Accidents in the tunnel. Another backup on 264. Virginia Beach Boulevard is underwater.
Let’s face it, our region is unpredictable when it comes to transportation. Even with a car, the commute can be filled with anxieties and stress. Is the person driving slowly in front of me a tourist or a local?
Today I hear quite a few of my students discuss their own transportation concerns. Students rely on the bus being on time, a bicycle not being stolen, having enough gas in the tank to make it to both class and work, or cars breaking down completely. Times can be tough for anyone, but students especially need proper transportation. Tidewater Community College (ranked best in the state of Virginia) has locations across Hampton Roads, and has continued to help students achieve their career goals for decades. Therefore, Tidewater Community College would benefit greatly from a mass transit rail line (Light Rail) in the Hampton Roads region.
Students would find it easier to reach the different campuses, as some programs and curriculum are campus specific, and more students would have transportation access, which increases enrollment. Tidewater Community College could also expand dual enrollment opportunities for high school populations seeking college credit — if they had the right transportation that is. If the Light Rail could stretch to all the campuses, greater collaboration could occur. The universities in the area–Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State, Old Dominion University, and Virginia Wesleyan College–would also see benefits.
The Light Rail could further cut down congestion on the roads around college campuses (see Hampton Boulevard at 5pm), assist our veteran populations with their own commutes, and help students who are without transportation explore the greater region. For all this to happen, my hometown of Virginia Beach needs to move forward with Light Rail this November 8th.
The movement opposing the light rail has posted images of a crying child to argue their point, but residents of Hampton Roads are not fooled by these cheap tactics. They are well aware of the racial overtones of the opposition movement.
If Virginia Beach has the moral courage and good sense to vote “yes” on the expansion, accessibility for more students can happen, not only for TCC, but for ODU and other colleges in our area. Students can find more reliable commutes and access their classroom no matter the city. Students (and their families) can more readily explore local businesses, local museums, and local sights.
The network created by Light Rail can bridge the colleges, bridge our communities, and bridge the cities. Is Virginia Beach ready to get on board?