Vision Statement

The Oceanfront is the crown jewel of Virginia Beach, and has been a popular vacation spot for more than 100 years.
 
 
 
 
 
Steeped in history since the days of the old Princess Anne Hotel, the resort area has taken on greater importance over the years. It is our downtown. After the Navy, it is the biggest economic engine driving the city's economy. And, of course, it is the very definition of Virginia Beach's public image. When visitors come to our city, what they remember best is our beach, our Boardwalk and our resort area.
 
Our job is to maintain this precious asset and constantly improve it because:
 
  • Resort businesses provide thousands of jobs for our residents and millions of dollars in taxes that help keep the tax rate low for homeowners.
  • The public's perception of Virginia Beach depends on the quality of our resort area.
  • Water, sewer and traffic services in the area must be improved.
  • It is part of the rich quality of life that Virginia Beach residents enjoy.
 
The Laskin Road Gateway project is part of our long-term plan to enhance the resort area - economically and aesthetically. It ties into our other efforts to rejuvenate the aging Oceanfront neighborhood, to redevelop the Dome site and Rudee Loop, to bring a headquarters hotel to the Convention Center, and to beautify key corridors into the resort area.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
31st Street, from Baltic Avenue to the beach, has always been a "downtown" for local residents. Many retailers there have grown up with the Beach and have a dedicated local and tourist clientele. These shops form a core of what will be an eclectic and vibrant village-like setting. They will be joined by more restaurants, shops, outdoor cafes, condos and apartments.
 
We want to rejuvenate Laskin Road and make it more attractive by burying overhead utility lines and creating beautiful landscapes. We want to create a stronger magnet for new businesses. We want to upgrade aging water and sewer lines there, and improve congested traffic patterns. Finally, we want to offer local residents an exciting new spot to enjoy.

Laskin Road Gateway - Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the City doing the project?
Laskin Road has always been a sort of downtown for locals, and we don’t want to change that. But the area is showing its age and improvements need to be made. From a business point of view, it’s an important part of the resort area that must be preserved so we can attract visitors and more private businesses. And aesthetically, this is an opportunity to preserve what people love about the area and make it better. When it’s done, Laskin will be a small village area with quaint shops, cafes, apartments and condos.
 
What is the dollar amount of the public investment? What does that cover?
The entire project will cost $28.42 million. This will cover new water and sanitary sewer lines and duct banks (for relocation of overhead utilities) for $6.6 million; interim traffic improvements for $420,000; road, sidewalk, streetscape and drainage improvements for Laskin Road, Pacific Avenue, Arctic Avenue and 32nd Street for $13.7 million. Property acquisition is estimated to be $7.7 million.
 
What is the dollar amount of the private investment?
Gold Key/PHR plans to spend $60 million on one project, Beach Centre at 31st Street and Pacific Avenue. In addition, we believe the city improvements will draw many more private projects to the area. It’s impossible to predict the total amount of private investment in years to come.
 
What are the citizens gaining from this expenditure?
The benefits of this project to the citizens include upgrade of water and sanitary sewer facilities, improving the capacity of the existing storm water sewer system, removal of overhead power lines, street and traffic improvements, improved appearance and pedestrian amenities, improved traffic flow at the 30th Street/Laskin Road intersection, new jobs and services created by the private developments, and significant tax revenues which support services for citizens and help keep taxes as low as possible.
 
What will happen to the shops on Laskin? Will they survive?
The City is working with property owners and businesses affected by this project to minimize construction impacts as well as future development impacts. For all properties in the area the City is providing directional signs as needed and requested by businesses.
 
What opportunities has the public had to provide input on this project?
The Laskin Gateway project and the concept behind it has been included in several studies over the past 15 years. Common too all these studies is the idea that this area will evolve into a pedestrian-friendly mixed-use district of greater intensity. In each of the study phases there has been public involvement. The studies include: The Oceanfront Area Concept Plan -1994; Oceanfront Area Concept Plan - 1997; Laskin Road Phase 1 Corridor Plan - 2000; Laskin Road Gateway Design Guidelines - 2004; Oceanfront Area Design Guidelines - 2005; and the Resort Area Strategic Action Plan - 2008. Recent opportunities for public involvement included public meetings and charrettes related to the Resort Area Action Plan, and a public briefing in July 2009 for the Resort Civic League.
 
Was there ever any consideration given to using the area between 31st and 34th Streets as the pedestrian-friendly area instead of Laskin Road?
The 31st to 34th Street sections of Atlantic Avenue were improved with the Atlantic Avenue Improvement project and supports wide sidewalks, street trees, and pedestrian level retail facilities.
 
