Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Portsmouth Question

(I don't like doing back-to-back transit posts, as I don't want this to exclusively be a transit blog. However, I'm probably going to have three consecutive here. Sorry.)

The question remains: exactly how do we connect Portsmouth into a regional light rail network? For the most fiscally stressed city in the Commonwealth of Virginia, it could reap a load of benefits by being connected into such a system in the midterm. Complete the Virginia Beach Oceanfront to Naval Station Norfolk via downtown Norfolk line, then start trying to get light rail across the river to P-town.

You start to grasp the scale of the problem when you read Phase II of the Regional Transit Vision Plan. It puts a streetcar in Portsmouth, to maybe later be extended to the Harbor Park multimodal station. There's a proposed corridor from Harbor Park to Harbour View via downtown Portsmouth "BRT, maybe LRT". However, even those partial measures rest on one huge if: a multimodal expansion of the Downtown Tunnel, with dedicated mass transit lanes.

That's not a report, but rather a death sentence for Portsmouth. I raised the issue during a Public Comment session at the TPO, and have talked about it with regional leaders. Failure to secure Portsmouth into our regional light rail network in the midterm risks having it become a sinkhole in 30-40 years that could take down the rest of South Hampton Roads with it. Portsmouth needs to be online, where it can reap the benefits of such a system.


Anonymous said...

Portsmouth can have light rail when two thongs happen FIRST:

1. Buses provide service after 7 PM (yes I know the 45 is paid by Norfolk)
2. Buses provide service on Sundays (related: VA Beach needs to do the same - thanks Norfolk for paying for my 20, just wish it was more than once an hour)

Anonymous said...

Things, I mean (need a spell check or edit button!!)

Avenging Archangel said...

Portsmouth doesn't have half-bad bus service Monday - Saturday during the day. I certainly wouldn't hold LRT hostage to expanding evening and Sunday service. That should all come in due course.