NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Members of a Norfolk task force are recommending no lane changes along Hampton Boulevard — despite a previous proposal calling for lane reductions.
Representives from the city, Old Dominion University, the U.S. Navy and the Port of Virginia formed a task force after an April 2018 crash near Bolling Avenue in which a tractor-trailer flipped. The group held its final public meeting Thursday morning.
10 On Your Side reported last month the task force was looking to reduce some parts of the road from three narrow lanes to two wider lanes with bike lanes.
City Councilwoman Courtney Doyle told 10 On Your Side, “The consensus was this was not the right thing to do, but there are many other traffic calming measures and other initiatives that we’re doing.”
Hampton Blvd. is one of the busiest roads in Norfolk, with about 35,000 vehicles a day traveling to and from the Naval Base, the Port of Virginia and Old Dominion University, with neighborhoods all along on either side.
The idea of taking away lanes did not sit well with many drivers and residents.
“When I leave in the morning to take my daughter to school, sometimes traffic backed up all the way down to Bolling, and so a lane reduction further complicates that problem,” said Robert Blondin with the Lochhaven Civic League.
He and other citizens spoke out and Doyle said, “I’m very thankful, frankly for their voice and we did hear what they had to say.”
The task force convened after a tractor trailer flipped near Old Dominion University last spring.
Representatives from the city council, the Navy, Port of Virginia, Old Dominion University and neighborhood civic leagues decided to keep the three lane configuration.
They recommended other changes to reduce speed and make the street safer.
Traffic signals are being retimed and updated with brighter signals and countdowns for pedestrians at 7 intersections, including Little Creek, Redgate and along the ODU area.
Police have issued over a thousand tickets in the last 6 months and will continue to enforce a zero tolerance policy.
They’re also looking into adding red-light cameras. Princess Anne Road was brought up by police as a possible location.
Finally, the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization will conduct a study on Hampton Blvd. beginning this summer.
Councilwoman Doyle said she is confident Hampton Blvd. will be safer, ut they will continue to monitor it.
She said they will also take what they’ve learned from this process and apply it to other Norfolk roads with safety concerns including Tidewater Drive and Princess Anne Road, where Doyle recalled, a 12- year-old got hit by a car and died last year.
“Norfolk has on average 17 pedestrian deaths a year and that’s not acceptable.”