Why are we spending millions on a project to "re-do" something that was working just fine for the residents of the North End?
The area is aging, and this project will make it more attractive and modernize the infrastructure. That includes replacing old, substandard water and sewer pipes, improving drainage, burying overhead utility lines, and making road and streetscape improvements. This will make the area more attractive for shoppers and, we hope, draw more private businesses and redevelopment to the area. As part of this effort, we are changing the area’s traffic patterns – but that is not the project’s main goal.
 
Since many are not in favor of this project, can this plan be revised?
There are many opportunities for citizen input. Comments will be considered and balanced with overall costs, traffic studies and consensus of citizen comments. As the plans are developed, there will be several opportunities for meaningful revisions.
 
What are the capabilities of the CAC? Do we have any real impact?
The Laskin Road Gateway Citizen Advisory Committee is empowered to provide advisory comments regarding this project.
 
How can I keep track of which streets and intersections are open and closed during the project?
The construction schedule and current road closures are posted online at 
 
How long will all of this take?
The project is scheduled in four separate but related phases. Phase 1 of the project started the 2nd week of September 2009. The entire project including Phase 2 (Interim Traffic Improvements), Phase 3 (Laskin Road Improvements) and Phase 4 (32nd Street improvements) is planned to be completed by September 2012.

Will this affect tourist traffic in the summer?
Yes. Construction impacts during the summer season will affect Laskin Road between Arctic and Pacific Avenue during summer 2011 and 32nd Street during summer 2012.
 
How will the City help the businesses affected during construction?
The City is working with businesses to phase construction to minimize impact and maintain access to the businesses, providing signs to orient customers during construction. In some cases, the City will build temporary access improvements to provide parking and/or pedestrian walkways to allow customers to access businesses.
 
What work is being done during Phase I? Why is the City doing this work?
Phase I utility work includes replacing aging water and sanitary sewer pipes, installing large-diameter storm sewer pipes, and burying electrical and telecommunication lines. We need to upgrade the area's aging infrastructure. The utilities work will have a direct impact on the Laskin Road Gateway Project area and a significant portion of the resort area. The existing water and sanitary sewer pipes are 30 to 40 years old and are approaching the end of their useful lives. Burying private utilities will make the area more attractive. Completing this work now will help us avoid having to dig up newly built roads in the foreseeable future.
 
What area/population will benefit from the work?
The service area includes residents and businesses in the resort area from the 2800 to 3200 blocks of Arctic Avenue and 300 and 400 blocks of 32nd Street.
 
Why couldn't Laskin Road be left at five lanes?
It could be – if our only goal was to speed traffic as fast as possible through the area. But it’s not. We want to set the stage for an attractive, village-like community on Laskin/31st. That’s not possible if the street remains a five-lane thoroughfare. To create an area where people are comfortable strolling around on foot, doing some window shopping or stopping at a café, the number of cars needs to be minimized and their movement through the area has to be relatively slow. Running Laskin/31st only one lane in each direction is very important to creating that town square, village atmosphere. For cars that need to move quickly in and out of the area, through traffic will be channeled to 30th and 32nd Streets.
 
Can the left hand turning lane from 32nd to Holly Road be lengthened?
No left turn lane currently exists on 32nd to turn on to Holly Road. During Phase 4 of the project a left turn lane will be constructed on eastbound 32nd Street for turning movements on to Holly Road (northbound). Phase 4 will also construct a Thru/Left turn lane on westbound 32nd Street to address left turn movements on to Holly Road (southbound).
 
Is it possible to have two eastbound lanes on 32nd St?
Two eastbound lanes ARE being designed for 32nd Street. However, one lane will serve as a continuous left turn lane and the other lane will be the single thru lane.
 
Why not create a one-way pair of streets, with 30th Street leading to the beach and 32nd Street leading away from it?
One-way pairs can technically work and typically will move more traffic. But businesses in the area oppose that design. They believe it would hurt their businesses as customers have difficulty navigating the one-way roads. We agree. Also, building two busy, fast-moving thoroughfares in the heart of the district would hurt our efforts to create a relaxed, village-like atmosphere where people can shop, stroll, eat and live.
 
Are two westbound thru lanes necessary on 32nd St?
Yes. Two westbound lanes on 32nd Street will provide adequate capacity now AND for the design year of 2030. Traffic models also show that this laneage is required once parking garages are built in this area with their ingress and egress located on 32nd Street.
 
Will there be more lanes to accommodate the through traffic and new residents/offices/eateries that will be added to the landscape?
No, the total number of eastbound and westbound lanes between 32nd Street and 30th Street will not change with this project (lanes removed on 31st Street will be added to 32nd Street). However, the addition of turn lanes on 32nd Street, Laskin Road, and Holly Road as well as traffic signals placed at the 32nd Street/Holly Road Intersection and the 32nd Street/Pacific Avenue intersection will improve the traffic flow within this corridor. Note: During Phase 4, the existing signal at Laskin Road/Holly Rd and at Laskin Rd./Arctic Ave. will be removed and replaced with stop signs. These stop signs will be placed on Laskin Road, thus allowing a free flow movement of traffic in the north-south direction through these two intersections.
 
