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]

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 […]

Debate around statewide definition of affordable housing belies larger crisis

By: - September 28, 2020

Long before the COVID-19 recession put millions of Virginians on the precipice of losing their homes, the commonwealth already suffered from the country’s worst eviction epidemic. After five Virginia cities landed in the top 10 of Princeton University’s Eviction Lab rankings in 2016, the data served as a clarion call to action for policymakers and […]

Long Bridge rail project barrels forward full speed ahead

By: - September 14, 2020

With the state budget in tatters and commuter levels at record lows, now might hardly seem the right moment for Virginia to embark upon a $1.9 billion rail project. However, the recent conclusion of the Long Bridge’s environmental impact study has cleared the way for the commonwealth to do just that. The plan to add […]

Could I-64 prove VDOT’s highway management is on the road to reform?

By: - September 8, 2020

With traffic once again surging post a pandemic-triggered lull this spring, Virginia’s management of its multi-billion dollar highway system will be critical to the commonwealth’s long-term recovery — as well as its coffers. As the state seeks to keep its economy moving while reducing congestion, a new Virginia Department of Transportation  study of the 320-mile […]

Fare or no fare? Transit agencies face tough choices amid COVID-19 budget crunch.

By: - August 21, 2020

Thanks to ground-breaking expansion plans and record ridership numbers in 2019, the Greater Richmond Transit Company expected 2020 to be a turning point in Central Virginia’s glacial journey towards a truly regional transit system. Instead, GRTC’s first-ever local route in Chesterfield opened during an unprecedented pandemic and eight months into the year the agency finds […]

On the Eastern Shore, locals hope a 49-mile rail trail will reinvigorate the economy

By: - August 12, 2020

Virginia’s rural Eastern Shore has been losing residents for decades, but in one aspect of that abandonment, locals see opportunity. Last month, Canonie Atlantic, the company which owns the tracks on the Eastern Shore, petitioned the federal Surface Transportation Board to decommission a 49.1 miles long rail line from the town of Hallwood to Cape […]

‘A real opportunity’: Virginia places a big bet on electrifying port

By: - July 31, 2020

As the third largest container port on the East Coast, the Port of Virginia is used to operating non-stop around the clock to make sure shelves across the region remain fully stocked.  With the current state of battery technology, however, the new electric tractors on order to lug goods around the shipyard will likely only […]