I can’t imagine the planning and hard work that goes into bringing something like light rail to a city- there are so many factors that have to be considered. I walk, ride my bike and sometimes jog along the light rail path in Downtown Norfolk and on Sunday, August 29, I joined some members of the Downtown Norfolk Civic League to look at the progress and also note any safety, accessibility and aesthetic issues along the track.
Many of us took pictures and notes and the DNCL President will share them with Hampton Roads Transit and city leaders.
So, what did we find? Accessibility is an issue in some spots along the path.
Downtown Norfolk resident, Greg Harris, who uses a wheelchair, couldn’t safely navigate on the sidewalk in some spots.
There are even some blind spots on Plume Street where pedestrians have to be careful on the sidewalks and in the street. Many folks said women wearing spiky or high heeled shoes could trip when walking across the tracks.
As for aesthetics- some folks noted the difference in shades of green paint on the light poles. At first, I didn’t see it, but then I noticed there are poles with dark green flat paint, some with dark green glossy paint, then there’s a lighter green. We really noticed a lot of overgrown weeds and trash in the islands where the rail transmitter poles are. I wonder how difficult it is to keep construction sites clean.
The stations aren’t complete, but the group seems to think they won’t be as nice looking and welcoming as they could be.
Someone noted the wires that hang right below a condo window at Charlotte and Granby Street. If you see the artist’s rendering there are no wires above the light rail trains. Hmmmm….
So, what do you think about the light rail path? Any trouble walking or driving around downtown so far?
HRT says it will conduct safely and security drills with fire, police and emergency responders in different parts of the light rail line and they’ll see how folks respond to the posted signs and instructions.
For more information, visit HRT’s website or call (757) 222-6100.