Laskin Road Gateway

Promises Upgrades with a Quaint Feel

A new pedestrian-friendly corridor is in the works for one of Virginia Beach’s most popular areas, Laskin Road/31st Street. Known to locals as a pseudo downtown area for years, the area will undergo a complete facelift over the coming years.

The idea for the project originated in the Resort Strategic Action Plan, adopted by the Virginia Beach City Council in 2008. It envisioned a village-like setting with outdoor cafes and no need for cars—pedestrians and bicyclists would be the first priority. An emphasis would also be placed on easing traffic around the area to keep things running smoothly.

“This project is long overdue,” says Virginia Beach Councilman John Uhrin. “We’ll increase traffic capacity by three times what it is now, in addition to creating walkable street districts which will encourage additional development.”

Intended to provide a more modernized environment, another of the project’s main goals is to update outdated sewer and water systems.  Though the plan was introduced to the Virginia Beach City Council in 2008, Uhrin says the idea has been floating around for quite some time. “This was all part of a resort master plan stitched together by a lot of planning over the last 20 years. This has been discussed in different forms since the early 90s, maybe longer than that.”

Since adopting the plan, the Virginia Beach City Council has been busy working on a budget for the project. They’ve budgeted $28.42 million dollars, which will cover new water and sewer lines, road and drainage upgrading, as well as traffic improvements and property acquisition.

It won’t be too much longer until the final project is complete, and when the day arrives, Laskin Road will revitalize the area with a charming, village type of feel. Cafes, upscale shops and restaurants, as well as residential apartments and condos will give the area a quaint feel. Adding pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly sidewalks will make the corridor even more accessible.

Construction for the project began in February 2001, and the project is expected to be completed in the Summer of 2012. But don’t let that stop you from visiting the Oceanfront, says Councilman Uhrin. “There isn’t any desire on the city’s behalf to be doing any construction during the main summer season,” he says. “You mess up a really big bottleneck for tourists there. All of our plans factored that in.”

If you’re visiting the Oceanfront, plan to come back next year and the year after that to see all the exciting changes that have taken place. Don’t worry—it’s still the same Virginia Beach—only better and better each day.

For updates on road closings and information on detours in the area, visit www.vbgov.com/laskingateway

—By Chelsea DeAngio