Author

Wyatt Gordon

Wyatt Gordon

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]

COMMENTARY

Has Virginia done enough to end housing discrimination?

By: - January 5, 2022

Amidst the frantic flurry of legislation that Democrats proposed upon taking control of all branches of Virginia’s state government in 2020, a surprising share of bills were dedicated to ending housing discrimination. LGBTQ+ individuals, veterans and those paying their rent partly with housing choice vouchers or another form of government assistance were all enshrined in […]

COMMENTARY

Could Biden’s infrastructure bill help heal the scars highways created?

By: - December 6, 2021

From the interstate highway system to public housing, some of America’s most discriminatory and damaging policies have been implemented under the auspices of the need for better infrastructure. That’s why U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg made his first stop on a Virginia visit to tout the Democrats’ Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act a walking […]

COMMENTARY

What’s behind the bus driver shortage?

By: - November 19, 2021

The good news for Blacksburg Transit is that demand for bus service has bounced back to pre-pandemic levels. The bad news is that it has 20 percent fewer drivers than they need to reliably run their full schedule of service. “We went from carrying 4.6 million riders annually to last year carrying just 25 percent […]

COMMENTARY

Could removing parking requirements help revitalize Virginia’s cities?

By: - October 22, 2021

Until recently, the tallest building in Scott’s Addition — Richmond’s fastest-growing, “transit-oriented” neighborhood — was a multi-story parking deck.  Despite the area’s transit-oriented development zoning designed to discourage car-dependence in favor of the nearby Pulse bus rapid transit route, local law still requires multi-family buildings with more than 16 units to provide parking. The nearly […]

COMMENTARY

Virginia now has a statewide community land trust. Can it help solve the housing crisis?

By: - September 29, 2021

Envisioning the face of the affordable housing crisis in the commonwealth might conjure images of Northern Virginia’s million dollar McMansions or Richmond rowhouses now selling for 24 percent more than last year.  Few folks would land on Blacksburg — the charming college town in the New River Valley best known as the home of the […]

COMMENTARY

Could Virginia Rail Express serve as a second Metro?

By: - August 13, 2021

Commuters who drive I-95 between Fredericksburg and D.C. will not be surprised to hear that they face the consistently worst traffic in the nation. After decades of lane widening have only worsened congestion due to induced demand, Governor Ralph Northam’s administration has doubled down on increased train service as a faster, cheaper, and greener way […]

COMMENTARY

How to bring the ‘missing middle’ to Virginia housing development

By: - 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”: […]

COMMENTARY

Virginia aims to slow down drivers. Will it work?

By: - 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 […]

COMMENTARY

What will it take to modernize Virginia’s public transit systems?

By: - 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 […]

COMMENTARY

Can Virginia legislate away the NIMBYs?

By: - 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 […]

COMMENTARY

Does Virginia need an Office of Trails?

By: - 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 […]

COMMENTARY

Should Virginia bus systems go fare free forever?

By: - 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 […]