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Virginia Beach Light Rail and Transit


vdogg

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You are living in a fantasy land, searching for justifications for your desired outcome. You mention"incentives" that will magically produce massive LR utilization on an NOB line. If the current free $110/month, for transit passes, paid by the Navy, doesn't produce a greater utilization than 1%, then what will?

In speaking to a number of navy personnel it is my opinion that the Navy does not advertise this service as well as they should. I have talked to dozens of navy people that regularly commute to the base that had no idea that the program even existed.

Not really -- 70,000 trips are round trips -- meaning the VB originating trips represent 10,150 commuters. Considering that today, from all areas -- Hampton, Chesapeake, and VB, 270 people ride the express busses. Tell me how, magically, any significant number of those 10,150 will ride LR when they don't ride the express busses today?

That number 270 was the total ridership for the old express busses, which had more stops than HRT's new MAX service. Due to increased stops along the way, the ride took much longer than driving. In addition to that, busses remain in traffic just like everybody else. Finally, Virginia Beach never followed the suggestions of the plan, which called for express service stops at Hilltop, Lynnhaven, and Military Circle. I will acquire ridership stats to date for the MAX and post them up here. Also, I guarantee that if we had a lane designated just for busses, the ridership would spike, mainly because the trip would take quicker than driving.

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Guess the maps that show where the trips originate confused you.

You are living in a fantasy land, searching for justifications for your desired outcome. You mention"incentives" that will magically produce massive LR utilization on an NOB line. If the current free $110/month, for transit passes, paid by the Navy, doesn't produce a greater utilization than 1%, then what will?

Actually no, the maps were not confussing. But the maps were showing the origin point of traffic entering a specific gate. If you continue down, you will see all the maps, none of which suggest more commuters come from north of the NS route.

I'm sorry but buses are different that rail transit. It would be inappropriate to suggest that an incentive aimed as pursuading commuters to use bus transit would equal the effects of an incentive to encourage rail transit.

Please do make assumption about me, I will be sure to treat you with mutual respect.

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(and Henry, before you get off on the "you can't get home for an emergency" track, read the NOB Traffic Management study - they id'd several strategies to increase non-SOV commuting. Never mentioned your favorite as an impediment to increased transit utilization.)

The "emergency" which I am most concerned about would be a "national/regional emergency" which may require all military to report to one place at one time, or would require a mass evacuation. In any such case the interstates would be useless.

Transportation diversity has the potential to bring security and functionality should a national/regional emergency take place.

Being that NOB is the largest naval base in the world, and expected to grow, I feel this is not a far-fetched concern.

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In speaking to a number of navy personnel it is my opinion that the Navy does not advertise this service as well as they should.
Hmmmmm. Wonder why that is? You worked on base, mainly with civilians, right? This whole thread started with what "sailors" would do. Based on a lifetime of observations of actual human behavior, I have come to the pretty well founded conclusion that people will do what makes sense to them, not what makes sense to you. What makes sense to "sailors" is: Have a car. Once you get on base, there isn't a way to go to the exchange, medical, disbursing, you name it, without a car. The base shuttle buses take too long -- your shop supervisor won't listen when you tell him you need two hours to go to the exchange at lunch.

A car means you are in control of being on time -- arriving late, for whatever reason, will harm your career. Your supervisor's solution to late arrivals will be to tell you to move on the ship or or base -- even if you have a family. Arriving late is never anyone's problem but your own, in the military culture.

Sailors are too transient -- usually, two or three years here. Almost always had a car at their last duty station -- will almost always need one at the next place. Congestion here isn't bad enough to park the car they already own, and they aren't here long enough to arrange their lives for a transit lifestyle. National studies show that usually around half of transit riders don't have a car available for the trip they are taking. Not a large population among the military.

Finally, for the junior enlisted person, a car is their expression of individuality. They don't own much, and don't have much stability -- work hours, deployments, frequent moves. A car addresses all of those psychological needs.

Civilians who work on base -- completely different story. Problem is, they are only about 25% of the base commuting population. They are older (nationwide, higher transit utilization among those >30 than under -- and remember, average age on a carrier is 19), stay here longer, more likely to live farther away from base (more concerned about schools, as more likely to have kids). Base study after base study has shown a higher acceptance of carpooling/ride sharing, etc., among civil servants. But they are only a fraction.

