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 many Virginians with disabilities lack reliable transportation? Right now, we don’t know.
By: Wyatt Gordon - March 18, 2022
As frustrating as the recent rise in gas prices may be for people who rely upon cars to get around, for the 1.6 million Virginians with disabilities the ability to drive at all in our car-dependent society is a luxury many cannot imagine. How hard is it for the disabled community to access reliable transportation […]
With half a billion in new federal funding, will Virginia finally fix its bridge repair backlog?
By: Wyatt Gordon - February 23, 2022
Earlier this month, when Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., visited the Glebe Road Bridge that connects Arlington and Alexandria, that crumbling connection served as the perfect background to announce $536.8 million in additional federal funding to address Virginia’s dilapidated bridges. With more than 577 “structurally deficient” bridges in the commonwealth, the appropriation for repairs is certainly […]
Forget the Metro. Can Northern Virginia fix its bus systems?
By: Wyatt Gordon - February 18, 2022
Last fall, Metro grabbed headlines when it released potential plans for a new Georgetown stop and a Blue Line extension to National Harbor. The only thing bigger than the D.C. region’s excitement for the possible new rail connection was the price tag. At an initial cost estimate of $20 billion to $25 billion, it’s hard […]
Why is it so hard to build tribal housing?
By: Wyatt Gordon - January 28, 2022
Beginning with the Indian Relocation Act of 1956, the federal government’s answer to the persistent poverty of Native Americans was to point to the lack of jobs in tribal communities and encourage their members to move to bigger, more prosperous cities in search of a better life. Over the next three decades it is estimated […]
Has Virginia done enough to end housing discrimination?
By: Wyatt Gordon - 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 […]
Could Biden’s infrastructure bill help heal the scars highways created?
By: Wyatt Gordon - 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 […]
What’s behind the bus driver shortage?
By: Wyatt Gordon - 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 […]
Could removing parking requirements help revitalize Virginia’s cities?
By: Wyatt Gordon - 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 […]
Virginia now has a statewide community land trust. Can it help solve the housing crisis?
By: Wyatt Gordon - 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 […]
Could Virginia Railway Express serve as a second Metro?
By: Wyatt Gordon - 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 […]
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 […]