Saturday, November 27, 2010

2010 UFL Championship Game On YouTube

If you haven't heard yet, Las Vegas won the 2010 UFL Championship game 23-20. The Locos blocked a Florida Tuskers field goal attempt on the final play of the game to seal the victory.

However, what was extraordinary today was how myself and many others watched the game. The game was shown live on the UFL's YouTube channel. It largely was the Versus broadcast of the game. However, viewers had their choice of five different camera angles. Viewers could send in comments and questions via Facebook and Twitter, and they were scrolled beneath the game picture. When Versus would go to a commercial break, the online broadcast went to a press box where HD Net's Ron Kruck hosted the interactive portion. Kruck replied to some of the comments and questions, and had UFL personalities in for interviews. One fan said the game should be dubbed the "Interactive Social Media Bowl".

Given the nature of the Internet, the audience was international. Viewers were asked to identify where they were watching from, and there were replies from Mexico, Brazil, Great Britain, France, Germany, Poland, and Canada. Don't worry: I got in my shout out from Virginia Beach, noting it's where the Virginia Destroyers will play.

Most interesting was Ron Kruck's interview with UFL Commissioner Michael Huyghue. The UFL playing Sunday games in August - during what would be the NFL preseason - was talked about. However, with the possibility of the NFL having a lockout in 2011, Huyghue stated that the UFL would look to move it's later season games to Sunday to fill the void in the event of a NFL lockout. Be aware, Destroyers ticket holders.

I loved the webcast. If we have more of such to look forward to in the 21st Century, sports will be better off and more fun.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Transit Notes November 25, 2010

My paycheck direct deposited this morning, so it was off to Walmart for groceries and a new watch. Thanksgiving is one of three holidays (along with Christmas Day and New Year's Day) that Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) goes to a Sunday schedule for. That took me through the Military Circle Transfer Center at the 9:45 A.M. and 10:45 A.M. lineups.

1. 3 of the 4 buses I was on had smaller loads than normal. However, my Inbound 20 to Military Circle was about 85% full.

After boarding the Outbound 15 at Military Circle, I became concerned that a Flat Earther would photograph one of today's buses and cite it as "proof" of the urban legend "empty buses."

2. The Inbound 23 was MIA at the 9:45 A.M. lineup. That's what had me on the Outbound 15 for Walmart.

3. Ran into Wally Erb, as we were both entering Walmart at the same time. He said he'd be back on to comment about my local Gas Tax for transit idea.

Okay, Wally. However, how would you pay for those buses you've been talking about?

4. The 10:45 A.M. lineup could only happen on a major holiday: my Inbound 15 was four minutes early into Military Circle, two buses (the Inbound 20 and Outbound 15) were already there, while the Outbound 20 came in a short distance behind us.

5. With a greenhorn Operator on that Outbound 20 and Customer Service closed for Thanksgiving, I had to play customer service agent myself at the 10:45 lineup:

a. Centerville Turnpike and Indian River Road - that would be Route 12, which doesn't run on the Sunday schedule.

b. Lynnhaven Parkway and Princess Anne Road - Routes 12 (Lynnhaven Parkway) and 25 (Princess Anne Road) cross there, but neither runs on the Sunday schedule.

c. Robert Hall - that's the wacky Sunday 15 schedule into Chesapeake.

6. On my Inbound 15 entering Military Circle, a young woman was loudly complaining to someone on her cell phone about everything be closed today. She wanted something to eat. Seeing the adjacent Hardee's, she told her caller she was going over there for chicken.

On Thanksgiving? I don't think so.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fundraiser For The Injured

Two employees of Knuckleheads Roadhouse, Monica and Greg, were seriously injured when the motorcycle they were on was victimized in a hit and run accident. They'll be unable to work for two months while recuperating, which means their income is lost.

There will be a fundraiser at Knuckleheads to gather money to carry them over. It will be on Sunday, November 28 from Noon until 7 P.M. I'll update this post with more details when I get them.

Monica is one of the two bartenders there I wouldn't dream of walking away from the bar from without leaving a nice tip for. She's that good at her job. Obviously she can't tend bar on crutches.

Knuckleheads is at 401 North Witchduck Road in Virginia Beach, the second left (Weaver Drive) north of Virginia Beach Boulevard.

Update: the band Vinyl Headlights will play Monica's Mishap Benefit. There will be a live auction and a fashion show. (That's from the event's official flier.)