So to look at the total NOB workforce, and think it is a goldmine for transit utilization, is very likely a costly mistake. Interesting study here -- almost as big a commuter population at Greenbrier. Why all the focus on NOB, when there is potentially as big a market south? And if you really want to address the transportation problems in HR, then you need to increase throughput at the water crossings. That is where the chokepoints are, and where the most costly fixes are. If you really want to increase quality of life, reduce emissions, and increase mobility at the lowest possible capital cost per commuter, then you need to be focused on the water crossings.

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The "emergency" which I am most concerned about would be a "national/regional emergency" which may require all military to report to one place at one time, or would require a mass evacuation. In any such case the interstates would be useless.

Being that NOB is the largest naval base in the world, and expected to grow, I feel this is not a far-fetched concern.

Are you really serious with that scenario? You asked to be taken seriously -- you have to make serious points. I'd love to hear what you think could trigger such an cataclysmic event.

And with the USS Bush moving to Mayport, I don't see NOB growing, but rather shrinking. Tim Kaine and Jim Webb can hold their breath 'till they turn blue -- it is moving. The Navy wouldn't have announced it unless it was vetted at the SECDEF level -- he isn't going anywhere, and no one else has enough clout to overturn it. Virginia -- 11 congressmen, Florida -- 25. Virginia -- two senators, one rookie, one on the SASC. Florida -- one second term, one first term -- both on the SASC. Sorry -- VA gets out muscled on this one.

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In addition to that, busses remain in traffic just like everybody else.
As will LR up Hampton Blvd to NOB. That's why is it not "inappropriate" to look at current bus ridership rates to project likely LR ridership to NOB. The current Silverleaf route runs in the HOV lanes, and isn't in traffic for much of the run. You think that people will ride from Town Center to NOB, with every stop equalling three minutes of transit time (national LR average)? Then, in traffic from EVMS to 40th? And not even get to the point that once you get to NOB, you will have to transfer to another bus (with a wait) to get to your destination? The MAX 919 takes 35 minutes to get from Silverleaf to most of NOB, with no change of bus. A NOB extension will have at least eight stops (21st, 25th, 38th, ODU, J'town Crescent, LC Road, Int'l Blvd, Gate 6). So total twenty stops from TC to NOB -- sixty minutes minimum, before you ever get on the NOB shuttle. Hour twenty? Sounds right.

So the people that won't ride a thirty five minute bus will ride an eighty minute light rail? Guess someone was right -- an "incentive aimed as pursuading commuters to use bus transit" won't "equal the effects of an incentive to encourage rail transit". It will likely exceed the rail effect.

Now, if you had commuter rail up the NS corridor you could get transit times that could get people out of their cars. Same principle would work on a LR corridor in place of the 64 HOV lanes -- both transfer from LR -- one at 64, the other just east of Ballantine.

Rail works when it delivers something you can't get on the roads. Otherwise it is a fixed guideway bus, moving at the same speeds as traffic. Won't get people out of their cars.

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I have a couple of issues with what you have said, scm.

first,

You worked on base, mainly with civilians, right? This whole thread started with what "sailors" would do.

Actually, I do not know many civilians on base. The people that I have spoke to were NAVY SAILORS. They did not know that the program existed.

Next,

As will LR up Hampton Blvd to NOB. That's why is it not "inappropriate" to look at current bus ridership rates to project likely LR ridership to NOB. The current Silverleaf route runs in the HOV lanes, and isn't in traffic for much of the run. You think that people will ride from Town Center to NOB, with every stop equalling three minutes of transit time (national LR average)? Then, in traffic from EVMS to 40th? And not even get to the point that once you get to NOB, you will have to transfer to another bus (with a wait) to get to your destination? The MAX 919 takes 35 minutes to get from Silverleaf to most of NOB, with no change of bus. A NOB extension will have at least eight stops (21st, 25th, 38th, ODU, J'town Crescent, LC Road, Int'l Blvd, Gate 6). So total twenty stops from TC to NOB -- sixty minutes minimum, before you ever get on the NOB shuttle. Hour twenty? Sounds right.

I'm not sure where you are getting your info, but the extension that is most liked by HRT, Norfolk, and NOB runs from Military Hwy Stop through JANAF and then proceeds to follow I-64 all the way to the base. It would take (according to Norfolk's study back in 1999) 33.3 minutes to go from Pembroke to Fleet Park. Also, according to the report, there would be no shuttle. It would be replaced by a LRT loop that would make a complete loop every 15 minutes.

