Light Rail to Wards Corner

March 30, 2010

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation released a Transit Vision Plan for Hampton Roads in March 2009.  Their transit vision statement for Hampton Roads:

An integrated public transit network will provide Hampton Roads with transportation choice, thereby ensuring greater mobility, economic development, environmental protection, energy independence, and quality of life.

According to the Plan, after extending The Tide light rail system to the oceanfront, the next step is to extend light rail from Newtown Rd, to the airport, through Wards Corner, and on to the Naval Base.

[The proposed Wards Corner extension] runs from I-264 parallel to Military Highway and I-64 to Naval Station Norfolk.   Currently adopted 2034 forecasts of residential density in the corridor do not support rail, except along Little Creek Road west of I-564. However, the corridor links several important regional activity centers including providing improved transit access to Norfolk International Airport and Naval Station Norfolk.  A study conducted in 1999 identified this corridor as feasible for extending light rail to Naval Station Norfolk. High speed/high capacity transit in this corridor is further justified by the large number of workers who commute from Virginia Beach to Naval Station Norfolk.

Light Rail through Wards Corner

Light Rail through Wards Corner

The three closest proposed stations are located at Tidewater Drive, at Wards Corner, and on Torgerson Road (Meredith St near Terminal Blvd).  The Vision further suggests that the following steps be taken:

Update the Comprehensive Plan to include policies to specifically support Norfolk’s transit initiatives, including those along this corridor; and

Encourage moderate density residential development along this corridor.  Use existing policies and apply zoning designations used in other areas to achieve desired results.

Light rail is an extremely important issue to Wards Corner and Wards Corner Now will continue to track this issue.    Any redevelopment that is done now needs to be done with future light rail connections in mind.  Review the report yourself:  Transit Vision Plan for Hampton Roads.

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