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.