As for the Greenbrier idea, you have to talk to Chesapeake to get a study done. It is in their MTP to use the rail right-of-way that touches the west side of Greenbrier but they have done no studies.

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As will LR up Hampton Blvd to NOB. That's why is it not "inappropriate" to look at current bus ridership rates to project likely LR ridership to NOB. The current Silverleaf route runs in the HOV lanes, and isn't in traffic for much of the run. You think that people will ride from Town Center to NOB, with every stop equalling three minutes of transit time (national LR average)? Then, in traffic from EVMS to 40th? And not even get to the point that once you get to NOB, you will have to transfer to another bus (with a wait) to get to your destination? The MAX 919 takes 35 minutes to get from Silverleaf to most of NOB, with no change of bus. A NOB extension will have at least eight stops (21st, 25th, 38th, ODU, J'town Crescent, LC Road, Int'l Blvd, Gate 6). So total twenty stops from TC to NOB -- sixty minutes minimum, before you ever get on the NOB shuttle. Hour twenty? Sounds right.

So the people that won't ride a thirty five minute bus will ride an eighty minute light rail? Guess someone was right -- an "incentive aimed as pursuading commuters to use bus transit" won't "equal the effects of an incentive to encourage rail transit". It will likely exceed the rail effect.

You do know that often times, light rail runs on separate tracks and have the right of way, thus traffic usually isnt an issue.

Actually I think your stop count might be alittle bit high as well. light rail doesnt stop every few streets unless it is downtown. Typically, it spaces out its stops to increase travel distance to reduce travel time. Looking at the map with the mindset of a planner, I would say the suggestion that would be made for LR to run up to NOB would be to the far west of the neighborhood near EVMS because running up that part of Hampton would not work due to the narrow streets, the two lane road and the curve of the area could pose a problem for the trains. Plus, if they were to get their own independent lanes in that area, it would require a number of buildings to come down. Running it up the backside of the neighborhood would work better. From there it would run north on a bridge over the industrial tracks till it hit Powhatan Ave thus taking it through ODU. The train would then slow down to work its way through the college and connecting up with Hampton Blvd where it is a 6 lane road. Taking right of way on two of those lanes or having new lanes constructed for it would be up to the engineer and their number counts. That would carry the trains up to NOB. TC to NOB would be 45 minutes and not needed to drive and sit in traffic would make happier people....just saying.

Edited by urbanlife
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Are you really serious with that scenario? You asked to be taken seriously -- you have to make serious points. I'd love to hear what you think could trigger such an cataclysmic event.

Yes I am serious. So you think we shouldn't prepare for such a scenario? By the way, your sarcasm is inappropriate, bottom line!

Everyone has their reasons for liking or disliking light rail...one of my reasons is I am for a diversified transportation system. I feel it brings both economic and homeland security to a region.

History has shown us that random attacks are possible (Pearl Harbor, 9/11) and yes, this is a reasonable fear. Again NOB is the largest naval base in the world, strategically located along the eastern seaboard. It would be in the best interest of 70,000 of our nations dignified serviceman and women (as well as the entire region) to have a viable means of quick mass transit to and from NOB should a scenario occur.

Please leave any negative comments at the door!

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since im tired of people speculating about stops for an NOB-bound LRT, Here are some maps that might clear it up:

This is the most likely route that LRT would take to NOB:

NOB_Ext.jpg

This is the NOB Loop that was suggested and approved by NOB that would replace the current shuttle:

NOB_Loop.jpg

These are accurate as described in the 1999 Alternatives report distributed by HRT

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running it up 64 is definitely going to be an ideal route, much easier to work with. Plus it makes a future line to the airport easier, as well as would be a cheaper route than up Hampton Blvd.

I would definitely say there are a few too many stops on the line you have drawn. There would probably be 4-6 stops in NOB. And there would probably be 4-6 stops on the 64 route...looking at it though, I would say closer to 5 stops on that route. Remember, the stops are the most expensive part, and to make light rail work right, you need to reduce the number of stops to increase travel distance to reduce travel time.

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http://hamptonroads.com/2009/01/beach-council-ok-norfolk-southern-rightofway-purchase

If we are lucky, and Sessom can have this kind of power, maybe he can be a Robert Moses type and really get things done in Va Beach. He may take some heat for the developments, but in the end people will appreciate what he's doing noww. I'm not saying that this purchase is because of him, but in the past two days, the city has just committed money to TC and now buying the right of way. I think this message board has found a strong ally in the the new mayor.

