Connecting to Naval Station Norfolk with High Capacity Transit

Addressing mobility concerns to Naval Station Norfolk is a vital regional interest. It is the largest naval base in the world and is the region’s largest employment center. Between 60,000 to 70,000 people may be working at the base and nearby facilities at any given time. Just over 30 percent of the commuters to the base live in Norfolk.

The Naval Station Norfolk Transit Extension Study, completed in 2015, started the process of evaluating potential extensions of high capacity transit to the base. It identified an East and West corridor option, each with a different purpose and need. After reviewing of the study, the Federal Transit Administration directed HRT to identify a reasonable alternative (transit path/route) in the West corridor before entering the environmental impact review process. A new study — the Norfolk Westside Transit Study — will focus on this task.

The Norfolk Westside Transit Study effort, conducted jointly between HRT and the City of Norfolk, commences in April 2017. It will be complete in approximately 12 months, exploring a potential connection from The Tide light rail system along the westside of Norfolk to the Navy base. It is funded by a federal grant and will identify:

  • A solution that addresses the defined Purpose and Need for high capacity transit extending to the Navy Base in the western part of the City.
  • An alignment that connects the existing Tide to Naval Station Norfolk in a cost effective and sustainable manner.
  • A solution that can effectively compete for federal funding under the federal New Starts Funding Program.
  • A resilient alignment solution that addresses serious flooding challenges.

The Naval base is a critical destination, but it’s not the only focus. The transit extension should connect many points within the City of Norfolk, not just with Naval Station Norfolk. Therefore, the Norfolk Westside Transit Study will examine the transportation needs of other key destinations including Old Dominion University (ODU), the Ghent area, commercial and retail on Colley Avenue and 21st Street, 35th Street, and adjacent communities. Ultimately, an extension from The Tide starter line to the Naval Base should provide a reasonable transportation alternative to driving a car in heavy traffic and congestion. A “fixed guideway” connection (such as light rail) between The Tide and the base should make travel time more reliable. It also should provide parking for transit riders and allow them to connect to other transit modes. Stay up-to-date on the progress by visiting gohrt.com