I Can Read Their Minds

First I blogged on how the extremist Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance (VBTA) believes light rail is "Marxist" and the Tide Guides wearing red shirts is bound to have them angry. ("We Told You It Was A Marxist Conspiracy!", 9/25/10). Now we learn that The Tide will enter revenue service on May Day (Wood Street And The Tide Launch, 11/17/10).

I can imagine what's going through the sick and paranoid minds of the VBTA now....

54% Like The Current Configuration

In our latest poll question, 54% want to keep Virginia Beach at eight traffic lanes at Town Center. 46% want six traffic lanes plus on-street parking, as Dan Burden suggested.

The new question: should the Virginia Beach City Council approve Eden? It's the proposed nightclub on 32nd Street in the old Seapines post office building.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Blunder After Blunder

The video I embed below is must-see for any soccer fan. Qatar played Uzbekistan in the Asian Games.

The online comments are being aimed at Qatar's Fahad Khalfan for failing to score when he had a wide open goal at point blank. (He could have push passed it in from there!) However, don't overlook how badly the Uzbek goalie plays this ball. Finally, the second Qatari player in simply rushes it and blows a good scoring chance.

TDCHR November 18, 2010

The Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads (TDCHR), the governing board of Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) met this afternoon. With the earlier meeting (due to Thanksgiving), the October books hadn't been closed out yet. Therefore, the October financial report will be presented at the December meeting. Having met just three weeks ago, it was a short (about 45 minute) meeting.

Amy Inman of DRPT gave the TDCHR her Presentation on the Transit Vision Plan, essentially the same thing she showed the TPO yesterday morning. While DRPT excluded some specifics of the Virginia Beach alignment given the ongoing study, Inman did state that Virginia Beach's land use was "very supportive of rapid transit".

While acting CFO David Sullivan was out having dental work, it was reported that HRT paid off the balance on it's Line of Credit this morning.

According to TDCHR Chairman Paul Riddick, the Executive Committee is assembling a package of what they're looking for in a CEO.

There were two contract extensions on Norfolk light rail. Both were $40,000 each and within the $338 million Cost To Complete figure.

Chairman Riddick named Commissioner Pat Woodbury of Newport News and Commissioner Cliff Hayes of Chesapeake to organize a TDCHR Retreat in April, 2011.

Finally, Sharon Foster was awarded the HRT President's Coin, only the fourth employee in agency history to receive the prestigious honor. Sharon has overseen the awarding of Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) contracts on Norfolk light rail. DBEs got 21.5% of the work, ahead of the goal, with most Virginia firms. The fun part: Foster was asked to attend the meeting on the premise that the Commission had questions about the program, only to be surprised with the big gong.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wood Street And The Tide Launch

The MSM has previously reported on the proposed move of Hampton Roads Transit's (HRT) Cedar Grove Transfer Center to Wood Street. The Norfolk City Council is scheduled to vote on that and other light rail-related matters on December 7.

What you haven't read are details from the proposals. HRT's Transit Riders Advisory Committee (TRAC) was briefed Wednesday evening on them:

1. The Tide is scheduled to go into revenue service on May 1, 2011.

2. The Cedar Grove Transfer Center would be moved to Wood Street two weeks prior, on April 17.

3. The bus lineup would be on the north side of Wood. 13 shelters would be there, 3 more than at Cedar Grove. Traffic on Wood would be one way westbound, though emergency vehicles exiting the adjacent fire station could run against traffic. A fence would be erected on the south side of Wood Street. Posey Lane would no longer exit into Wood.

4. There would be toilets there for bus Operators, but none now are planned for passengers.

TRAC members immediately lobbied for them. HRT Staff retorted none were at the former transfer center on Charlotte Street. (Psst...we slipped into MacArthur Center from there.)

5. Routes 6, 8, and 45 would provide service from Wood Street into southern downtown. They'd leave south on St. Paul's, turn right on Waterside, right on Boush, then right on City Hall, heading out of downtown from there.

6. Route 23 would travel Princess Anne Road along the northern periphery of downtown, as it did in pre-Cedar Grove days.

7. The single new bus route will be Route 16, from ODU to Fort Norfolk via Colley Avenue.

8. The additional cost to the City of Norfolk in FY 2012 would be $5.9 million, $3.1 million for light rail and $2.8 million for additional bus service. (Also, additional Federal and state funds would be involved.)

It's not a zero sum game, as $1.2 million would be saved by eliminating the NET ($700k) and Route 310 ($500k).

