By: Erica Greenway; WTKR.com
As Virginia Beach continues to explore the possibility of extending light rail into the city, there is a new route option they’re considering – taking light rail to Hilltop.
Although the city still hasn’t made any decisions about light rail, the possibility of going to Hilltop is one that some shoppers and business owners say they’re excited about.
Instead of going all the way down the former Norfolk Southern right-of-way, which extends from Newtown Rd. to Birdneck Rd., city planners are looking at possibly veering off of that track before reaching Birdneck, so that they could put a light rail stop in the heart of Hilltop, likely near First Colonial and Laskin.
The idea of bringing light rail to Hilltop started getting tossed around earlier this year as the city began developing a plan for the future of the Hilltop area.
The idea is still in the very early stages, but Mark Schnaufer with the city of Virginia Beach says they have brainstormed several different route options, trying to figure out how to get light rail to Hilltop, then to the oceanfront. It’s too soon to say if any of the route options would work or what it would cost, but Schnaufer said they have asked Hampton Roads Transit to take a look.
He also said they do not believe the city would need to buy more land if they decided to take light rail to Hilltop.
The city is looking to get input from people over the next few weeks about this and other ideas under consideration for the future of Hilltop.