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HRT to host open houses on Virginia Beach Transit Extension Study

Hampton Roads Transit invites the public to attend any of eight public open houses to learn more about the Virginia Beach Transit Extension Study (VBTES). The study is examining the best transit options available for a former freight rail right of way that runs from Newtown Road to Birdneck Road in Virginia Beach, with options for new transit service east of Birdneck to the Oceanfront.

At the request of Virginia Beach, HRT asked the Federal Transit Administration on Sept. 6, 2012 to consider two new alternatives to the existing study, including two new route alignments to the Hilltop area along Laskin Road.

Altogether, four transit modes are being considered: extending The Tide light rail into Virginia Beach, building a bus rapid transit line, enhancing local bus service, or doing nothing at all. The study also will document the impacts on the natural, physical and human environment of each alternative.

Maps, display boards, information on the modes of transportation being considered and proposed timelines will be available to help people understand the project.

Completion of the VBTES does not guarantee a light rail extension into Virginia Beach. It is a study document that will provide the city with important information about cost, ridership and land use impacts to help guide a decision on how to proceed.

The open houses will be held at the following locations and times:

·Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, 1000 19th St. from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. An information booth will be set up at the Hampton Roads Sustainable Living Expo.  This location is served by Routes 960 and 20 (Route 20 via Virginia Beach Blvd.).

·Wednesday, Oct. 10, at the Association for Research and Enlightenment, 215 67th St., Virginia Beach, from 6-8 p.m. This location is served by Route 33 although service ends in the early evening.

· Monday, Oct. 15, at the Advanced Technology Center, Tidewater Community College, 1700 College Cres., Virginia Beach, from 6-8 p.m. This location is served by Routes 12, 25, 26, 33 and 36.

·Wednesday, Oct. 17, at HRT’s Silverleaf Transfer Center, 3400 Commuter Dr., Virginia Beach, from 2-5 p.m. This location is served by Routes 36, 960, 918 and 919.

·Monday, Oct. 22, at Thalia Elementary, 421 Thalia Rd., Virginia Beach, from 6-8 p.m. This location is served by Route 20 (via Virginia Beach Blvd.).

·Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Meyera Oberndorf Public Library, 4100 Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. This location is served by Route 20.

·Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Williams Farm Recreation Center, 5252 Learning Cir., Virginia Beach, from noon-3 p.m.  This location is currently not serviced by public transit.

·Thursday, Nov. 1, at Seatack Elementary School, 912 S. Birdneck Rd., Virginia Beach, from 6-8 p.m. This location is served by Route 33 (via General Booth Blvd.).

Virginia Beach will hold a non-binding referendum on November 6 to gauge the public’s support for continued study of a possible extension of The Tide into the city.

To learn more about the Virginia Beach Transit Extension Study, or any of Hampton Roads Transit’s services, please visit www.gohrt.com.

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