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.
Deadly horse and buggy crashes are increasing. Virginia has no plan to turn the trend around.
By: Wyatt Gordon - June 15, 2022
In December of 2019, the Yoder family was traveling east on Route 60 in Buckingham County when George M. Lee crashed his Chevrolet Silverado into their horse and buggy, killing mother Sylvia Yoder, throwing her husband from the vehicle and sending their four children ranging in age from 2 to 10 years old to the […]
As Congress bankrolls electric conversion for bus fleets, is Virginia ready?
By: Wyatt Gordon - June 8, 2022
Of the more than 2,168 buses operated by public transportation providers in Virginia, roughly just one percent run on electricity. Beyond the 26 battery electric buses currently in service, the remainder of the commonwealth’s fleet of transit buses rely on fossil fuels with over half dependent on dirty diesel. Thanks to a strategic study by […]
How allowing single-staircase buildings could change Virginia’s housing market
By: Wyatt Gordon - May 5, 2022
Given the decades-long decline in new housing construction and the resultant skyrocketing of rents and home prices across the commonwealth, the need for more homes has become a consensus position in Virginia. However, even those who support increasing housing construction have mixed feelings about the dominant design of the times: 5-over-1 buildings — so named […]
Virginia doesn’t specifically regulate ‘self-driving’ cars. Should we?
By: Wyatt Gordon - April 19, 2022
Last week when Virginia’s new Secretary of Transportation Sheppard Miller publicly declared his belief that flying cars will be a reality within the next 50 years as a reason that leaders across the commonwealth should “reexamine transit,” some might have scoffed. But just as flying cars consumed the fantasies of many mid-century Americans, today plenty […]
Slumlords beware: Virginia may give localities new power to go after poor housing conditions
By: Wyatt Gordon - March 30, 2022
Republicans and Democrats rarely agreed on policy proposals during the past General Assembly session. However, a bill to expand localities’ power to go after slumlords received somewhat surprising bipartisan support. If signed by the governor, in a few months’ time cities and counties across the commonwealth could begin greater enforcement of dangerous and harmful living […]
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 […]