The City of Virginia Beach is looking at trading access roads for light rail.
“It’s ridiculous. They’re archaic,” said Scott Pachter of Norfolk. “The time has come to just get rid of them.”
Virginia Beach has asked Hampton Roads Transit to explore rerouting the proposed Beach Tide path along Laskin Road.
The project’s exact costs are unknown, but it would be in the hundreds of millions.
An extension to Hilltop would push the cost up at least 25 percent and potentially bring the bill of light rail to the Oceanfront to over one billion dollars.
“I’m really nervous about the open-ended aspect of it,” said Mike Wood of Virginia Beach. “There doesn’t seem to be a cap on it.”
One proposal calls for the light rail track to take up the median at Laskin Road.
The access roads would be eliminated and the Laskin lanes would be expanded.
“As a local, I don’t like it that much but from a business standpoint, it’d be great for the city,” Wood said.
HRT says light rail isn’t the only option. Bus lines could be improved as well to serve the area.
This isn’t a simple, “build it and they will come” situation though.
Public transit thrives in areas that are walkable, something Hilltop is not.
Navigating the strip malls by foot is something Michelle Luke knows all too well.
She plays frogger every day crossing the eight lanes of traffic.
“They don’t even think to look on the two sides,” Luke said. “Cars will tell you it’s okay to move, but they gotta realize there’s traffic coming from six different directions, too.”