HRT announces additional light rail extension workshops

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Hampton Roads Transit and the City of Norfolk announced additional light rail extension workshops for the month of March. They hosted the first of three public workshops on the Naval Station Norfolk Transit Extension Study on February 24.

The study hopes to identify potential routes to connect The Tide with Naval Station Norfolk. The workshops build upon earlier workshops held in June and September when participants helped the study team identify travel challenges between The Tide and the Navy base and then possible corridors that would connect the two.Lauren Compton previews HRT light rail workshops

All workshops will take place from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and will have the same information.

More than 50 people attended the meeting February 24 at Granby High School, and were asked their preference on eight route options for expanding the Tide.

“This is just a pure conversation with the community to see what they would like to have the potential connection serve besides the naval base,” said Ray Amoruso, Chief Planning Officer for HRT.

HRT also asked where people want to see light rail go in the future — an overwhelming number said to the Oceanfront, second was Hampton, then Portsmouth.

“I’ve gone to Harbor Park, I would do the same to Town Center and all the way to the Oceanfront,” said Jim Beverly, an attendant at the HRT meeting. “Why not? You don’t have to worry about traffic jams or anything like that. ”

HRT officials say the meetings will give them an idea of which routes to select when it is time to narrow down the choices.

“There are common themes related to the need to stop at the airport as the light rail gets to the naval base, ” said Amoruso. “In the western corridor options, there is a big cluster around the Granby Street option going up the navy base and serving places like Wards Corner. There is also a strong preference for the Tidewater Drive option.”

Once HRT completes the workshops, they will present the information to Norfolk City Council. Then they will try to get funding to draft an environmental impact statement.

“That is where we finally get to do engineering,” said Amoruso. “And, we get some understanding of the environmental impact of the proposed alignments and start to flesh out capital to construct, cost to operate and maintain the system.”

The remaining workshops will be held at the following locations:

  •   Monday, March 24th, Mary D. Pretlow Anchor Branch Library, 111 W. Ocean View Ave., Norfolk, 23503. This meeting is served by HRT Routes 1, 3, and 5. Free parking is available in the library parking lot.
  •  Wednesday, March 26th, Norview Community Center, 6380 Sewells Point Rd., Norfolk, 23513. This meeting is served by HRT bus routes 3 and 9. Free parking is available in the community center parking lot.

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