Fairfax Gets It, Why Can’t We?

9 12 2009

Fairfax recently released a new 10-year plan aimed at making transit travel more attractive the vehicle travel. The plan would increase service and frequency, create new routes, and use innovative techniques such as tying traffic lights to bus schedules, so that they never wait at lights. They also plan on utilizing dedicated bus lanes and fixed-route-style fare collection on some bus routes to speed the buses through stops. These new routes, including their already planned BRT routes, would work in unison with METRORail to make transit commutes faster than traditional, usually single-occupant, private car transportation.

My only question is why can Hampton Roads not come up with something this comprehensive. We did work on a plan for the future of transit but it seems to be viewed more as a dream and less of an actual this-is-what-we-need-to-work-for plan. Think about it. You see city after city create plans and actually follow them. Our area can do that too. Virginia Beach has been working on the Southeastern Parkway for 23 years now because it falls into their now-outdated plans to make the Corporate Landing office park successful. Why can’t we work this hard to make transit plans come through? If you ask any city, they will tell you that they want it to work, but nobody seems to be actually pushing for it.

In my opinion, the reason for the lack of drive for this issue is the lack of regional cooperation. Fairfax’s plan will work and has support because it only deals with one locality, Fairfax County. It ties into existing routes that go into other municipalities, but the plan itself, only expands service inside county lines. Here, however, our plan encompasses Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, James City County, and York County. In fact part of our Transit Vision Plan extends service toward Moyock, NC. How in the world do our leaders think that they can make something this expansive work if they can’t make simpler regional systems work. It is hard enough to get two cities to work on a bus route together let alone a system including both light rail and commuter rail. We need a functional regional government. If our localities could combine services and resources, we could actually overcome the problems that we face now. Look around. we are facing budget cuts all the time and money can no longer be guaranteed by the state. We have to help ourselves. Nobody else is coming to our rescue.

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Better Get Ready To Walk

17 11 2009

The Future of Hampton "Crumbling" Roads

The state is getting ready to cut another billion dollars from VDOT. This is in addition to the over $3 billion that has already been cut out.We already can no longer afford to build roads or even maintain them. Now, we will be unable to plan and design them, meaning that we will be ineligible for future federal stimulus money that requires projects be ‘shovel-ready.’ In other words, you might want to look at moving closer to your work, because in the not-to-distant future, the roads will not only be completely gridlocked, but also reverting to gravel. We need to think outside of the box on this. We can no longer rely on the State legislature to fund our transportation projects. We have to start looking at options that we would have thought unthinkable in years past. Nobody wants tolls or new taxes. But I can guarantee you that there are even fewer people that want to have to walk to work because our roads are closed or crumbling. To make it worse, our new Governor wants to pay for roads with education money and money from profit sharing oil operation off of the coast of Virginia. We need to make it known to our representatives that we will not tolerate lack of action.

Either we act now to raise money for our roads or we need to raise money for new welcome signs. They will read:

Welcome to _______
A Hampton ‘Crumbling’ Roads Community
Proudly Sponsored By:
Fix-A-Flat