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. 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.
Should Virginia build housing for public servants on public land?
By: Wyatt Gordon - February 8, 2023
Almost 60% of tenants in Virginia faced a rent increase last year. Localities are regulating starter homes out of existence. The rate of evictions is quickly returning to pre-pandemic levels. The statewide median home sales price broke $390,000 last spring. The commonwealth’s housing crisis can seem like something of an onion: each layer peels back […]
Roanoke offers public transit to hiking trails. Should more parts of Virginia do the same?
By: Wyatt Gordon - January 27, 2023
For many folks, the hardest part about hiking Roanoke County’s famous McAfee Knob isn’t its eight-mile length or its elevation change of nearly 1,700 feet. It’s finding a parking spot in the gravel lot at the trailhead. The pandemic pushed record levels of visitors to seek adventure and exercise in the great outdoors over the […]
Why are Virginia counties regulating starter homes out of existence?
By: Wyatt Gordon - January 18, 2023
Five years ago, before the pandemic-driven demand for more space and the en masse entrance of millenials to the housing market, the median home sales price in the commonwealth sat at $290,000. Last year that figure hit $390,000 — a $100,000 jump over a period during which Virginians’ median household income actually shrank by $2,975, […]
Electrified rail is the future. Is Virginia all aboard?
By: Wyatt Gordon - January 9, 2023
Experienced passengers traveling from Virginia to D.C. know not to panic when the engine shuts off and the lights go out upon arrival in Washington. A chorus of questions can be heard from those not in the know during the 45-minute wait at Union Station while the train’s diesel locomotive is swapped out for an […]
Are bike buses the future of the school run?
By: Wyatt Gordon - December 16, 2022
“When I was a kid, I walked three miles to school uphill both ways.” The phrase has become a shorthand for older generations’ tendency to embellish the hardship of their youth. But despite its joking nature, the idiom contains a kernel of truth. Whereas today 86% of adults report that their parents walked to school […]
Governor Glenn Youngkin, YIMBY-in-chief?
By: Wyatt Gordon - November 21, 2022
Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin and California Democrats could hardly be further apart politically; however, their diagnoses of what is wrong with America’s housing market sound uncannily similar: Excessive regulation has hindered new housing construction, driving up home prices to the point of hurting the broader economy. After a string of big legislative wins in Sacramento […]
How will Virginia’s new Office of Trails spend $89 million?
By: Wyatt Gordon - October 26, 2022
The Eastern Shore and the Shenandoah Valley have few things in common, but what both regions of the state share is a deep desire to turn old rail corridors into new walking and biking trails — and $1 million in seed money from the state to get started. Since the General Assembly appropriated a historic […]
Can Virginia transit providers innovate their way out of an operator shortage?
By: Wyatt Gordon - October 7, 2022
For just one week in May, Hampton Roads Transit had enough bus operators to provide riders with “reliable service,” according to an internal report. But for the rest of 2022, Virginia’s largest public transportation provider has struggled to staff its dozens of routes — at one point even facing a dearth of over 100 drivers […]
A new passenger rail corridor could connect Hampton Roads to Blacksburg and beyond
By: Wyatt Gordon - August 31, 2022
The drive between Richmond and Charlottesville takes a little over an hour. However, to take a train for the same trip requires eight and a half hours. The picture is similarly bleak for travelers between Norfolk and Roanoke: the four-and-a-half-hour drive takes nearly four times as long via train — 16 hours. The Commonwealth Corridor, […]
Virginia’s answer to Greyhound shows rural areas are worth serving
By: Wyatt Gordon - August 12, 2022
A Greyhound stopping on the side of a rural road was once so common a sight that it continues to be a television trope despite the implosion of intercity bus service in America over the last half century. In 1970 — back when the U.S. population was just 205 million, the motorcoach industry recorded 130 […]
VDOT is introducing variable speed limits, but will congestion care?
By: Wyatt Gordon - August 1, 2022
“There is such thing as Hell on Earth and it’s I-95N between Richmond and DC,” quipped CBS 6 news anchor Elizabeth Holmes in a recent tweet. The post went viral, echoing a sentiment felt by the countless car users who regularly get caught in congestion between the two capitals. Hoping to decrease driving delays, last […]
Public transit governing boards don’t look like their riders. A new state study could be a fix.
By: Wyatt Gordon - July 12, 2022
The ascension of three Henrico County officials to the governing board of the Greater Richmond Transit Company in April marked a new era in Central Virginia’s increasing coordination towards a more functional regional public transportation system. The addition of three men—two White and one Black—from a suburban jurisdiction has also made GRTC’s board even less […]