9. Some buses leaving Wood Street would serve the Monticello Station, including Routes 1 and 3. They'd head west on Charlotte Street, then turn north up Monticello.

10. There's a proposal for a Ghent NET on the table. It would run evenings from 6-10 P.M., 6-Midnight Friday and Saturday. There are four evening (Thursday - Sunday) and nightly options being considered.

11. The Tide would begin service daily at 6 A.M. It would run until 10 P.M. Monday - Thursday, Midnight on Friday and Saturday, and 9 P.M. on Sunday.

TPO November 17, 2010

This morning the Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) met at the Regional Building in Chesapeake.

There were five speakers for the public comment period: two on the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT), two on the Transit Vision Plan (including myself), and one opponent of tolls.

The big issue was the unveiling of transportation projects prioritization. From it:

1. While HRBT expansion outscored The Third Crossing, it only did so because of the recent PPTA offer, which boosted the project's viability score. Were there a PPTA offer on The Third Crossing tomorrow, it would leapfrog the HRBT.

Given that The Third Crossing can be built in phases, the project is more attractive given the limited amount of money to work with.

2. The top rated fixed guideway project was (smile, everyone!) the Virginia Beach Fixed Guideway Transit Project. It scored 205 (87 for Project Utility, 94 for Economic Vitality, and 23 for Project Viability) compared to 187 for Norfolk's extension to the Navy base (89, 88, 10).

3. The Southeastern Parkway did well, but earlier in the day the TPO received notice that the Federal government has halted all environmental work on the proposal. (Stick a fork in it.)

The TPO will give final approval at it's December meeting.

Amy Inman of DRPT gave the first public presentation on the Transit Vision Plan. (Yes, Amy, this blog may make you a celebrity yet.)

The TPO agreed to move it's meetings to the third Thursday of the month. The holdup is that, under it's By-Laws, the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC) can't ratify a change of it's own until April, 2011.

Finally, the TPO agreed to join the newly-formed Virginia Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations.

Amy Inman At The ATC

The final speaker session of Envision Transportation was on Monday night, with Amy Inman of Virginia's Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT).

The original hope had been for her to speak on Phase II of the Transit Vision Plan. However, DRPT was not ready to give such a public briefing yet. Instead Ms. Inman spoke on DRPT, what it is doing statewide, and what it could potentially do here.

On a related note, the Southside meeting on the Transit Vision Plan will be at Hampton Roads Transit's (HRT) Norfolk office (Monticello Avenue and 15th Street) on December 1. The meeting will run 6-8 P.M., with a Presentation at 6:30. The Peninsula meeting will be on November 30 at Newport News' City Center.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Already Thinking 2012

The Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) has already launched a website with the 2012 Federal election in mind. It's at

Shore Drive Should Be 45 MPH

56% of voters believe Shore Drive's speed limit should be 45 mph, the previous speed limit. 38% support the current 35 mph, while 6% voted for "Other".

Personally, I agree on 45. First, you'll never traffic engineer well enough to keep late night bar hoppers totally safe. Second, there are a few bus routes in that corridor being impacted. Their schedules were written based on 45 mph traffic.

The new question: how should Virginia Beach Boulevard be configured at Town Center? Four traffic lanes each direction, or three traffic lanes plus parallel parking? It's based on Dan Burden's recommendation on the Walking Audit.

Bus Riders, What Are Noteworthy Issues?

Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) President Phillip Shucet has asked HRT Transit Riders Advisory Committee (TRAC) Chairman Henry Ryto to take him bus riding so he can see issues out there firsthand. While a specific date has yet to be set, they plan to go in December or January.

For the bus riders who read this blog (and I know sometimes you comment), what should be on their itinerary? Shucet has a half day in his busy schedule for it. Ryto immediately thought of Cedar Grove and the rush hour Route 15, though the former fades much with this week's announcement on the probable move of the transfer center.

Okay, what would you add to the schedule and why? Sound off in the Comments section.

Update: it's going to be a full day with the CEO in January. Keep the ideas coming, as we have a full day's schedule to fill.

Envision Transportation Community Dialogue

As part of the Envision Transportation initiative, small meetings are being held where residents are asked their opinions on transportation. I myself went to the meeting two nights ago. The questions we're asked:

1. How do you travel now, to work, to school, to shop, to recreation, to church, where else? How would you like to be able to travel?

2. What about Virginia Beach is valuable to you that must be preserved, no matter what transportation decisions are made?

