Wednesday, June 30, 2010

VBTES Public Meeting

This evening there was a Public Meeting on the Virginia Beach Transit Extension Study (VBTES) at the Town Center Westin. It drew a pretty good crowd, relative to what such meetings normally draw.

Shortly after entering the room, Robert Dean was going on about how Will Sessoms had promised a light rail referendum during his Mayoral campaign. To point out the obvious, Dean wouldn't be grumbling about Sessoms if Wally Erb had any chance of turning in enough valid signatures tomorrow. (Have my beer ready, Chrissy!) About 10-12 members of the Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance (VBTA) were there.

Don't say I've never done anything for a VBTAer: I was explaining a few of the displays to VBTA Vice Chairman/Transportation Chairman Reid Greenmun. I'm a regular attendee of meetings of the TDCHR's Planning and New Starts Development Committee, so I'd already seen everything on the displays. I wanted to be sure Reid knew what he was looking at. (Reid being Reid, he'll probably still try to distort it.)

The meeting began with opening comments by City Councilman and TDCHR Commissioner John Uhrin. He was followed by two members of the consulting team.

There were displays for the public on grade-separated crossings, maintenance facility location, options east of Birdneck Road, transit technology, the alignment route, and how the alignment meshes with the City's Strategic Growth Areas (SGAs).

Since it's been such an issue, let me cover grade-separated crossings. Federal rules require that any crossings to be grade-separated pass two tests. The consulting team looked at 10, and 5 passed. The 5 roads that would be grade-separated are Witchduck Road, Independence Boulevard, Rosemont Road, Lynnhaven Parkway, and London Bridge Road. The 4 that failed are Newtown Road, South Plaza Trail, Lynnhaven Road, and Oceana Boulevard. The 10th is Constitution Drive. While Constitution didn't meet the criteria, it still may need to be bridged given it's proximity to Independence. That is, bringing it down to at-grade might require too steep a slope. (The Constitution tidbit is from New Starts, not this evening's meeting.)

Both WAVY and WVEC had camera crews there, so they may have video later.


Anonymous said...

Wally long ago removed his signature count from his little blog because he knew he would fall thousands short.

These VBTA guys can't get it through their heads - the mainstream voters will continue to reject them.

Why do they always run when they must know they will lose? It just makes no sense to me.

thesh00ter said...

after looking through the presentation last night, i guess they weren't joking about 6-7 yrs in this process were they. full funding grant fall/winter 2014, that would mean construction wouldn't start until 2015 if possible.

Jessica Clark said...

What I envision for Town Center is an elevated station (because it's next to Independence Blvd - no time to go back down) with buses on the ground level. See Tukwila Int'l Blvd Station in Tukwila, Washington

On Flickr:

What you are looking at is a parking lot with bus bays and an escalator + elevator up to the light rail platform

What you could do: punch a hole into Dick's Parking Garage at the Mezzanine Level (ticket vending machines) and Ground Level (bus bays). So 3 level station:

Level 1: Ground, Bus Bays, Entrance to Dick's Parking Garage
Level 2: Mezzanine (Ticket Vending Machines, Entrance to Dick's Parking Garage
Level 3: Light Rail Platform

Avenging Archangel said...


The City of Virginia Beach has purchased the former Circuit City property (south of the tracks) for the transit center.

One of the business community's big concerns has been the possibility of Town Center getting turned into a park-and-ride for the rail line. Thus, it goes on the other side.

Jessica Clark said...

Fair deal; I wasn't aware of the CC purchase. All the better :)

Other than which side you park and catch buses, I still stand by my idea to copy TIBS