Photos by Sara Kidd
Nearly 300 regional leaders and citizens from both the Peninsula and the Southside gathered at Old Dominion University’s (ODU) Ted Constant Center on May 17, 2012 for the Hampton Roads Reality Check event. The task at hand was to decide where the 350ꯠ more people projected to live in Hampton Roads by 2035 will live, work, and play. That is equivalent to adding another Hampton and Chesapeake to the region.
There were 30 different tables and each group discussed how to distribute housing units and jobs by placing LEGOs on a large map of the region without any jurisdictional boundaries. The participants were also encouraged to use markers and string to indicate where they wanted to plan new roads, mass transit, or preserve conservation areas.
The preliminary results of the exercise were compiled during the lunch hour and presented to the participants in the afternoon. There was a strong consensus among all the tables toward urban redevelopment and development along existing transportation corridors. The participants also highly favored more mass transit, envisioning high speed rail extensions not only to the Oceanfront in Virginia Beach but also up the I-64 corridor on the Peninsula as well. Some tables got creative and proposed a high speed ferry system throughout Hampton Roads.
The final results from the event will be compiled into a report to be distributed later this summer. The results will also be shared with local elected officials at a future HRPDC board meeting. ODU’s E.V. Williams Center for Real Estate and Economic Development (CREED) will be analyzing and summarizing the results and producing the final report.
The Reality Check Hampton Roads event was presented by the Hampton Roads Chapter of the Urban Land Institute (ULI). ULI developed this event which has been held in several other regional throughout the country including Baltimore, Washington DC, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Tampa Bay. Supporting partners of Reality Check Hampton Roads include Old Dominion University, CREED, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization, and the Hampton Roads Partnership.
For more about Hampton Roads Reality Check, visit http://www.realitycheckhr.org