Why is there a traffic circle? Are there alternatives to the traffic circle? Can the traffic circle be moved to Baltic and Laskin?
Modern roundabouts move traffic more efficiently by eliminating the backups caused by traffic signals. A traffic signal at the proposed 30/32nd Street intersection was evaluated, however, the traffic studies and models have indicated there will be a significant back up of traffic travelling east bound on Laskin Road with this signal as opposed to the modern roundabout. Moving the roundabout to Baltic and Laskin would impact more private property and business than its current location at 30th Street and Laskin Road.
 
Will there be a sign at the roundabout that directs tourists to the resort area? (Google directs you through Laskin Rd)
Good suggestion. We will consider it.
 
How many traffic lights will be added to that area?
Two traffic signals will be added and two will be removed.
 
Won't all those traffic lights slow down traffic through the area?
Although two new signals are being installed as part of Phase 2, two others are being removed (Laskin/Holly and Laskin/Arctic) as part of Phase 4. The addition of turn lanes as part of this project will improve the movement of traffic within the Laskin Gateway.
 
Is parallel parking necessary? Why?
Parallel parking is proposed on the Laskin Road improvements to provide some short term parking for the area. In addition, parallel parking provides a buffer from pedestrian areas and businesses.
 
Will there be diagonal parking on south side of Laskin Road?
Diagonal parking is not proposed on the south side of Laskin Road in order to allow for wider sidewalks, streetscape improvements, and parallel parking. In addition the improvements will allow for expansion of the businesses to the existing property lines.
 
How will we alternate traffic exiting the big new parking lot?
New parking to the Beach Centre development is proposed to be from 32nd Street.
 
Regarding Pinewood Road: Is a "No Left Turn" under consideration?
An alternative for No Left Turn, also known as "Right in Right Out" could be considered for Pinewood Road. There has been support as well as opposition of this alternative.
 
What improvements will be done on Holly Rd & Pinewood to accommodate increased traffic?
On Holly Road proposed interim traffic improvements include widening of Holly Road to provide a right turn lane travelling north bound at 32nd Street; and widening of Holly Road at Laskin Road to allow for improved left turns from Laskin Road. Although traffic patterns will change in the Laskin Gateway, no significant increase in traffic volume is anticipated on Holly Road north of 32nd Street or on Pinewood Road, both of which are in residential areas.
 
When did the concept plan change to have the north side of the loop go down Pinewood and through the townhouses?
The concept plan is at best a preliminary understanding of future improvements to an area, the concept plans (there were at least two) were developed based on preliminary planning and information, as the project progressed, the concepts were further developed due to actual conditions, grades and more detailed civil and traffic engineering analysis.
 
Won't there be a backup created when Linkhorn Park/Bay Colony residents want to make the left onto Pinewood from Laskin Rd?
Currently a thru/left turn lane and right turn only lane on Holly Road are proposed at the 32nd Street Pinewood Road Intersection. This additional lane will improve the current PM traffic congestion at this intersection. A left turn lane will be provided in the new link between Laskin Road and 32nd Street to allow for storage of vehicles that want to turn left on to Pinewood. The thru lane in this section will allow the other vehicles to continue down 32nd Street without impeding the flow of traffic that wants to turn left on to Pinewood Road.
 
How will residents of the North End get home under this new scenario?
Vehicles travelling to the North End will have more choices and more turn lanes. Routes will include Laskin to Holly Road, Arctic Avenue, and/or Pacific Avenue; and, 32nd Street to Holly Road or Pacific Avenue. The 32nd Street route would include more lanes on 32nd Street and designated left turn lanes at Holly Road and Pacific Avenue.
 
Will the Laskin Gateway allow for bike paths? How will sidewalks and bike paths fit into the idea for a roundabout/traffic circle? Will there be sidewalks west of the circle?
The Laskin Road Gateway will provide new wider sidewalks, and a minimum of 5 foot wide sidewalks through and around the roundabout. The City is evaluating alternatives to provide improved bicycle amenities, however, widening the roads for on-road bicycle lanes will have significant impact to the cost of the project and/or the lane widths and configurations due to the need for additional property acquisition.
 
Where are the sidewalks on the 32nd Street extension?
Sidewalks are proposed on both sides of 32nd Street throughout the project and through and adjacent to the roundabout.
 
Is there a formal safety plan for the proposed traffic arrangement? Have Fire & Rescue submitted comments/concerns?
The turning radius and width of emergency vehicles have been considered in this design. The lane width in the roundabout is designed to be 20 feet wide which will allow for easy passage of emergency vehicles. The radius of the roundabout and at street corners have been specified to allow unobstructed passage of an emergency vehicle. Public Safety has not submitted any formal comments regarding this project.
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