Some preliminary Light Rail extension routes come through Wards Corner

February 14, 2014
Potential Light Rail Extension Routes

Potential Light Rail Extension Routes

The Norfolk Naval Base Light Rail Extension Study is underway.  As a result of a number of public meetings, 17 different preliminary routes for the extension have been identified with a number of those preliminary routes coming through Wards Corner.

Here is the complete PDF document with all of the preliminary routes identified thus far:  Norfolk Naval Base Light Rail Study_Prelim options (PDF).  These routes are not exclusive; the final route may very well be a combination of the preliminary routes or a completely different route.

Hampton Roads Transit will be holding more public input meetings to receive input on the preliminary routes.  The public is invited and encouraged to attend.  Those meetings are scheduled as follows:

Feb. 24, 6p to 7:30, Granby High School

Feb. 25, 6p to 7:30, ODU,  Ted Constant Convocation Center

Feb. 26, 6p to 7:30, Downtown Marriott

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WCN Meeting Recap: Crosswalks, Planters, Light Rail, etc.

April 19, 2010

Wards Corner Now had a meeting on April 17, 2010 at the Fitness and Wellness Center.  As is customary with WCN meetings, the facilitator of the meeting is rotated month-to-month.  Dr. Brad Robinson was nice enough to head this meeting.  Topics covered were: Mayor Fraim, Blessed Sacrament, DePaul Medical Center, Norfolk Collegiate, Crosswalks, Planters, Light Rail, Upcoming Elections, and the Agenda’s for the May and June meetings.  Mayor Fraim was present as were City Council candidates Barbara Saunders and Andy Protogyrou.  Below is a short summary, nothing is verbatim.

Mayor Paul Fraim:  The meeting started with Dr. Robinson recognizing Mayor Fraim and asking him to address those present.  The Mayor spoke briefly about his campaign and indicated that he looks forward to things happening soon at Wards Corner.

Blessed Sacrament:  Jim McDonnell reported that Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church is undergoing a renovation and expansion of its social hall.  He expects this to be a nice addition to both the church and our neighborhood.

DePaul Medical Center:  The representative from DePaul declined to attend or provide any updates at this time as they are still in the conceptual phase.  It was reported that charette’s will be held and the surrounding residents will be invited.  The possibility of a traffic circle and a “medical campus” design were also reported by some of those present.

Norfolk Collegiate:  Mr. Kennedy, the headmaster of Norfolk Collegiate, was invited to attend the meeting and provide an update with regards to fundraising and construction of the new Arts center.  Unfortunately he had a prior engagement and he plans on being present at the May meeting.

Proposed Crosswalk at Granby Elementary

Proposed Crosswalk at Granby Elementary

Crosswalks:  Louis Eisenberg reported that he was approached by City Traffic Engineer, Guzin Akan, regarding the construction, or reconstruction, of crosswalks in and around the Wards Corner Business District as well as in front of Granby Elementary School.  He reported that a proposed crosswalk in front of Granby Elementary included “bump outs” where the road would be narrowed to two lanes.  The bumpouts are intended to slow traffic and to create an shorter and safer path for the children to cross.  This crosswalk is expected to cost $59,000.

Proposed Crosswalk Locations

Proposed Crosswalk Locations

In addition, Ms. Akan has identified seven (7) crosswalks in and around the Business District that either need to be added or reconstructed.  To reconstruct the crosswalks with the up-to-date resin product that would match what is located at the intersection of Granby and Little Creek Rd would cost $30,000 – $50,000 for each crosswalk.  The question posed by the City and by those present at the meeting:  Should the City spend money on the crosswalks now or later after construction has completed.  Some compromised solutions were discussed as well, such as just constructing some of the crosswalks now.

Example of "Resin" Crosswalk

Example of "Resin" Crosswalk

Guzin Akan will be at the Taskforce meeting on May 13 to further discuss her proposal.

Planters:  Joan Griffey offered a report on the planters that have been requested for the Business District.  She reported that the holdup is largely caused by the City Manager’s office.  She reported that the Mayor has agreed that we should receive the planters and that he does not believe residents should be required to sign a contract and maintain public planters.  The City Managers office, on the other had, is adamant that some person or group sign a contract to take care of the plants.

Light Rail:  Reference was made to the 2009 Hampton Roads Transit proposal running light rail through Wards Corner.  Both Barbara Saunders and Andy Protogyrou spoke about running light rail down Granby Street from downtown as a way to boost economic development in Riverview, at the zoo, etc.  Andy Protogryou suggested having someone from economic development come talk at the next meeting about the possible routes that light rail may take.

Upcoming Elections: Andy Protogryou and Barbara Saunders gave a short speech about their campaigns for City Council.  They will both be at the Wards Corner Civic League candidate forum on Monday, April 19, 2010 at the Fitness and Wellness Center at 6:45pm.  That will be the last forum scheduled forums for both of their campaigns.

May Meeting Agenda: The next councilperson for Ward 1, Representative from DePaul, Representative from Norfolk Collegiate, possible Guzin Akan.

June Meeting Agenda: Rick Henn?City Development to talk about Light Rail in Wards Corner.


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.


Light Rail in Wards Corner a Dream, says Wright

June 26, 2008

A group from the Wards Corner Partnership attended the Ocean View Taskforce meeting this morning at the new Pretlow Library at the invitation of Councilman Randy Wright.  When prompted about light rail coming to Wards Corner,  Wright described it as a dream.  It is not on any drawing boards at this time, as the preferred route would go past ODU to the Naval Base.

Henry Ryto, Chairman of HRT’s User Citizen Advisory Committee, was present at this morning’s meeting and his comments, which were posted on the UrbanPlanet forums are below:

The blog Wards Corner Now overhyped the meeting. No announcement on extensions this morning.

1. HRT, beginning at this afternoon’s Commission meeting, will start a “visioning process” on where LRT should go.

2. Randy Wright said, “We want to go to Old Dominion University…We want to go to the Naval base.”

3. Eventually he’d like to see a line from Hampton Boulevard to Ocean View via Wards Corner.

I should have slept in.


Old Trolley Route

January 29, 2008

The following is an editorial written by Tim Smith and printed in the Virginian-Pilot this past weekend titled “Old trolley route”:

Now that everything is a go with light rail in Norfolk and The Tide is moving forward, Norfolk must begin to move on the Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan. Looking at aerial images of Norfolk, extending light rail from the Saint Paul’s area of the city to the beaches of Ocean View via Fenchurch, Church and Granby streets seems to makes perfect sense.

This route uses old trolley rights-of-way laid down decades ago but, for the most part, still maintained as public land. It cuts through the center of Norfolk and would serve more residents than a Hampton Boulevard route.

This route ties together five retail areas (Ocean View, Wards Corner, Riverview, 21st Street and Downtown). It also ties together the Virginia Zoo, Lafayette Park and Ocean View Beach Park. And it would provide access to DePaul Medical Center.

In addition, this route links Naval Station Norfolk to a large number of condo units. Tying light rail to the Peninsula would also be easy from the Wards Corner area.

For this extension of light rail to work efficiently and cost effectively, the revitalization of Wards Corner must begin now. That way, the infrastructure will be in place to just continue on with the light rail system when the downtown line is completed.

For light rail to truly work in Norfolk, The Tide must benefit those in the core neighborhoods as well as downtown.

Timothy P. Smith

Norfolk


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