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.