3. What principles should guide public decisions related to transportation and mobility?

4. Group: list transportation options/improvements desired.

5. Individual: if you had one dollar to divide across transportation options, how many cents to each mode?

I'm happy to report that our Tuesday night group's first reply to question #4 was an unanimous endorsement of light rail.

For those yet to participate, there are two remaining meetings. One will be November 17 at Central Library from 7-8:50 P.M., with the last on November 20 at the Bayside Special Services Library from 10:30 A.M. - Noon. To register for Central, call 385-0150; for Bayside, call 385-2680.

Envision Transportation is a collaborative effort between the Hampton Roads Center for Civic Engagement and the City of Virginia Beach. Results from the meetings will be presented to City Council and be available for public review.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Middle School Trick Play

This play by Driscoll Middle School was trending on YouTube. The defensive players had to feel like idiots afterwards.

Dan Burden In Virginia Beach

Dan Burden is with the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, and was once named Social Innovator Of The Year by Time magazine. He was in Virginia Beach for two days last week, giving two presentations on Thursday.


Burden was at the Strategic Growth Area (SGA) Office on Thursday morning. (Prior to things convening, I had to joke SGA Office Director Barry Frankenfield that he was still in business with John Moss having lost the election.)

Burden gave a two and a quarter hour Presentation. From it:

1. Walkability should be at the center of design, not moving automobiles.

2. Property values in walkable areas are 3-5 times higher than in unwalkable.

3. Retail sales on streets with tree canopies are 12% higher.

4. Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) is growing at an astronomical, unsustainable rate.

5. We should stress form, not density. Simply permitting an additional couple units per acre in current multifamily suburban areas would allow for building much more attractive housing.

6. When we started building five lane roads (two traffic lanes each way, with a center turn lane) in this country, a delegation from Australia came over to look at them. They went back to Oz determined that such monstrosities should never be built down under.

After the Presentation, we went on a Walking Audit around the Town Center area. Burden's opinions from that:

1. Streets - the streets in Town Center are too wide.

2. Virginia Beach Boulevard - three lanes each direction are more than sufficient to carry it's traffic volumes. The outer lane would then become on-street parking.

It's not a zero sum game. Narrowing the street would allow for shortening the cycle on the pedestrian signal, meaning less time sitting in a red light.

3. Crossing the Boulevard - it took us nearly 5 minutes to walk from the door of the Cheesecake Factory to Romano's Macaroni Grill, much too long.

4. Independence Boulevard/Virginia Beach Boulevard - if we have an uglier intersection, Burden said "I don't want to see it."

5. Town Center side streets - Burden suggested reconfiguring them, starting with less-used portions as a test.

Burden didn't fault builders, pointing out that they normally build to the code. It's the code that's the problem. Before you jump to the conclusion that Burden's ideas on the Walking Audit will become concrete, I overheard where engineers on the Walking Audit were already raising objections to implementation.

Afterwards, lunch was served in the SGA Office, with question time over the meal.


On Thursday evening Burden spoke at the Advanced Technology Center (ATC) as part of the Envision Transportation speaker series. He gave a shortened (how many laymen want to sit through 135 minutes?) and simplified version of that morning's Presentation. It was taped for VBTV, and will be on the Envision Transportation website as streaming video.

Questions were taken afterwards. I counted 28 people in attendance, despite the bad weather that night.


The final speaker of the Envision Transportation Series will be Amy Inman of Virginia's Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT). It will be on Monday, November 15 at 7 P.M. at the ATC. Inman will address Phase II of the Regional Transit Vision Plan. Amy is a mass transit planner, and serves as DRPT's representative to the TPO.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Save AirTran's Business Class

As most of you have probably heard by now, Southwest Airlines has reached an agreement to buy AirTran Airlines. Southwest serves Norfolk International Airport (ORF), while AirTran serves Newport News - Williamsburg International Airport (PHF). While both are low cost carriers, there's a product difference between what they offer onboard.

There's now an online petition to save the AirTran product. (Hey, we may even be able to get Southwest to upgrade it's 737s....) The website is at For those who fly either carrier, have fun!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

RAC November 4, 2010

Virginia Beach's Resort Advisory Commission (RAC) met on Thursday afternoon for about an hour.

The RAC approved the TPPC's earlier endorsement for a change in Virginia Beach's surrey ordinance. The amendment would add relocation to the criteria under which a business west of Atlantic Avenue would lose it's ability to rent surreys.

