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

Lowering the limit: How allowing 15 mph zones could save lives in Virginia

By: - 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 […]

COMMENTARY

‘Incredibly important to our long-term viability’: More rail investments coming to Southwest Virginia

By: - 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: - 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: - 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: - 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 […]

New bike bill hopes to make streets safer for cyclists

By: - January 22, 2021

Last year cyclists in the commonwealth scored a big win in the General Assembly as part of a coalition backing a hands-free law to prevent distracted driving. This year the state’s bike lobby is backing a bill they say will make Virginia one of the safest states in the nation for bicycles.  The Bicycle Safety […]

Norfolk is the next Virginia city to tackle a bus route redesign. Will more follow?

By: - January 5, 2021

After Virginia’s capital city overhauled its bus routes in 2018, the resulting 17 percent annual growth in ridership made the city’s sole public transportation provider —the Greater Richmond Transit Company — a rare example of success at a time when systems across the country had been losing passengers for years. Norfolk took note and launched […]

Jaywalking decriminalization is coming, 100 years after the auto industry helped make it a crime

By: - December 21, 2020

Though it didn’t garner as much attention as other police reform measures during the special legislative session that ended this fall, a provision to decriminalize jaywalking in a pretextual policing bill from Delegate Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, means that come March 1, police will no longer be able to stop folks for the act of crossing […]

Rail advocates hope Virginia’s new authority will take ‘politics out of our rail policy’

By: - December 9, 2020

When former Gov. Doug Wilder sold off the state’s interest in hundreds of miles of track and rail right of way in the early 1990s, the move was applauded by the Republican-dominated legislature as a prudent divestment to help balance the annual budget. Since then, though, the state has spent millions more on track improvements […]

In a shrinking part of Southside Virginia, VDOT is still planning a highway expansion

By: - November 24, 2020

Highway expansion is often pitched as necessary to combat congestion for a growing population. For opponents, that makes the Virginia Department of Transportation’s planned Martinsville Southern Connector — a $745 million, 7.4-mile highway expansion in a shrinking corner of the state — all the more perplexing. “This project goes against everything this administration, the Commonwealth […]

What’s behind Virginia’s increasing pedestrian death toll and how to reverse the trend

By: - October 27, 2020

On Thursday evening, friends and family were at the intersection of Jahnke and German School roads on Richmond’s Southside to mourn the loss of 16-year-old Aajah Rosemond, who was killed by a driver while walking to the store. According to police, a collision with a GMC Yukon sent a roughly 6,000 pound Nissan Titan spiraling […]

A budget amendment is laying down the tracks for a Shenandoah Valley rail trail

By: - October 19, 2020

When Del. Tony Wilt, R-Rockingham, introduced a budget amendment funding a study on creating a new 43-mile long rail trail in the Shenandoah Valley, the odds of the proposal making it into the final budget for the governor to sign looked slim.   After Wilt’s amendment was stricken from the House version of the budget, the […]