Friday, February 13, 2009

Where I Differ On The Draft Regional Mass Transit Plan

While the Regional Mass Transit Plan is largely a huge step forward, I do have some differences with what's in the Draft.

1. Local Bus Service - while it would still account for the majority of routes in the long term, the Plan spends little time on it. Far too little.

2. Corridor 16 - why is a ferry from Norfolk to Hampton a mid-range project, to be replaced by light rail long range? We need a transit passenger ferry across the water yesterday.

Have you ever tried taking MAX Route 961 across the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) at rush hour? Don't. When I'm in Newport News in the afternoon, I go 967 to 962 back to Norfolk to avoid the 961 getting caught in HRBT traffic.

3. Corridor 5 - did anyone bother to tell the consultants that we're studying light rail EVMS - Norfolk NOB now? They have it as a mid-range project.

4. Corridor 10 - the Plan resurrects (get this!) a Resort Area-only Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system as a mid-range project. Did they live through the 2005 fun and games? Can't we get it done with enhanced bus (rather than BRT)?

5. Corridor 17 - lays out an interesting BRT route for Virginia Beach: Newtown Road LRT Station to Salem Crossing via Princess Anne Road, then north on Lynnhaven Parkway to the Lynnhaven Parkway LRT Station. With TCC - VB just a short distance away (Virginia Beach's largest bus transfer center), why not go there?

6. No new transit in southeast Virginia Beach for the Municipal Center, Sportsplex, or the Amphitheater.


Michael Ragsdale said...

Don't forget the plan includes light rail ON the base (in violation of rules post-9/11)

Michael Ragsdale said...

Corridor 17 DOES include TCC. Though a combined 25-29 BRT does NOT make any sense

Avenging Archangel said...

True: the Navy won't allow LRT on base.

On Corridor 17, that thick line on the diagnol map could go either through TCC or bypass it. We'll have to ask at the public meeting.

thesh00ter said...

i'm not to disappointed with the plans they have for Hampton. I personally like the streetcar idea from Buckroe to Downtown NN. But if it's going to go that far, they may as well make it LRT so at least it won't take an hour to get there like it does now on bus. but all and out, i like it cuz they want to push for transit friendly development, which is something that Hampton needs badly. Also they (Hampton) need help with how to develop PERIOD, so hopefully they won't give the middle finger to this.

Avenging Archangel said...

The NN - Hampton portion of the line roughly paralells Route 101, the busiest bus route on the Peninsula. Therefore, I think it can work.

As for going streetcar, it probably has to do with the Federal funding criteria.

thesh00ter said...

^^i figured that. hey as long as it qualifies that's all i'm concerned with. even though it'll be a ways from now. hopefully our "brilliant" leaders here will really push for especially between Buckroe, Phoebus, and Downton. it would nice to add Fort Monroe to that too.

thesh00ter said...

I've been reading yours, Raggie's, and Manning's blogs now for a over year now. but i still can't figure out why the VBTA is against ANYTHING that has to do with rail transit. Reid said in a comment on "...people that ride the rail should be the ones that pay for it." i think i've heard him say something like that before. what is there trip?

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it Henry, but local bus service is an afterthought instead of a key component of a visionary plan to get people out of their cars. Nearly every mention of local bus service describes it with the term 'transit supportive'. What they are really saying is low income.

Yet they go on and on about high capacity, expensive projects that will not do a thing to relieve traffic because people are not going to drive to a light rail stop. HRT needs to concentrate on keeping them out of their cars to begin with, creating new transit supportive neighborhoods out of the existing housing mix. That means a real vision that includes reliable local bus service.

All we see are the same tired plans of SGAs, high density residential and smart growth concepts that have zero chance of funding if the rest of the citizens have a true voice in the matter.

Avenging Archangel said...


On the VBTA, my take is that what they advocate might have made sense had Virginia Beach taken a sharp right a generation ago. In the last two Council election cycles, their Council challengers have struggled badly for votes and donations.

Unless the VBTA fundamentally reforms itself (won't happen under the current leadership), it will slide into oblivion.


Every enhanced transit system needs it's feeder lines. That's why local bus service should have played a larger part in the Plan.

As for the SGAs, they've been City policy since December, 2003. That horse left the barn long ago.