National Association of Development Districts features the Roanoke Valley

NADO recently featured the Livable Roanoke Valley project as part of the Sustainable Communities Learning Network. Since 2011, the NADO Research Foundation has participated in the Sustainable Communities Learning Network as one of the capacity building teams supporting communities and regions that received planning grants as part of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI). Through this program, 143 communities and regions across the country conducted three-year locally-driven planning and visioning efforts to address critical issues such as housing and transportation, economic and workforce development, natural resource protection, education, and other important areas. You can read more from NADO here. 

Wayne Strickland, Executive Director, Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission from NADO on Vimeo.

Introducing the “Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization” (RVTPO)

TPO Name Change Resolution 09-25-2014 – small (Resolution establishing that the RVAMPO should be commonly referred to as the RVTPO)

It has been observed that the term Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) does not directly communicate the transportation planning focus and role of the MPO to the public at large.  Therefore, the RVAMPO Policy Board decided that henceforth the RVAMPO should be commonly referred to as the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO).  The use of RVTPO more clearly communicates the purpose and role of the body.  The official name for contracts, agreements and memorandums of understanding (MOUs) will remain the RVAMPO.  For day-to-day planning activities, plans and routine matters facing the public, we will henceforth refer to ourselves as the RVTPO.  Please bear with us as we make the transition over the next several months.  The Policy Board did not want us to go through undue extra expense in this transition.  So we will be gradually transitioning letterhead and other items as our stock is used up and replaced.

You can think of RVTPO as a friendly nickname that makes us more personable.  Instead of going by William we are now going by Bill by way of analogy.

Regional Surface Transportation Program Applications Due September 26, 2014

Currently, the Roanoke Valley Area Metropolitan Planning Organization is accepting applications for new RSTP projects until September 26, 2014.  The projects will be scored throughout the fall/winter of 2014, and approved by the RVAMPO Policy Board in the spring of 2015.

Eligible recipients of RSTP funds in the Roanoke Valley Area include:

  1. Member local governments who have all or a portion of their territory in the RVAMPO Study Area Boundary (Bedford County, Botetourt County, Montgomery County, City of Roanoke, Roanoke County, City of Salem and the Town of Vinton)
  2. Greater Roanoke Transit Company (Valley Metro)
  3. Unified Human Services Transportation Systems, Inc. (RADAR)
  4. Virginia Department of Transportation
  5. Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation
  6. Roanoke Valley Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (RVAMPO) and Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission (RVARC) – RVAMPO and RVARC for planning studies.

 

For more information on project selection and the application process, click here for the RSTP Project Selection Procedures. (RSTP Application is included within the Project Selection Procedures Document)

New Local Foods Initiative

The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission is working with area stakeholders to develop a Regional Food System Plan to promote and expand existing local food systems in the greater Roanoke Valley and surrounding areas.  Our first stakeholder meeting will be held on July 31st at 9 am. Area groups that may be interested in participating in this meeting are encouraged to contact the Commission at rvarc@rvarc.org or check out our new website devoted to Local Foods.

What is food system planning?
The expanded Downtown Market area in the City of Roanoke.

The expanded Downtown Market area in the City of Roanoke.

Food system planning is gaining recognition as an integral area of interest for local governments. Learn more about food system planning and its importance to economic development by reading through some of the resources on our website, including the APA Policy Guide on Community and Regional Food Planning. Food system planning seeks to spur local economies by supporting local businesses and farmers; to preserve agricultural and natural landscapes by encouraging sustainable farming practices; and to improve access to healthy food items such as fresh produce in our local markets and stores.

Get involved.

If you cannot attend the meeting or are a citizen interested in learning more about local foods, consider checking out some of the resources on our webpage. Use our Local Foods Map to find markets and farms, or look through our list of area nonprofits who are working on food projects in our community. More information can be found on our Local Foods webpage.

The Roanoke River Blueway is Under Development

blueway-photo6The Regional Commission is working with a stakeholder committee composed of local governments, non-profits, paddlers, fishermen, local outfitters and watershed groups to develop the Roanoke River Blueway, a 45-mile water trail on the upper Roanoke River.  A blueway (also known as a water trail, paddle trail, or float trail) is a navigable waterway with sufficient capacity (flow, depth, and width) for successful progress of canoes, kayaks and other non-motorized vessels, with sufficient access and amenities to facilitate other recreational uses of the waterway.  The Roanoke River Blueway flows through or borders the Cities of Roanoke and Salem, the Counties of Montgomery, Roanoke, Bedford, and Franklin, and the Town of Vinton, providing river access for canoeing, kayaking, fishing, tubing, wading, wildlife viewing, and other recreational opportunities. The Blueway also connects to numerous local parks; Roanoke River Greenway, Tinker Creek Greenway and Mill Mountain Greenway; Blue Ridge Parkway; Explore Park;  Smith Mountain Lake; and businesses proximate to the river.

The overall goal of the Roanoke River Blueway project is to facilitate and encourage recreational use of the Upper Roanoke River and tributaries by residents and visitors. Additionally, the project seeks to encourage watershed awareness and sustainable stewardship of the region’s water resources. To date, the Roanoke River Blueway stakeholder group has developed a website, interactive and printable maps, brochure, and other information to facilitate the safe and enjoyable use of the blueway including river access descriptions, hazards and portages, recommended minimum and maximum streamflow levels, contact information, and links to useful websites.

