If I had the magic checkbook and could assign any 5 projects to be embarked upon without regard to cost…
1. A combination Light Rail and Bus system that not only follows the Norfolk-Southern abandoned rail (East-West parallel to I-264), but branches out to form a circuit that encompasses all of Virginia Beach. Everyone should be within walking distance of mass transit without waiting hours between pick-ups.
2. Walk-over bridges around Town Center, at Rosemont, and at various points along the oceanfront. Get people off the habit of walking in front of cars, which as you may know can be hazardous to the health of pedestrians.
3. Connect all the bike paths and add new paths. Get the freaking idiot “I’m a car too, watch me” bicyclists off the road and onto their own pathways. Make it possible to cross the city without risking your life along the way.
4. Beef up the parks. Mount Trashmore should have a performance stage, more benches, wider paths (so joggers can get around slow-poke walkers, strollers, etc.), keep the carnival there all Summer long, expand the skate park, add path lights on the western perimeter, and so on. Other parks should get similar treatment.
5. Replace Pembroke Mall. Build a bigger, fancier, cooler, awesomer mall. It should combine all the cool things of other malls around the country.
Bonus: Offer up better incentives to entice high-tech industry to move into the area. Not talking about call centers. I’m talking about manufacturing, software development, and R&D. We let a lot of talented ex-military folks slip through our fingers. We should give them a better reason to stick around than just the beach.