A private car collector is looking to open an auto museum in the 400th block of 18th Street. The property has a warehouse that formerly was used by Princess Anne Plumbing & Heating.

The possibility of RAC programming on VBTV is being looked into.

The GREEN Committee brought forward a motion to advocate that Virginia move to California's standard on the operation of pool water pumps, on the grounds that it would mean energy savings. It passed with CCO representative Henry Ryto the lone "No" vote. Ryto, himself a former Certified Pool Operator, was concerned about the impact on pool water quality.

The Oceanfront Enhancement Committee (OEC) decided to name a task force comprising all stakeholders to examine the issue of food & beverage sales at Resort Area events.

A link has been added to the Gift of Tourism website to take Internet surfers to the Resort Area projects landing page.

Oceanfront residents have begun a phone calling campaign over the parking impact of the proposed new Eden restaurant on 32nd Street.

Finally, Commissioners were given a presentation on the Mayor's Alternative Energy Task Force's final report.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

2010 Virginia Beach City Council Election: The Day After

Okay, you've probably been waiting for my two cents worth. May even want to chime in with your own thoughts under Comments. Here I go....


Who won yesterday? Obviously all 6 incumbents. However, what political grouping?

4 of the 5 candidates endorsed by Mayor Sessoms did. However, Bill DeSteph won reelection while chosen successor Dave Redmond finished 5th in the At-Large field.

Obviously not the extremist Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance (VBTA), as all of their challengers went down hard. As 2010 was the last chance the VBTA had to even make a half-baked challenge for Council seats (more on that later), fittingly the VBTA as an electoral farce came to an end on All Souls Day. (November 2 is All Souls Day in the Catholic Church, when we remember the dead.)

The biggest story of the day may have been the poor showing of the Council candidates endorsed by the African-American Political Action Council (AAPAC). (More on that later, too.) However, time is on AAPAC's side. Yesterday was an early skirmish in a much broader and longer war.

The only clear winner yesterday was (drum roll, please) City Clerk Ruth Fraser. With all 6 incumbents returning, the old stationary can continue to be used.


You knew I couldn't wait to beat up on my favorite whipping boys, didn't you? With Obama's reelection effort almost certain to drive a huge minority turnout in 2012, any VBTA Council challenges will be stillborn next time out. Most of the angry old men who comprise the VBTA's inner circle will have aged out by 2014. Therefore, 2010 was their last chance to make a Council splash and they largely blew it.

The poll workers pushing the slate of Bill DeSteph, John Moss, and Toni Hedrick yesterday were using sample ballots from the Hampton Roads TEA Party (HRTP). It's telling that they admit that the VBTA brand is ballot box poison for a candidate.

Their astonishing faux pas of the day was further down the sample ballot. They called for the defeat of all three proposed amendments to the Virginia Constitution. That's right: they openly opposed tax waivers for veterans 100% disabled in the line of duty, in this Navy town! That had to be dead weight on their Council candidates!

If you want proof positive of what a joke the VBTA is, George Furman received more votes (31,338) in Bayside District than Hedrick (29,229) did in Lynnhaven. Furman didn't even actively campaign as such until a month out, and had no visible organization. Yet Furman got 2,109 more votes than Hedrick!

How will the VBTA react? We get a hint reading the online comments to The Virginian-Pravda story about the election results. First Reid Greenmun posted a disjointed blathering about the Mayor and Vice Mayor promising a light rail referendum. (Not a word about the candidate loses.) Then Ben Krause repeated his same campaign talking points about Jim Wood. (Yeah, that message played well.)


Yesterday I did an all-day stint at Holland Precinct, at Holland Elementary School, primarily for Andrew Jackson. Jim Wood also asked me to distribute his lit, which I did with Andrew's permission.

I started the day with a Jackson palm card and the Wood piece. Running out of Jackson cards about 10 A.M., I then switched that off to the African-American Political Action Council (AAPAC) sample ballot for the remainder of the day.

Poll workers from the Republican Party of Virginia Beach (RPVB) and HRTP were there for the three busier periods of the day (morning, lunch, and evening). The Virginia Beach Democratic Committee (VBDC) and Kenny Golden campaign had people there morning and evening. Barbara Henley's Council campaign had someone there for lunch and the evening. The firefighters union had firemen there periodically during the day.

