Regional Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee

The purpose of the Regional Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee, a subcommittee of the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO) Transportation Technical Committee (TTC), is to facilitate regional collaboration with diverse stakeholders in planning bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in the Roanoke Valley.

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Regional Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee meetings are at the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, 313 Luck Ave SW, in the upstairs conference room. Meetings are open to the public and the committee welcomes public participation. For more information or special accommodations, contact Rachel Ruhlen at rruhlen@rvarc.org or (540) 343-4417.

Upcoming meetings:
Tuesday, October 30, 2018 4:00 – 6:00 pm
Friday, January 4, 2019 2:00 – 4:00 pm*
Friday, March 29, 2019 4:00 – 6:00 pm
Thursday, May 30, 2019 1:00 – 5:00 pm*
*note earlier time on Jan 4. May 30 will be a half-day field trip or workshop.

Thursday, June 21, 2018 4:00 – 6:00 pm, agenda, draft minutes
Thursday, August 30, 2018 4:00 – 6:00 pm, agenda, draft minutes

The locality- and agency-appointed members of the Regional Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee are:

Locality/Agency Name Position
Botetourt County David Radcliff Director of New Community Project
Montgomery County Erik Olsen Transportation Planner for Blacksburg Transit
Roanoke City Andrea Garland
(alternate, Renee Powers)
Traffic Engineer
(alternate, Trails & Greenways Supervisor)
Roanoke County Cecile Newcomb
(alternate, Wayne Wilcox)
Planner
(alternate, Park & Greenway Planner)
Salem Jessica Preston Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney
Vinton Pete Peters
(alternate, Anita McMillan)
Assistant Town Manager
(alternate, Planning & Zoning Director)
VDOT Carol Linkenhoker Planning Specialist
Greenway Commission Greg Walter Board member

The TTC appointed ten at-large members with staggered two-year terms beginning in July:

Name Term Affiliation
Lisa Cooper 2018 – 2019 Franklin County planner
Vickie Browning 2018 – 2019 AARP
Colie Touzel 2018 – 2019 Virginia Tech
Kristine McCormick 2018 – 2019 Roanoke International Mountain Biking Association
Michelle Via 2018 – 2019 Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled
Garrett Brumfield 2019 – 2020 Overcome Yours
Jeremy Holmes 2019 – 2020 RIDE Solutions
Jim Lee 2019 – 2020 Bicyclist
Robert Robillard 2019 – 2020 North Cross
Lisa Wever 2019 – 2020 Fallon Park Elementary

Committee work includes field trips and workshops, such as the Planners and Engineers Ride and the Engineer-guided tour of the Garden City Greenway.

Planners and Engineers Ride

Engineer-guided tour of the Garden City Greenway

History

Bicycle planning in the Roanoke Valley goes back more than 40 years. The Fifth Planning District Commission, now the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, adopted the first Bikeway Plan in 1975, titled “Bicycle Once Again in Roanoke”, with updates in 1981, 1991, 1997, 2005, and 2012. Citizen’s Bicycle Advisory Committees guided development and updates, as well as the Regional Bicycle Suitability Study Phase II in 2004. A closely related effort, the Greenway Commission, established in 1995 and initially housed in the Fifth Planning District Commission, has had a profound influence on bicycling in the Roanoke Valley.

A site visit from the League of American Bicyclists in 2008 marked a turning point in on-road bicycle facilities in the Roanoke Valley. Acting on recommendations from the League’s site visit, the Regional Commission created the Regional Bicycle Advisory Committee. At the same time, the City of Roanoke formed a steering committee of staff from key departments and volunteers to apply for Bicycle Friendly Community status, and received the Bronze designation in 2010, 2012, and 2016. The concurrent Regional Bicycle Advisory Committee had representation from local governments, VDOT, Greenway Commission, RIDE Solutions, Roanoke Regional Partnership, Blue Ridge Bicycle Club, area bike shops, and citizen advocates. It served as a forum for discussion of bicycle-related topics and facilitated the provision and promotion of bicycle accommodations, information, and resources in the greater Roanoke area. Specifically, it informed the Roanoke Valley Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (now the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization) of relevant topics and information for discussion or action, assisted in updating and implementing the Regional Bikeway Plan, assisted in the National Bicycle & Pedestrian Documentation project, participated in periodic Planners and Engineers Rides, and assisted the annual Regional Bike Awards program, among other activities.

A few key people from the earliest days of Roanoke’s journey into bike/ped infrastructure deserve mention. Local attorney David Harrison engineered the visit from the League of American Bicyclists at the Higher Education Center, including garnering funds for the presentation. City of Roanoke Director of Traffic Engineering Mark Jamison, a cyclist, runner, and outdoors person, showed what could be done with bike lanes, bike routes, and sharrows, which became a model to other Roanoke Valley localities. Key early regional support from Roanoke County was in part due to planning administrator David Holladay who recognized the benefit to the County of the City receiving the Bicycle Friendly Community designation. Liz Belcher has led the Greenway Commission, a remarkable example of regional collaboration, since its inception. Jim Lee, long-time bicycle advocate and member of many of the committees mentioned, commented, “We would still be in the dark ages without the human and financial resources committed by the Regional Commission. As a region, we may never agree on the color, size, or font of a sign but we have found common ground working with the Regional Commission.”

Barbara Duerk served on Bicycle Advisory Committees from 1991 to 2017. RIDE Solutions recognized her contributions with the 2015 Bike Hero Award.

In 2016, waning attendance and staff turnover prompted revisioning and formalization of the committee. Locality staff noted the regional nature and citizen input as valuable characteristics of the committee. Acknowledging the close relationship between bicyclist and pedestrian issues, the Transportation Technical Committee (TTC) added “Pedestrian” to the name of the committee. The TTC formally adopted the Purpose and Procedures of the Regional Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee in January 2018.

The Regional Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee has had a strong role in improving walking and bicycling in the Roanoke Valley. With valuable input from the committee, the City of Roanoke, Roanoke County, Vinton, Salem, and Boutetourt County have implemented bike lanes, sharrows, and bike routes, improving on-road connections with greenways. The committee has collected data and raised awareness of bicycling and walking. The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission and the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization are proud to facilitate the collaboration that makes our valley a better place to bicycle and walk.