Hampton Roads will become much more urban. The transit-dependent will also move around transit stations. After the people get there, small businesses will follow. The stations have the potential to become mini-activity centers with people heading to downtown Norfolk, Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia Beach, etc. living there.

I can't wait until 20 years and we start talking about that commuter rail to Williamsburg and Southern Chesapeake.

Edited by varider
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In my opinion, an extension to the Naval Station cannot enough ridership without Virginia Beach. There are not enough people in Norfolk who want to go to the naval station. Many Norfolk residents live close enough to the NS that they would never take light rail. You have to collect the people along the light rail line in VB, and then transport them to the naval station.

For this same reason, the extension to the naval station has to go up Military Highway or I-64, not Hampton Boulevard. People from VB do not want to go all the way to downtown Norfolk in order to go to work at the naval station. My apologies to those who are looking for an extension to ODU, but I do not see it happening anytime soon.

The only positive that I do not think anyone has mentioned about the possible odu extension is the constant use it get from freshman. We are talking about new freshman every year utilizing this system. Especially if the city gives them reason to come DT on any given day. Same thing goes for NSU. Remember, most universities do not allow freshman to have cars, I think this is true for ODU and NSU.

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The only positive that I do not think anyone has mentioned about the possible odu extension is the constant use it get from freshman. We are talking about new freshman every year utilizing this system. Especially if the city gives them reason to come DT on any given day. Same thing goes for NSU. Remember, most universities do not allow freshman to have cars, I think this is true for ODU and NSU.

I'm sure that in the future, students would take the train to other places such as the Oceanfront, TC, and Williamsburg. The path to ODU may be too dense and compact for LRT.. but wouldn't a single tracked streetcar work? I wish we could build LRT underground from DT to ODU.

Edited by varider
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I'm sure that in the future, students would take the train to other places such as the Oceanfront, TC, and Williamsburg. The path to ODU may be too dense and compact for LRT.. but wouldn't a single tracked streetcar work? I wish we could build LRT underground from DT to ODU.

Or you can build a single line each way on two parallel streets......one block is not too far, you could run a north bound line on Colley Avenue to 41st street, then meet up with the south bound line on Hampton Boulevard by getting rid of the median (pretty large starting north of 41st street)

Alternatively, have a single track running between the Medical center and ODU campus on Hampton Boulevard and then switch to two lanes north bound, and simply stagger the south and North bound trains. would require a lot of planning and attention though.

Edited by ronsmytheiii
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Might be a bit dated:

Norfolk Light Rail Passenger Vehicles

$6,400,000

Acquire two (2) light rail passenger vehicles for fixed guideway transit service operated by the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads (Hampton Roads Transit).

The project provides transportation access, options and reliability for retail, recreational, and employment purposes, saving time and reducing spatial barriers to economic development activities.

Naval Station Norfolk Fixed Guideway System

New Starts

Complete planning, environmental review and analysis, engineering, design, right of way acquisition, and construction of the Naval Station Norfolk Fixed Guideway System as a New Starts project serving major activity centers with connections to the Norfolk Light Rail System and the Virginia Beach Fixed Guideway System.

The project provides transportation access, options and reliability for retail, recreational, and employment purposes, saving time and reducing spatial barriers to economic development activities.

Intermodal Connector – I-564 Norfolk International to Norfolk Naval

$140,370,072

This 2.6 mile project will extend I-564 and freight rail lines from the current terminus to Norfolk International Terminals and Naval Station Norfolk. The purpose of this project is to provide a safe, high-speed, highway and rail connection from existing I-564 to the Norfolk International Terminals and Naval Station Norfolk. This highway link will provide improved access to these vital facilities while reducing vehicular and heavy truck traffic on the adjacent local roadways.

Enhanced access to the piers of Naval Station Norfolk and the Norfolk International Terminals by an interstate highway and freight rail will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the piers allowing additional transfers of goods and services east of the Mississippi River to and from the Port of Virginia.

Intermodal Facility at Harbor Park

$2,880,000

The proposed project includes an improved light rail station that would link to a high speed rail facility at Harbor Park in Norfolk, VA. The facility would also include a 300 car per level parking structure for Park and Ride and ballpark patrons. Preliminary footprints illustrate the potential of adding residential or office units to the garage. The development would house a public transit bus transfer station and public open space. There are also plans to incorporate Greyhound buses in the development as well as additional economic development along this corridor.

The Downtown Norfolk area hosts a variety of major businesses to include, financial institutions, a major rail corporation and the federal government. Additionally, the City of Norfolk hosts an extremely large amount of daily work commuters. Adding light rail and an intermodal facility will benefit the Norfolk area as well as provide additional attraction for future business and economic development.

Norfolk Tide Light Rail

$5,000,000

The Norfolk Tide Light rail will extend 7.4 miles on an east to west alignment from the Eastern Virginia Medical Center through downtown Norfolk, continuing along the Norfolk Southern right-of-way, adjacent to I-264, to Newtown Road. Eleven stations will be constructed along the route with four park and ride locations that provide access to major areas such as Norfolk State University, Tidewater Community College (Norfolk Campus), Harbor Park, City Hall, MacArthur Center, and the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Future extensions of the light rail are planned to extend the service to Old Dominion University and the Norfolk Naval base. The system will utilize a combination of both city streets and the existing rail corridor purchased from Norfolk Southern and will also be served by an enhanced feeder bus network. The TIDE when operational is estimated to carry between 6,000 and 12,000 people per day by 2026. Norfolk is the 36th American city to embark on light rail and the nation’s smallest city to take this large regional step forward.

The Downtown Norfolk area hosts a variety of major businesses to include, financial institutions, a major rail corporation and the federal government. Additionally, the City of Norfolk hosts an extremely large amount of daily work commuters. At the end of the light rail line is the campus of Old Dominion University, Norfolk Naval Station and Norfolk International Terminal. Adding light rail will benefit the Norfolk area as well as provide additional attraction for future business and economic development.

FY2011 not out yet

http://nye.house.gov...&sectiontree=15,48,57&itemid=176

Edited by ronsmytheiii
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  • 2 weeks later...

From what I can tell... the rail line is all the way connected. & guess what I saw yesterday?! They have already laid the platform for the station at Harbor Park and the actual structure/windshield/weather protecter thing is already rising. Also, at NSU station, the stairs/elevator shell has been erected, and everywhere that we were upset about the cheap fence... has now been replaced by black wrought iron. All that we have left is probably minor construction on the tracks.. station finishes.. and then we will likely start to see trains rollin' by the end of the year.

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All that we have left is probably minor construction on the tracks.. station finishes.. and then we will likely start to see trains rollin' by the end of the year.

You are a bit more optimistic about it than i am. There is still a lot of work to be done on the downtown tracks and stations. MacArthur Center Station and Bute Street are a mess. I foresee it opening first quarter of 2011, definitely.

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You are a bit more optimistic about it than i am. There is still a lot of work to be done on the downtown tracks and stations. MacArthur Center Station and Bute Street are a mess. I foresee it opening first quarter of 2011, definitely.

I would bet the long pole is the LRT maintenance building/yard... too bad it is not done and we could have limited service this summer from Newtown to Harbor Park for Baseball games...

Edited by ronsmytheiii
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