Author Archives: Tim Pohlad-Thomas

Newly Released US Census Bureau Data Shows Continued Growth in Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area

An initial analysis of data released today by the U.S. Census bureau showed continued population growth in the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which includes the counties of Botetourt, Craig, Franklin, and Roanoke, and the cities of Roanoke and Salem. According to the 2020 census, population in the MSA grew 2.1% over the previous decade. Statewide, population increased by 7.9%, which represents a lower growth rate than the previous 2000-2010 Census.

“We’re pleased to see that the region continues to grow,” says Matt Miller, Director of Information Services for the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, who performed the analysis. “And while the growth rate was lower than in previous years, this tracks with trends we are seeing nationally.”

The City of Roanoke, with a 3.1% growth rate, saw its population increase to over 100,000 for the first time since the 1980 Census. At 4.9%, Roanoke County saw the largest population growth of the jurisdictions covered by the Commission. Overall, the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission area – which stretches from Franklin County to Alleghany County – saw a growth of 1.6%.

“Overall, this data affirms trends we’ve seen the last few decades,” added Miller. “Small but consistent growth in our urban areas, and loss of population in our rural counties, cities, and towns.”

While more data is expected to be released by the Census, these population estimates will be used in the near term to help governments redraw local, congressional, and state legislative districts.
Table Caption: Population change data in Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission jurisdictions

Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission Names Jeremy Holmes as Next Executive Director

The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission announced today that Jeremy Holmes has been named the new Executive Director. Holmes follows Wayne Strickland, who retires June 30th after 42 years with the Regional Commission.

Holmes has served as director of the Commission’s RIDE Solutions Commuter Assistance Program for the past fifteen years and in January of 2020 became the Commission’s Associate Executive Director. In addition to his leadership of the RIDE Solutions program, Holmes has been involved in a number of regional community advocacy efforts, including the Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition, the Greater Roanoke Valley Asthma and Air Quality Coalition, Roanoke Valley Reads, and Healthy Roanoke Valley. Holmes holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Roanoke College and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Hollins University.

“I am thrilled and honored with the trust the Commission’s Board has placed in me,” Holmes said. “As the region emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, this period before us presents not just the promise of recovery from the worst of its impacts, but a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tap into resources for growth in areas like expanding broadband access, enhancing our regional transportation system, and promoting regional economic growth. I am excited at the chance to serve the region’s local governments in achieving these goals.”

Vinton Mayor Bradley Grose, Chairman of the Regional Commission and the Search Committee to hire a new Executive Director, said, “The committee members were impressed by Jeremy’s understanding of regional issues and priorities and his passion for the work.” The search committee conducted interviews after the announcement of Strickland’s retirement in March. The committee made their recommendation to the Executive Committee at their May 13thmeeting, who then made their recommendation to the full Board today. The Board voted unanimously to name Holmes to the position.

Holmes plans to focus his first several months on the job in assisting localities and other regional organizations to take advantage of the many funding opportunities being made as a result of the American Recovery Act and related COVID-recovery programs at the federal and state level.

2020 Annual Report

The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission is pleased to present its FY20 Annual Report. This report highlights the programs, projects, and events that took place over the past fiscal year.

We would like to thank our 11 member governments for their ongoing support of our organization’s programs/projects over the years.

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!

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.

Commission Hosts 50th Anniversary Celebration

On Thursday, November 14th, the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission hosted their 50th Anniversary Celebration. The dinner was attended by Commissioners, Staff, and their families, and representatives of partner organizations.

The Regional Commission would like to take this opportunity to thank our 11-member governments, various stakeholders and the citizens of the region for their continued support over the years.

Follow this link to view a slideshow of the Regional Commission throughout the years.