Light Rail to Wards Corner

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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6 Responses to Light Rail to Wards Corner

  1. John Knight says:

    This proposed route makes a lot of sense and could have a major positive impact on Wards Corner. I move here from Denver and the ridership there greatly exceeded expectations. In addition, businesses near the terminals were positively impacted. While there has been some mismanagement of our project along the way, I am glad that Norfolk is thinking about the future. I believe, most citizens will be very happy with the project once it is up and running.

  2. Laura Thom says:

    Linking Wards Corner to light rail certainly makes a lot of sense! This area is densely populated, with numerous apartment complexes, including senior citizen housing as well as military. It is the crossroads for the airport, the Naval Base, the DePaul medical facility, and the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel to the Penninsula & points north.

  3. would you be interested in attending a marketing workshop for Phase II of the Transit Vision Plan on Thursday, April 22nd 10am-1pm at VMASC, Suffolk? if so, email me for details. thanks for a great blog!

  4. Brad Robinson, DC says:

    This is a huge development. To maximize ridership the best choice is to link to the naval bases from Virginia Beach and eventually Chesapeake. The development around Wards Corner would phenomenal. It would be to our collective benefit to make sure this happens.

  5. Dawn C says:

    I wasn’t to sure about how productive the light rail was going to be in the beginning,but if they extend it to VA, Beach and to Wards Corner and the Naval Base then I think alot more people will use it and it may help traffic out some.I would take it from Wards Corner to the oceanfront just to avoid the beach traffic.

  6. Tim Smith says:

    I think this study backs up my argument a few years ago about bringing LRS (Light Rail Service) through Wards Corner, before the ODU LRS run. The Airport to Naval Base run has a larger service area than the Downtown to Naval Base run. Now that Va.Beach is talking about getting on board with LRS I think our leaders, or new leaders, need to rethink Norfolk’s plan and move the Airport to Naval Base run to the top of the list. It will take a full 10 to 12 years from now to get the ball moving and start running the first trains through Wards Corner. That would give the business and property owners the time they would need to start their planning and have everything in place for the first transit riders. The only thing holding Wards Corner back is the lack of a commitment by our leaders to set this plan into motion. Lets get rolling!

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