Wyatt Gordon covers transportation, housing, and land use for the Mercury through a grant from the Piedmont Environmental Council and the Coalition for Smarter Growth. The Mercury retains full editorial control. Wyatt is a born-and-raised Richmonder with a master’s in urban planning from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and a bachelor’s in international political economy from the American University in Washington, D.C. Most recently he covered transportation as Greater Greater Washington’s Virginia correspondent. Previously he’s written for the Times of India, Nairobi News, Honolulu Civil Beat, Style Weekly and RVA Magazine. He also works as a policy manager for land use and transportation at the Virginia Conservation Network. Contact him at [email protected]
How to bring the ‘missing middle’ to Virginia housing development
By: Wyatt Gordon - July 23, 2021
Standalone house or an apartment? When looking for a place to call home most folks know what type of housing they want, but what if there were more choices on the market? Last month Norfolk’s city council approved a Missing Middle Pattern Book full of free designs and schematics for dozens of so-called “middle housing”: […]
Virginia aims to slow down drivers. Will it work?
By: Wyatt Gordon - July 16, 2021
In the first half of last year, Americans drove 264.2 billion fewer miles than over the same timespan in 2019. Fewer miles driven didn’t translate to fewer fatalities, though. In 2020, traffic deaths shot up 7.2 percent nationwide and speeding-related crashes increased 11 percent. Here in the commonwealth, that terrifying trend meant that 847 people […]
What will it take to modernize Virginia’s public transit systems?
By: Wyatt Gordon - June 15, 2021
A bus stop in a bucket is by no means representative of the average amenities provided by transit systems across the commonwealth, but the all-too-common sight is far from befitting 21st century public transportation. In a way, it’s as much a testament to the resourcefulness of Virginia’s transit providers as it is to the decades […]
Can Virginia legislate away the NIMBYs?
By: Wyatt Gordon - May 26, 2021
In less than six weeks, Virginia will become just the third state in the nation to officially go on the books as saying no to NIMBYs. Pro-housing advocates increasingly peg the “Not In My Backyard” naysayers as the main culprit behind America’s historic low of new housing construction over the past decade, since one of […]
Does Virginia need an Office of Trails?
By: Wyatt Gordon - April 28, 2021
From new walking paths at First Landing to freshly forged mountain biking trails in Pocahontas State Park, Virginia’s General Assembly isn’t unfamiliar with putting money towards outdoor recreation. However, the $10 million for regional trails included in the most recent state budget sets a new precedent for trails funding. Although news of the money was […]
Should Virginia bus systems go fare free forever?
By: Wyatt Gordon - April 6, 2021
When the General Assembly created the Transit Rider Incentive Program (TRIP) as part of Gov. Ralph Northam’s 2020 transportation omnibus, the lion’s share of the funding was allocated to support new regional bus routes. With COVID’s cancellation of much commuter service across the commonwealth, those dollars are now being dedicated to TRIP’s secondary goal: fare […]
Can Virginia’s suburban counties retrofit a city feel?
By: Wyatt Gordon - March 29, 2021
Far from the mass urban exodus predicted at the beginning of the pandemic a year ago, the great real estate reshuffling of 2020 actually witnessed property values in some cities and suburbs across the commonwealth soar by as much as 9.6 percent. The booming demand for housing coupled with a wave of storefront closures has […]
Lowering the limit: How allowing 15 mph zones could save lives in Virginia
By: Wyatt Gordon - March 11, 2021
Just as speed limits set a maximum velocity for drivers, so too the commonwealth establishes a minimum speed limit for localities. Currently, any city or county looking to slow traffic in a busy shopping district or on a quiet residential street can go no lower than 25 mph. A bill passed during this year’s General […]
‘Incredibly important to our long-term viability’: More rail investments coming to Southwest Virginia
By: Wyatt Gordon - March 3, 2021
Although the General Assembly approved a $83.5 million budget amendment this session, in part to extend passenger rail service deeper into Southwest Virginia, that doesn’t change the fact that there isn’t a train station or even a platform in the New River Valley. However, legislation from local lawmakers that is heading to the governor’s desk […]
Could trailers be the new face of affordable housing?
By: Wyatt Gordon - February 15, 2021
Tacky trailers or the new face of affordable housing? That’s the debate policy-makers and advocates are having across Virginia as they work to figure out what role manufactured units should play in addressing the commonwealth’s affordable housing crisis. So far the biggest challenge has been that no one knows exactly how many mobile homes exist […]
Two per train? Why legislation mandating train crew size keeps getting filed.
By: Wyatt Gordon - February 4, 2021
Every year over the past three years, lawmakers in Virginia’s General Assembly have introduced legislation that would require railroads moving freight through the commonwealth “to operate with a crew of at least two individuals.” This year, it’s being pushed by Del. Jeion Ward, D-Hampton, in a bill that’s been referred to the House Labor and […]
Regional rail vision aims to stitch Virginia, Maryland and D.C. closer together
By: Wyatt Gordon - January 25, 2021
Gov. Ralph Northam’s recent budget allocation of $50 million to extend intercity passenger rail service from Roanoke to the New River Valley is just the latest in a long line of sizable investments his administration has made into the future of rail in the commonwealth, including a $3.7 billion dollar track acquisition deal with CSX […]