By: Jon Cawley; DailyPress.com
Public comment opportunities are currently available regarding three separate studies looking into various aspects of Hampton Roads transportation.
The Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization has posted on its website draft versions of a military commuter survey, a regional freight study and a report on the users of the region’s three current tolling facilities.
Key among the findings was that 90.4 percent of respondents drive alone to/from work while 77 percent listed traffic congestion as the biggest problem they face. Additionally, 29 percent said they don’t use public transit because it takes too long; 40 percent said enhanced transit services would influence them to choose an alternate mode; and 60 percent said rail was the transit mode they are most interested in that isn’t currently available.
The public comment period ends Wednesday, Aug. 1.
•Users of Existing Toll Facilities in Hampton Roads: This report examined E-Z Pass data mined from the Coleman Bridge,Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and Chesapeake Expressway between April 1, 2011, and March 31, 2012. Among the findings, two-axle vehicles with a Hampton Roads ZIP code spent more than $2.7 million at the Coleman Bridge during the study period. The study found that E-Z Pass holders with a Hampton Roads ZIP code comprised 81 percent of trips over the Coleman Bridge compared to 20 percent and 14 percent at the Chesapeake Expressway and Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel respectively.
Comment period ends Wednesday, July 25.
•Hampton Roads Regional Freight Study — 2012 update: This report analyzed existing and projected conditions regarding foreign and domestic freight movement to, from and within Hampton Roads.
Comment period ends Wednesday, Aug. 1.
All three reports may be viewed at http://www.hrtpo.org where instructions on how to comment are also posted.
Last week, Thelma Drake, executive director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, said Dec. 12, 2012, was a “firm” date for the beginning of Amtrak service from Norfolk.
Drake said tickets are not yet on sale because departure and arrival times have yet to be established. She anticipated tickets would go on sale by the end of July.
Fast ferry query
A reader inquired about a company’s proposal to create a fast ferry commuter service linking multiple sites on the Peninsula and South Hampton Roads. She wanted to know how users will get around without a car once their transit is complete.
In short, the proposal is in a conceptual stage and a lot of details have yet to be worked out. That said, the company is working with Hampton Roads Transit to develop a demonstration route. Indications are the ferry system would tie in to existing public transit options such as bus and light rail.