Moving forward, the Regional Commission, local governments, and the Roanoke River Blueway stakeholder group will work to improve and promote the blueway; seek grant funding and other financial support; work with local outfitters, businesses, and other entities to promote the blueway and increase river related recreation and tourism; and increase watershed awareness.

The Livable Roanoke Valley Summit- Unveiling our regional plan and our Community Champions

k_konrad_train station rkeROANOKE, VA (June, 23, 2013) –The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission will host a Livable Roanoke Valley Summit on June 25, 2014.  The media are invited to the half-day Summit where the final Livable Roanoke Valley Plan will be presented to the community.  The Summit will feature a keynote address by Bill Shelton, the Director of the VA Dept. of Housing & Community Development and community leaders that have agreed to champion initiatives in the areas economic development, workforce, health, and natural assets.  The Summit will be held on:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 – 7:30AM to 1:30PM

Salem Civic Center

1001 Roanoke Boulevard

Salem, VA 24153

The Partnership for a Livable Roanoke Valley (Livable Roanoke Valley) is an initiative of The Regional Commission, seven local governments, and more than 60 organizations in the Roanoke Valley. The initiative seeks to promote economic opportunity and a greater quality of life for all Roanoke Valley residents through the development of the Valley’s first regional plan for livability.

Livable Roanoke Valley has taken a straight-forward approach to understanding and addressing key issues affecting the region.  We engaged partners, organizations, and over 1,200 citizens to gain a strong understanding of our region’s values, vision, and priorities.  Based on these, we developed 11 strategic initiatives to achieve goals in the areas of economic development, workforce development, health, and natural assets.  These initiatives include efforts such as “investing in regional infrastructure”, “preparing students for high-demand fields”, “improving access to healthcare services”, and preserving scenic and rural land”. We have also concentrated on ways to improve opportunity and access for low-income and underserved communities within our region.

For more information on the Summit and the plan, click here

 

 

Attend the Livable Roanoke Valley Summit on June 25th

vision-valley

Please join us for a half day Summit to unveil the final Livable Roanoke Valley Plan.  The Summit will feature a keynote address by Bill Shelton, the Director of the VA Dept. of Housing & Community Development and community leaders that have agreed to champion initiatives in the areas economic development, workforce, health, and natural assets. By attending to the event you will receive a bound copy of the plan, as well as a networking breakfast and lunch.  You can view the completed plan and supporting information at www.livableroanoke.org.

Register Here

 

PROGRAM

7:30AM   Networking Breakfast

8:30AM   Welcome and Opening Remarks
Wayne Strickland, Executive Director of the Regional Commission

8:45AM   Keynote Address
Bill Shelton, Director of the Virginia Dept. of Housing & Community Development

9:15AM   Livable Roanoke Valley Plan – Strategies and Champions
Lisa Garst, Chair of The Partnership for Livable Roanoke Valley

10:00AM   Break

10:15AM   Featured Economic and Workforces Development Initiatives
High Speed Broadband – Kevin Boggess
Regional STEM-H Programs – Jonathan Whitt
Xperience – Thomas Becher
Industry Sector Partnerships – Zenith Hamilton

11:15AM   Featured Health and Natural Asset Initiatives
Stormwater Banking Program – Mike McEvoy
Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program – Brent Cochran
Alternative Transportation – Jeremy Holmes
Community Dental Clinic – Eileen Lepro

12:30PM   Networking Lunch
Meet the Champions 

MPO Welcomes Public Comments Concerning the FY2015-2018 Transportation Improvement Program

The Roanoke Valley Area MetropolitanTIP15-18 Cover Page Planning Organization is giving the public an opportunity to request, review, read, and comment on the draft Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for Fiscal Years 2015-2018 for the Roanoke Valley Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, available at www.rvarc.org.  Click the Draft FY2015-2018 TIP image to the right to review the draft document.  

For convenience, you may provide comments on the Draft TIP by clicking here and submitting your comments to us online.  

For more information and to view the currently adopted FY12-15 document, visit the TIP page on the MPO website.

The public comment period will be in effect for no fewer than 45 days from the publication of this notice.  An official “Public Hearing” will be held after the public comment period has elapsed.  This Public Hearing will be duly advertised according to applicable laws.  For special accommodations or further information, contact Bryan Hill, Phone:  540-343-4417, Fax:  540-343-4416 or E-mail: bhill@rvarc.org.  Hearing impaired persons can call 711 for access.   Thank you for your comments and participation in the Transportation Improvement Program update process!

Join Us and Others in Celebrating Bike Month

CCC_facebook-eventThe Regional Commission’s alternative transportation program, RIDE Solutions is celebrating Bike Month 2014!  All May, they will be hosting events for every interest and every skill level, from greenway rides to film screenings, concerts to safety clinics, making it easy for you to get out and ride this spring. The individual rewards are bigger than ever this year, with weekly drawings and prizes given to Clean Commuters throughout SW VA.

Every May, The Regional Commission’s staff forms a team and takes the Clean Commute Challenge, where we pledge to get to work using transit, carpools, bikes, our feet, and even teleworking to reduce our impacts on the air we breath and the roads we travel. Forming a team is easy and we encourage you to join us and dozens of other local organizations, companies, and local governments in promoting a healthy region to work, live, and play.