Saturday, January 24, 2009

Using What You Purchase

Looks like Norfolk Southern is going to be asking a bit more for the ROW between Virginia Beach and Norfolk. Half of it will be used for the existing light rail line. It would be pretty worthwhile to buy now though because it will only get more expensive.

Though I would hope that they don't use the whole thing, at least further east towards the beach. The closer the ROW gets to the beach, the closer it gets to a large Naval Air Station, which is likely not too great for mixed use development unless at some point it is shut down and the property is redeveloped. Close by however is a major shopping district that could be recast after its useful life as a new center for Virginia Beach. Currently it has a lot of parking spaces ripe for redevelopment. You can see the difference between the two probably paths below.

You can also see in the aerial below that there is a wide median for ROW. However such a large street could use a boulevard reconfiguration to calm traffic and create better pedestrian scale development.

The extension to Virginia Beach also seems like a good line from a job connection standpoint as well. Three miles from the end of the current line under construction and west of the Naval Air Station above is this job and entertainment center below called Virginia Beach Town Center.

The point however is that while this is a good line, they need to look long and hard into where it goes, and might want to think about how much the ROW is worth beyond the Naval Air Station. It's probably worth buying and keeping for the future because if the NAS is decommissioned, a rapid streetcar could connect the station with the beach and start and end at light rail stations as well as circulation. But it's something to look into.


Alon Levy said...

Wouldn't it be good to connect the line to the Naval Air Station, which is a major job center?

Adam P said...

Good point you brought up. The local government here hasn't even really publicly stated any other options for the potential route. It definitely needs to at least go through town center and then onto the oceanfront resort area. Maybe then they could start fixing that mess of super 10 lane arteries. I know they did mention trying to put pedestrian bridges up over VA Beach Boulevard connecting town center to the Pembroke mall across the street. Not really the best way to fix the pedestrian collision problem

VA Beach

M1EK said...

Gosh, why would we want to consider whether the existing ROW goes anywhere worth going? That's crazy talk.

PS: Have you checked out recent comments on Capital MetroBlog? Severe disillusionment setting in.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

I saw an old article stating that ONAS had about 10,000 jobs in 1997. Not sure how much they have now but that seems rather significant, though it would have to be some sort of spur or connector given how off the direct path between Norfolk and Virginia Beach the location of those jobs are. It's not likely that a tunnel under a major naval installation would be allowed either. I would be interested in seeing how they addressed the issue.

It's too bad the installation buildings are not on the North Side, that would be a slam dunk.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

I haven't really been reading the Cap Metro blog recently. After the first few posts I quickly figured out that it wasn't really worth my time for the most part, though its in my reader.

M1EK said...

The most recent activity is worth a read. Many, many, many people fell for the mislabelling as something like light rail and are now very disappointed.