Next Mr. Sessom, time for you to put Oceana in their place and build up the strip.

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http://hamptonroads.com/2009/01/beach-council-ok-norfolk-southern-rightofway-purchase

If we are lucky, and Sessom can have this kind of power, maybe he can be a Robert Moses type and really get things done in Va Beach. He may take some heat for the developments, but in the end people will appreciate what he's doing noww. I'm not saying that this purchase is because of him, but in the past two days, the city has just committed money to TC and now buying the right of way. I think this message board has found a strong ally in the the new mayor.

Next Mr. Sessom, time for you to put Oceana in their place and build up the strip.

I enjoyed the Robert Moses reference, I do want to see a mayor "get things done." This means taking risks and making executive decisions as well as starting work immediately and not waiting until everything is properly secure. In other words start the planning stage now, before the rail is confirmed purchased. This continual development is a work ethic that comes from the private sector, his past experience in banking and development. People can call him a part-time mayor all they want, but this is the exact reason why I voted for him. He has a real stake in this region. What is good for local banks is usually always good for local business. Exciting times, both nationally and locally!

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I enjoyed the Robert Moses reference, I do want to see a mayor "get things done." This means taking risks and making executive decisions as well as starting work immediately and not waiting until everything is properly secure. In other words start the planning stage now, before the rail is confirmed purchased. This continual development is a work ethic that comes from the private sector, his past experience in banking and development. People can call him a part-time mayor all they want, but this is the exact reason why I voted for him. He has a real stake in this region. What is good for local banks is usually always good for local business. Exciting times, both nationally and locally!

Does anyone have a general idea of how quickly the LTR could start up at the beach once the purchase is made. I'm not talking about all the red tape they are going to go through, I mean once it's approved, how much construction would actually need to be done. The track is layed already, and there is one overpass they need over rosemont, so would this take more than a year to get going?

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Does anyone have a general idea of how quickly the LTR could start up at the beach once the purchase is made. I'm not talking about all the red tape they are going to go through, I mean once it's approved, how much construction would actually need to be done. The track is layed already, and there is one overpass they need over rosemont, so would this take more than a year to get going?

Well considering that there is only one track on the ROW, not two, and for light rail to make sense it needs one track in each direction, yes some major work will need to be done. Also, Rosemont is not the only overpass needed... Witchduck/Kempsville, Independence, Rosemont, Lynnhaven, First Colonial... Really, all of those would need an over pass or a very well timed cycle (unlikely). So yes, I would guess that after the red tape, still at least a year or two to get going.

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Does anyone have a general idea of how quickly the LTR could start up at the beach once the purchase is made. I'm not talking about all the red tape they are going to go through, I mean once it's approved, how much construction would actually need to be done. The track is layed already, and there is one overpass they need over rosemont, so would this take more than a year to get going?

LR uses different tracks than that of the NS trains.

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LR uses different tracks than that of the NS trains.

Oh, so they are literally just purchasing the ROW but will still need to lay new everything down from there. For some reason, I thought the tracks were convertible.

Why didn't the city buy this ROW years ago. I don't remember ever seeing the tracks being used.

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I moved this from the Norfolk thread, it belongs here instead.

I hadn't seen anyone bring up this thought (maybe because it's kind of obvious, I don't know), but when I've been thinking about the expansion of the starter line, my main thought has been transfer station and connecting lines, rather that the literal extension of the initial rail.

When the starter rail continues through VB to the ocean front, I see transfer stations to crossing rails at Town Center up and down Independence Blvd with termini at Little Creek amphib. (a transfer line at Indi and Lynnhaven Pkwy)and hanging a left of Princess Anne Rd road to the Medical Center/ TCC, tech center, PA park/Amphitheater.

A transfer line at NS line Lynnhaven Pkwy with the southern terminus at least at Salem Crossing (Lynnhaven &PA road) and from the NS transfer staion, go north and turn right on VB Blvb, turn left on Great Neck and end at Shore drive.

Also have a NS transfer line going down Laskin (use the feed lanes)

That's where my mind has been over the last week after coming back from a weekend in DC and riding their great metro system. With 5 lines they'll get you just about anywhere. I just need to get it down. Do you think my transfer lines will work?

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