Does that cover the total cost of operating the Tide?
No. In 2012, fares for Norfolk’s Tide covered 11% of the operating costs. The state covered 17%, the federal government covered 23% and the city covered 49%.
How many people are projected to ride the Tide in Virginia Beach?
Again, it depends on the route.
If the light rail line were built all the way to the Oceanfront via Hilltop/Laskin Road, total ridership would more than double – to about 16,665 per weekday.
The latest study includes ridership estimates for three options. All three estimates are for daily weekday riders during normal commuting hours – Monday to Friday 9-5.
The estimates do NOT cover nights or weekends, and therefore do NOT include tourists and day trippers going to the Oceanfront, or people going to restaurants and bars at Town Center or Hilltop, or to Norfolk destinations, like Harbor Park or MacArthur Center, from Virginia Beach. If these were included, the ridership estimates would be much higher.
Given that caveat, the daily weekday ridership estimates for the Virginia Beach portion alone are:
- Newtown Road to Rosemont Road – 3,370 per weekday (plus 7,180 riders in Norfolk)
- Newtown Road to the Oceanfront without the Hilltop option – 5,295 per weekday (plus 7,535 in Norfolk)
- Newtown Road to the Oceanfront via Hilltop – 8,845 per weekday (plus 7,820 in Norfolk)
The estimates also include a small addition for non-business trips during non-commuting hours that would raise the totals by roughly 3% to 9%.
Total ridership on the entire Tide light rail system is estimated to be 5.3 million riders a year if the Oceanfront route via Hilltop option is built.
How many stations are proposed for Virginia Beach? Where would they be?
- For the Rosemont Alignment, the following stations are proposed: Newtown (with Park and Ride), Witchduck (with Park and Ride), Independence (with Park and Ride) elevated options and Rosemont (with Park and Ride).
- For the Oceanfront Alignment (via former Norfolk-Southern right-of-way), the following stations are proposed: Newtown (with Park and Ride), Witchduck (with Park and Ride), Independence (with Park and Ride) elevated options, Rosemont (with Park and Ride), Lynnhaven (with Park and Ride),North Oceana (with Park and Ride),Convention Center and Oceanfront.
- For the Oceanfront Alignment (via Laskin Road via Hilltop), the following stations are proposed: Newtown (with Park and Ride), Witchduck (with Park and Ride), Independence (with Park and Ride) elevated options, Rosemont (with Park and Ride), Lynnhaven (with Park and Ride), Great Neck (with Park and Ride) elevated station, Hilltop West, Hilltop East (Park and Ride), Birdneck, Convention Center, and Oceanfront.
How long would a trip take?
About 55 minutes from one end to the other - EVMS/Fort Norfolk to the Oceanfront.
Does Virginia Beach already own the land for the track?
Most of it, yes. The city bought the Norfolk Southern right-of-way in 2010. This is the railroad track that runs from Newtown Road to Birdneck Road. The city might have to buy additional land if the route is changed at Laskin Road and Hilltop.
Could the existing track be reused?
No. Light rail requires a different type of track. Also, the existing track is only a single track. If light rail is built, it would require two tracks to allow for vehicles to pass each other. Additionally, the existing track is in extreme disrepair and would not be usable for cargo or passenger trains without significant repair.
Would the track cross major roads at grade or overhead?
Both. Bridges are proposed over four major roads – Witchduck Road, Independence Boulevard, Rosemont Road, Lynnhaven Parkway, Virginia Beach Blvd./Great Neck Road/Laskin Road and First Colonial Road - - depending on the alignment. Other roads would be crossed at grade.
The train tracks currently end at Birdneck Road. How would it get to the resort?
The preliminary plan would have the track run adjacent to Birdneck Road, 17th Street and 19th Streets, with stops at the Convention Center and the Dome site. The exact location would be determined during the design phase of the project.
Click for larger image
Why doesn't the alignment go to Hilltop?
Actually, we are looking into that possibility. The two alternatives shown below are being studied further for feasibility and cost/ridership estimates. This slide
shows a rendering of a possible stop at Laskin and First Colonial. These concepts are the results of the public involvement process in the Hilltop SGA
Click on map for larger image.
On April 24, 2012, City Manager Jim Spore formally requested that HRT study alternative alignments for Hilltop.
If Hilltop is added, would the train run in the median of Laskin Road or where the feeder roads are now? Where would the stations be?
The median would be used, with stations at Great Neck, Hilltop West, Hilltop East and Birdneck Road.
Are there plans to extend the light rail track elsewhere – to the airport, ODU, Norfolk Naval Station or other cities?
HRT is studying a possible Navy base extension, with possible links to ODU or the airport. Other extensions, at this point, are merely speculative. Click here to view the region’s long range transit plan. Click here
to view the region's long range transit plan. Back to Index
When and how often would it operate?
A light rail extension would mirror The Tides' schedule in Norfolk:
What was the result of the Nov. 6, 2012, referendum on the light rail question?
62.7% of Virginia Beach voters voted yes on this referendum question: Should the City Council adopt an ordinance approving the use of all reasonable efforts to support the financing and development of The Tide light rail into Virginia Beach?
What other public input has there been?
When the new HRT study began in 2009, the transit agency created a Citizens Advisory Committee to assist with the project development. It includes representatives from neighborhoods and business near the entire Norfolk Southern right-of-way. HRT also held several public informational meetings in Virginia Beach, at which citizens studied plans, questioned transit officials and offered their opinions, both verbally and in writing. In addition, there have been several sets of public meetings on the Virginia Beach Transit Extension Study in April 2013, September 2013 and February 2014.
Will there be more public meetings?
Yes. At least one public hearing will be hosted for the public to view and comment on the Virginia Beach Transit Extension Study Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) during the summer 2014.
Many more meetings will be held as the process moves forward.
Next milestone activities and dates include:
- Fall 2014: Complete Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and submit to FTA for review
- Winter 2015: Formal DEIS Public Comment Period and Public Hearings
- February 2015: Council selects Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) and completion of DEIS
- Spring 2015: Initiation of Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) by FTA
- Spring-Summer 2015: Adoption of the LPA into the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) by the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO) Board
- Spring 2016: Completion of EIS and Record of Decision (ROD) - if a Town Center or Rosemont alignment alternative is selected
- December 2016: Completion of EIS and Record of Decision (ROD) - if either of the Oceanfront alignment alternatives are selected