Such a day always has it's fun moments. The bizarre one was when the Democratic worker called for a Constitutional amendment prohibiting corporate campaign donations, labeling contributions by corporations "fascism". The most humorous one was using the restrooms at the elementary school. Designed for small children, the urinals are mounted low and the sink even lower. That led a retired sailor to exclaim, "Adjust your aim!" The warm moment was realizing five of us poll workers were Catholic. (We should have brought our rosary beads.)


Todd Davidson came for about 90 minutes at midday, and his time made for some of the better conversation of the day.

He also got corrected a comical problem: the school had it's SOL accreditation flag up the flagpole upside down. (Our Navy veteran had tried to get it fixed earlier, but to no avail.) School Board member Davidson charged into the Office, and within a few minutes a custodian was out to get it right.

James Cabiness and his wife came to vote just before Noon. (Yes, he lives in Holland Precinct.)

George Furman spent about 25 minutes there after 5 P.M. I tried to explain to him that he was getting it wrong. (Hey, it was late enough in the day that the advice was useless.) A candidate is suppose to spend a few hours at a few targeted precincts during the day, but he was trying to hop around a number of them quickly. Anyway, my words went over his head.


I'm always happy to do work for my best friends. Their cause is just, right, and will empower the vast majority of residents. Not only did that take me to Holland Precinct yesterday, but I wrote some basic poll working pointers for the Jackson Campaign last week. As for Andrew, at most I hoped he could slip into the 2nd Place spot in the At-Large field. In the least I wanted to beat a Kool-Aid chugger or two.

Yesterday was a mess. Not only did Tanya Bullock lose, but Jackson (6th) and Cabiness (7th) finished in the last two slots of the At-Large field. Virginia Beach continues to be diversity-challenged.

My consolation is what happened in Holland Precinct. Andrew finished 2nd, just one vote behind Rita Sweet Bellitto. Also, Tanya won Holland. (Her name was at the top of the AAPAC sample ballot.)

We lost a battle, but the war continues. Quite the contrary of the VBTA, our numbers are growing daily. It's not a question of "if" we win, but "when" we win.


The long version of the Democratic sample ballot had a section "Friends of the Democratic Party", which encouraged people to vote for a given list of City Council and School Board candidates. Also, Virginia Beach Democratic Committee (VBDC) Chair Susan Mariner e-mailed out the list on Monday.

Republican poll workers had a list of Council and School Board candidates endorsed by Governor Bob McDonnell.

Having spearheaded the RPVB's 2001 look at endorsing Council candidates, I couldn't help but think "It's about time."

Michael Ronkin At The ATC

The second in the Envision Transportation speaker series was Michael Ronkin, who spoke on Thursday, October 28. Ronkin spent 26 years with the Oregon Department of Transportation, the last 17 years as Bikes and Pedestrians Director. Oregon was the first state in the country to adopt a Complete Streets statute, in 1971. Ronkin's talk was on Complete Streets.

Complete Streets incorporate all modes of transportation: motor vehicles, mass transit, pedestrians, bicycles, etc. Under a Complete Streets statute, the burden of proof falls on government planners to justify why a given mode shouldn't be included in a new road design or revision of an existing roadway. Complete Street design works from the outside in, rather than the traditional center line outward.

Factoids from Ronkin's talk:

1. A poll by Rails and Trails found that Americans would put 41% of transportation funding in mass transit, 37% in roads, and 22% in bikes and walking. The actual is 79% roads, 20% transit, and 1% bikes and walking.

2. Would you choose a restaurant based on speed alone? If not, why have we been making speed paramount in transportation planning for the past 50 years? The paradox is that the faster we've tried to move, the longer our travel times have become. (Uh...we're doing something fundamentally wrong.)

3. Ronkin stated that traffic engineering is the only profession where you're asked to fix the very problems you've created.

4. Multimodal streets increase home values and revitalize retail.

5. 21% of those over age 65 don't drive, and 50% of non-drivers stay home some days solely due to lack of transportation options.

6. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends Complete Streets as a tool in fighting obesity.

Virginia enacted a Complete Streets law in 2003. The hitch is getting traffic engineers to break their old habits.

The next series speaker will be Dan Burden, on Thursday, November 4 at 7 P.M. at the ATC. Burden will speak on "Community, Walkability, and Livability". Burden was once named Social Innovator Of The Year by Time magazine.

(Sorry for the delay in posting. However, I had the NAACP Banquet on Friday, worked Saturday - Monday, then worked the polls yesterday on Election Day.)