Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Really cool annual meeting for Richmond VA's Partnership for Smarter Growth: road trip

Promotional sign, Norfolk Tide light rail system, Virginia
The Partnership for Smarter Growth is the Richmond area advocacy group focused on smart growth, transit, and optimal decision making concerning land use and transportation policy generally.  Transit-wise, Richmond has a bus system, and railroad passenger service from Amtrak.

Last year, the Hampton Roads region saw the realization of the initial routing of light rail service, the TIDE system, which serves Norfolk, and is intended to be extended to Virginia Beach (a long story that...). 

The service is already significantly exceeding ridership estimates, with more than 7,000 daily riders.  Granted that's not very much compared to a bigger city with subway service, but is seen as an important milestone and indicator that transit can be successful in the Hampton Roads region.

So the PSG is organizing a bus trip to the Virginia High Speed Rail Association's annual meeting this year in this year in Norfolk, to see the service in action. I think they already have a busful of people committed to going.

I think that such a trip makes sense, because coming to a place like DC where thus far we have a subway, but not light rail or streetcar service, is probably overkill, because the Richmond region will never be able to justify subway service (you need 20,000 to 30,000 people/hour for multiple hours during the day to justify the added expense of subway servcie), but they can justify light rail and streetcar service, and the Tide light rail system is a good example of the kind of fixed rail transit service that is achievable in Richmond.

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