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.
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 […]
What will it take to modernize Virginia’s public transit systems?
By: Wyatt Gordon - June 15, 2021
A bus stop in a bucket is by no means representative of the average amenities provided by transit systems across the commonwealth, but the all-too-common sight is far from befitting 21st century public transportation. In a way, it’s as much a testament to the resourcefulness of Virginia’s transit providers as it is to the decades […]
Can Virginia legislate away the NIMBYs?
By: Wyatt Gordon - May 26, 2021
In less than six weeks, Virginia will become just the third state in the nation to officially go on the books as saying no to NIMBYs. Pro-housing advocates increasingly peg the “Not In My Backyard” naysayers as the main culprit behind America’s historic low of new housing construction over the past decade, since one of […]
Does Virginia need an Office of Trails?
By: Wyatt Gordon - April 28, 2021
From new walking paths at First Landing to freshly forged mountain biking trails in Pocahontas State Park, Virginia’s General Assembly isn’t unfamiliar with putting money towards outdoor recreation. However, the $10 million for regional trails included in the most recent state budget sets a new precedent for trails funding. Although news of the money was […]
Should Virginia bus systems go fare free forever?
By: Wyatt Gordon - April 6, 2021
When the General Assembly created the Transit Rider Incentive Program (TRIP) as part of Gov. Ralph Northam’s 2020 transportation omnibus, the lion’s share of the funding was allocated to support new regional bus routes. With COVID’s cancellation of much commuter service across the commonwealth, those dollars are now being dedicated to TRIP’s secondary goal: fare […]
Can Virginia’s suburban counties retrofit a city feel?
By: Wyatt Gordon - March 29, 2021
Far from the mass urban exodus predicted at the beginning of the pandemic a year ago, the great real estate reshuffling of 2020 actually witnessed property values in some cities and suburbs across the commonwealth soar by as much as 9.6 percent. The booming demand for housing coupled with a wave of storefront closures has […]
Lowering the limit: How allowing 15 mph zones could save lives in Virginia
By: Wyatt Gordon - 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 […]
‘Incredibly important to our long-term viability’: More rail investments coming to Southwest Virginia
By: Wyatt Gordon - 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 […]