Opportunity for input on transportation investments!

The Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization has TWO opportunities right now for public input on transportation investments: The Transportation Improvement Program (opportunity to comment and a public hearing) and the Surface Transportation Block Grant for Route 460 projects (a survey and a public hearing).

Transportation Improvement Program

Having previously collected public input on the Roanoke Valley’s priority transportation investments worth $208 million in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for 2021-2024, the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO) will hold a public hearing on the TIP on Thursday, June 25, 2020 at 1:00 pm during the Policy Board online meeting. Details on how to participate will be available in the agenda when it is posted one week before the meeting. Review the complete draft TIP here and comment here by June 18, 2020.

Surface Transportation Block Grant for Route 460 projects

Take the STBG Survey by June 18, 2020 or read more about it below first. In addition to the survey, there will be a public hearing Thursday, June 25, 2020 at 1:00 pm during the Policy Board online meeting. Details on how to participate in the online meeting will be available in the agenda when it is posted one week before the meeting.

The RVTPO urgently needs public input on committing $5 million in regional funds anticipated in 2027 for five projects on Route 460! This commitment could bring up to $20 million into the region in additional funds.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) completed the Route 460 Operational Improvement Study with extensive public input, and developed key projects that will improve traffic flow and safety on this critical corridor. VDOT will be providing more information and seeking public comment on these key projects, but the RVTPO urgently needs public input NOW on committing $5 million in regional funds to these projects in order to bring up to $20 million additional funds to the region.

The RVTPO receives about $5 million/year regional funding through the Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) program to directly select and fund transportation projects in the Roanoke Valley, a small portion of the local, state, and federal funds that support transportation projects. The RVTPO recently obtained public input on projects submitted for STBG funding through 2026.

The City of Roanoke and Roanoke County seek a commitment of STBG funds anticipated in 2027 to leverage Route 460 applications for SMART SCALE funding, which is due soon. They request 20% of the estimated project cost to leverage the remaining 80% from SMART SCALE. STBG funds would be committed conditionally upon receiving SMART SCALE funding, but if the projects do not receive funding the STBG funds are no longer committed. The total requested STBG funds is $5 million (one year’s worth) and could potentially leverage $20 million in SMART SCALE funds to the region.

Before making the decision to conditionally commit STBG funds and make these applications more competitive in SMART SCALE, the RVTPO seeks public input, with the limited information available, on whether these Route 460 projects are good investments for the region.

Take the STBG Survey now!

RVARC Releases COVID-19 and Demographic Dashboard

Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission staff has prepared a COVID-19 dashboard that tracks regional cases and includes demographics and mapping on vulnerable populations.  Data and mapping is available for each locality down to the census tract level. Unemployment claims, nursing homes location, zip code COVID-19 data are included in the dashboard. COVID-19 cases and deaths are updated hourly from Johns Hopkins.  To access the dashboard, click here.

Transportation Improvement Program

The survey is now closed.

The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is a four-year schedule of all federally-funded and regionally-significant transportation projects to be implemented in the RVTPO region. It functions like a budget and projects can only be funded if they are consistent with the goals of Vision 2040. RVTPO is updating the TIP and would like to know what you think of the proposed projects.

Review the complete TIP here: Transportation Improvement Program 2021-2024.

 

The FEDS Want to Hear From YOU

The Federal Team reviewing the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization wants to hear from YOU. However, due to the COVID-19 emergency, the public meeting has been cancelled.

Please provide your input through the survey link below.

The Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO) is responsible for planning the Roanoke Valley’s future transportation system and programming funds to fulfill that vision. The RVTPO’s work is primarily funded by the federal government which reviews regulatory compliance every four years. The Federal Team will consider public input to assess the quality, effectiveness, and any areas of concern on the RVTPO’s performance-based multimodal transportation planning and programming process.

This survey will remain open until April 10, 2020. If the survey does not appear below, please use the weblink: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DoYouKnowRVTPO

The RVTPO and the Federal Team appreciate your input!

If you need assistance with this survey, please email rruhlen@rvarc.org or leave a message at (540) 343-4417. Due to COVID-19, we are not in the office but will get back to you promptly.
Create your own user feedback survey

RVTPO Reviews STBG Funding Requests

The survey is now closed.

The Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO) administers the region’s Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) funding program which provides approximately $5 million/year for transportation improvements in the RVTPO region. In September, the RVTPO received 13 new funding requests:

  • Botetourt County – Route 220 Superstreet and Access Management – ($924,000)
  • GRTC – New Downtown Transit Transfer Center – Real-time Transit Passenger Information (RTPI) Project – ($400,000)
  • City of Roanoke – Aviation Drive / Valley View Blvd Pedestrian Improvements ($2,513,437)
  • City of Roanoke – Greenway Connection – Riverland Road ($1,198,410 )
  • City of Roanoke – Roanoke River Greenway – East ( $835,000 )
  • Roanoke County – Route 419 Streetscape Improvements, Phase 2 (Starkey Rd. to Ogden Rd.) – ($1,505,438)
  • Roanoke County – Oak Grove Streetscape Improvements – ($216,748)
  • Roanoke County – Ogden Road Multimodal Improvements Scoping – ($80,000)
  • Roanoke County – Old Cave Spring Road Intersection Improvements – ($2,861,756)
  • Roanoke County – Orange Market Park and Ride/Parking Lot Improvements – ($343,573)
  • Roanoke County – Valleypointe Parkway Realignment – ($5,352,108)
  • Town of Vinton – Glade Creek Greenway Phase 3 Engineering Study and Design Plans, 2022 – ($144,442.50)
  • Town of Vinton – Gus Nicks Boulevard Pedestrian/Bicycle Crossing, 2021 – ($169,650)

The RVTPO Policy Board is reviewing these funding requests along with the needs of currently funded STBG projects; a draft investment plan is expected to be available for public input in early 2020. The Policy Board will be approving transportation project investments in the spring 2020. More information about the STBG program may be found online at rvarc.org/stbg.

A public hearing will be scheduled.

Regional Housing Market Analysis Study

In the FY20 RVARC Work Program, Franklin and Roanoke Counties made similar requests for housing market studies. Roanoke County sought to study the greater Roanoke Valley. As such, staff has applied for funding through the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) for a Community Impact grant to fund a Regional Housing Market Analysis Study. The anticipated outcome is to identify housing needs and demands for housing based upon current and future economic development needs.

The study area will include the Counties of Franklin and Roanoke (incorporating the Towns of Boones Mill, Rocky Mount, and Vinton respectively) and the Cities of Roanoke and Salem. The study will also reference findings from two market studies performed in Botetourt County and the Alleghany Highlands.

The goals of the study are to:

  • Develop a document that identifies housing needs and provides both a region wide and locality-specific market analysis.
  • Analyze commuter and residential patterns.
  • Incorporate results and findings from recently performed housing studies in Botetourt County, Village of Ferrum (Franklin County), Route 419 Town Center Plan Residential Analysis (Roanoke County), and the Alleghany Highlands portion of the region.
  • Create economic development opportunities by providing strategies to address housing concerns.
  • Develop regional and locality-specific recommendations that address local housing needs and encourage private investment.
  • Engage stakeholders to determine local housing needs and identify potential opportunities and partners to address and identify needs.

On February 12th, staff issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a consultant to perform the study. The deadline for proposals was Friday, February 28th. Upon funding from VHDA, a consultant will be selected and a regional stakeholder group will meet periodically during the study process to review the consultant’s progress.

Here is a link to the RFP. For more information, contact Bryan Hill at 343-4417 or bhill@rvarc.org.

Commission Staff Hold Two Rural Bikeway Plan Public Meetings

The Regional Commission is updating the 2006 Rural Bikeway Plan. Last week, Commission staff held two public input meetings, one at Just the Right Gear in Catawba and the other at Jack Mason’s Brewing in Clifton Forge, to capture cyclist’s preferred routes and chief concerns in the study area. This Friday, the public will get one more chance to chime in on this phase of the plan. Visit Downshift in downtown Roanoke from 5pm to 7 pm on Friday, January 31st to let us know what on-road routes you cycle in the rural service area!

Congestion Management Process

The Roanoke Valley doesn’t have much severe traffic congestion – and we want to keep it that way! Take the survey here.

Modern technology has revolutionized our ability to define and objectively measure traffic congestion. Using “big data” collected from GPS-equipped vehicles and smart phone apps, we can literally see where traffic congestion occurs, how long it lasts, and how often. The traffic congestion metric that the Roanoke Valley uses is Planning Time Index.

Click on the image to see how Planning Time Index changes throughout the day.

Analysis of this data shows that the Roanoke Valley traffic congestion is not widespread, does not last a long time, and does not occur very often. Four corridors may be at risk of performing poorly:

Another corridor that may be at risk is Gus Nicks Boulevard / Washington Avenue, but travel time data is not available.

Outreach

Input from locality staff, freight logistics managers, and the public guides this update.

  • Locality staff attended a Congestion Workshop on November 6, 2019.
    • The Land Use focus group discussed how local government can guide or nudge land use through the permitting process to manage traffic congestion while promoting economic growth.
    • The Transportation Demand Management focus group discussed the efforts of RIDE Solutions, the local transportation demand management organization that promotes carpooling, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian travel.
    • The Performance Measures focus group discussed technical details about monitoring traffic congestion regionally and at specific locations.
  • Freight logistics managers provided input through individual interviews about how traffic congestion affects freight movement.
  • A survey will be launched to collect public input.

RVTPO Releases State of Transportation Report

On behalf of the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization, RVARC staff have published a State of Transportation for the Roanoke Valley report which details the current status of various facets of the regional multimodal transportation system. Download the report HERE or find it online at rvarc.org/plans-and-studies.