Saturday, June 20, 2009

Connectivity In Downtown Norfolk

I don't like to do back-to-back mass transit stories on my blog, but this one struck me this morning. Coming to downtown Norfolk to see The Taking Of Pelham 123 (a very good movie), I had to transfer buses at the Cedar Grove Transfer Center, on the northeast periphery of downtown. Waiting on the Downtown Shuttle (Route 310), a recurring issue hit me.

Norfolk's light rail Starter Line is on the other side of downtown from Cedar Grove. Therefore, you don't start to have connectivity between the overwhelming majority of buses and the rail system. With light rail going operational next year, what's being done? At the light rail Groundbreaking Ceremony at Harbor Park, Mayor Paul Fraim spoke of a multimodal center at Harbor Park that would handle light rail, Higher Speed Rail, and buses. What is in the pipes to bring that to fruition?

Unless buses and light rail connect, Norfolk's Starter Line will never begin to live up to it's potential. However, senior Norfolk city Staff seem to have the notion that they can have mass transit without mass transit passengers. First they banished us to Cedar Grove, then wanted to hide us on Salter Street. If this glaring hole in Norfolk's system isn't tackled prior to light rail going online, City Manager Regina Williams and Assistant City Manager Ann Odell should go.


Anonymous said...

This website has a rendering of the transfer station at harbor park connecting light rail with busses and high speed rail.

Avenging Archangel said...

Nice rendering, but that's at least a few years off. How do we close the gap in the interim?

Jessica Blaine said...

Let's just build Tacoma Dome Station

Anonymous said...

I do agree that Cedar Grove is a piece of crap and too far away from the Business District and Light Rail.. Once high speed rail is built the city will build the intermodal facility at harbor park.. Which will be amazing.. Until then, we'll just have to transfer at Cedar Grove. HRT and Norfolk have spent a lot of money building that transfer station.

Anonymous said...

If LRT comes to Virginia Beach, it would be a shame to have higher speed rail connect at Harbor Park. Connecting in the state's largest city makes more sense.

Michael Ragsdale said...

@Anon, 10:21 AM:

There's no active Freight rail lines in the Beach that I know of.

Under Federal Railroad Administration regulations, due to the massive weight difference between standard Light Rail trains and heavy rail trains (think commuter trains (VRE and Sounder come to mind), freight trains, Amtrak trains), they must NOT mix on the same track (meaning you can't send this high speed rail line down the Beach light rail line).

So, for the sake of an example:

* Board the high-speed rail in say a DC suburb to Harbor Park
* Transfer to The Tide to take you to the Oceanfront

Avenging Archangel said...

Anon 10:21,

I argued that early in the Study. However, we're down to two finalist alignments and neither comes here.