Wednesday, June 6

Riding the Tide in Norfolk

Last week I had a chance to ride the Tide light rail, an addition to the transportation system in Norfolk, Virginia that's coming up on one full year of operation. We utilized the park and ride at the Newtown Road Station, at the eastern end of the line, and traveled to MacArthur Square in the center of Norfolk. Conveniently, the same day pass could be used for the ferry to Portsmouth, so we walked the two blocks down to the port and crossed the river just in time to serendipitously catch a Memorial Day parade down High Street.

It's not exactly obvious that the Tide, in its current form, would be successful. The Hampton Roads region is not terribly dense. Robert Cervero has estimated that light rail needs an average of 30 people per gross acre around the stations to be in the top quarter of cost-effective transit systems in the country. The stations along the Tide average around 5 people per gross acre. Overall public transportation ridership in the Hampton Roads area has been very much below the national average, a statistic that does not bode well for new investment. On top of this, the route defies a fairly standard rule of transit planning. A transit system ideally should have destinations at both ends, in order to maximize usage for both directions of travel. When Virginia Beach decided to opt out, it left the end of the line stranded in the middle.

Yet the service has done fairly well in terms of actual ridership. Between August 2011 and February 2012, weekday trips have average around 4,700, which significantly exceeds the initial 2,900 projection for the first year. (I wonder if ridership might be undercounted somewhat. On our way back to the parking lot, I noticed that some riders who were done for the day handed off their day pass to strangers who were just arriving.)

However, it's still several decades too early to adequately judge the Tide. Like all infrastructure, the Tide will likely shape the conditions of its own success over time. The Newtown Road station might remain a park-and-ride because of its highway access, but I can imagine a sizable parking garage being erected next door as demand grows. It's already the most popular station. Light rail shifts some burden of parking away from downtown, so that the more valuable downtown land can be redeveloped into more productive uses.

The stations in between are poised for transit-oriented development. Norfolk planners have anticipated this and specifically zoned the areas around these stations to utilize the infrastructure to its fullest extent. Neighborhood associations in the area are also supportive. Ironically, the same low densities around the stations that might have caused elected officials to think twice about the whole project could be a net benefit. There's potential.

The long-term success of the Tide will ultimately depend on its expansion to other major destinations in the region, especially the Virginia Beach oceanfront and the Norfolk Navy Base. The City of Virginia Beach seems to be warming to the idea. Their 2009 Comprehensive Plan designated most of the proposed corridor for growth, and identified light rail as a viable transportation alternative. Then, the city purchased right-of-way that could be used for the alignment in 2010. Once again, Virginia Beach will hold a referendum on light rail.  In November, voters will decide whether to use "reasonable efforts to support the financing and development of The Tide light rail into Virginia Beach."


Eric Orozco said...

Good point about the resource low density represents. It is like a reserve for growth, and the Hampton Roads area is so geographically constricted in many directions that it simply can't sprawl out easily to meet future demand for growth.
That is a really good situation for TOD growth. Note also that the Hampton Roads area, like many bay area metropolitan areas, has very direct and linear urban areas along peninsulas, and the region is full of chokepoints, which can give transit advantage. Secondly, with multiple city centers and Virginia Beach you can provide good anchors for transit lines criss-crossing Norfolk.
That's a great infill strategy for growth.

comment maigrir said...

Ca donne envie de s'y promener malgré tout :)

Atlantic Developments said...

Great post, you have pointed out some superb details, I will tell my friends that this is a very informative blog thanks.

Impress villas said...

Apartment for sale in javea

Great post! i have great idea From this post thanks.....

Croose Hackle said...

It's not a question of if, but when. At some point, your garage door or gate will need some sort of repair. Doors In Motion is a fully insured company that can handle anything from general maintenance, repair or even full replacement of garage doors and gates. We will always provide our customers a free onsite estimate and give them options on how we can safely get them up and running. We understand that your time is important, so it is our goal to serve you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and at no extra charge. Here are options fort worth garage door repair, fort worth garage door services, fort worth garage door installation and fort worth garage door sales.

Unknown said...

DLTK-Playing cards custom writing Paper - DLTK-Cards gives this completely customizable procustomwriting project for youngsters. Just select the style and follow the prompts to create a personalized design and print.

Luton Airport Parking said...

Riding in that train would be a good experience for you.
luton airport meet and greet parking

Daisy Parker said...

Most of the people enjoy that ride, hope you are one of them too.
Luton parking meet and greet

شركة المثالية لتنظيف said...

شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض

hooda games said...

gathered useful information on this point . Thank you posting relative information and its now becoming easier to complete this assignment

abcya | brainpop

نور الهدى said...

شركة اعالي الخليج للنقل
شركة نقل عفش من الرياض الى الاحساء
شركة ديكورات بالرياض
شركة نقل عفش بنجران شركة نقل عفش بجازان
شركة شحن من الرياض لمصر من الباب للباب
شركة نقل عفش بتبوك افضل نقل عفش في تبوك شركة نقل عفش من تبوك الى الرياض

Sam Anderson said...

I would also love to have a ride this Tide light rail because it looks nice travelling experience. I like this post and thanks for sharing it. luton airport valet parking

كشف تسربات المياه بالرياض said...

Transfer to Riyadh is cheap
Home Services in Riyadh
Insulation Foam in Riyadh
Detection of water leaks in Dammam
Fighting insects in Riyadh
Insulation of roofs in Riyadh
Detection of water leaks in Riyadh
Sewage cleaning company in Riyadh

sh3ban osama said...

اصبحت سيدات المنازل تعانى الكثير اثناء تنظيف المنزل لعدم وجود الوقت الكافى كما انها تشعر بالتعب الشديد بعد الانتهاء لما توجه من عناء كبير من حمل السجاد والموكيت لتنظيفه وايضا لتحريك المجالس والكنب لتنظيف اسفلها لذالك توفر لكم شركة مكانك افضل شركة تنظيف منازل وفلل ومجالس وموكيت بالمنطقة الشرقية بافضل معدات التنظيف والسوائل المنظفة والمعطرة كما نوفر ايضا خدمات تركيب طار حمام واتخلص من الحمام وما يسببمه من مشاكل كثير فى اتساخ المنزل لذالك نوفر لكم افضل طرق المكافحة التامة للحمام . شركة تنظيف بالدمام
شركة تنظيف بالخبر
شركة تنظيف بالجبيل
شركة تنظيف بالقطيف
شركة تنظيف بالاحساء
تركيب طارد حمام بالدمام
تركيب طارد حمام بالاحساء
تركيب طارد حمام بالقطيف
تركيب طارد حمام بالجبيل
ركيب طارد حمام بالخبر