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Monday, October 20, 2008

HRMPO Meeting Last Thursday

Overall, the HRMPO went very well. Everyone who was anyone in transportation was there. Representatives from Hampton Roads Transit, Williamsburg Area Transit, VDOT, etc. In my opinion, the best speaker was Michael Townes, President & CEO of HRT. He said that that now is the time for regional mass transportation action. Mr. Townes believes that everybody should be able to choose their mode of transportation, calling that choice an ‘American Value,’ and also stating that currently, if you don’t drive you’re out of luck. He said that HRT was willing and able to increase the frequency and duration of bus service but is unable to due to the funding problem with the cities. Apparently Hampton Roads’ method of individual city payments is unique in that it is funded by property tax revenues, something that is not done anywhere else in the country. The general plan elsewhere is that there is some sort of dedicated funding system set up so that the property owners do not pay the majority of the money. Also, he called HRT “an amazing success,” saying that our area pays substantially less than another area would for similar service.

Next up was Vince Jackson, VP of Planning for HRT, who got up to speak on land use. He said that in order for mass transit to work most effectively, ever locality in Hampton Roads needed to work together to develop land use patterns that were less conducive to single occupancy vehicles and more conducive to mass transit.

After Jackson was Mr. Matthew Huston, and engineer for HNTB, the Planning firm responsible for the Transit Plan. Huston said that the current development patterns were unacceptable for the future and made it difficult for planners to create effective mass transit solutions. One of Huston’s main points was that whatever the solution was, it had to be multi-modal.

The end of the meeting was given to comments and questions. The largest portion of comments showed precisely what users would want in a mass transportation system. They spoke of fewer transfers, longer hours of operation, and ease of use.

Michael Townes, President & CEO, HRT (right) interviewed by 13 News, WVEC

1 comment:

thesh00ter said...

Hey good job. they gave u a lot of air time. hope to see this vision become reality

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