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.

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.

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.

New Public Participation Plan adopted

The Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO) adopted a Public Participation Plan on February 22, 2018, replacing the 2007 Public Participation Plan.

The purpose of public participation is to support transportation planning and promote the integrity and transparency of the transportation planning process.

RVTPO wants public participation to be:

  • Meaningful to the public – People should feel that their comments matter. Public input into a transportation plan should be timely, happen early enough to influence the outcome, and continue as the plan develops. The RVTPO is accountable to the public for their input. RVTPO Policy Board decisions reflect the diversity of viewpoints.
  • High quality – When people understand that transportation planning is complex, regional, and long-term, they can give input that is relevant, thoughtful, and practical. The RVTPO educates and explains transportation planning. Clarity of purpose and clarity of expectation improve the quality of public input.
  • Variety of input – The RVTPO seeks a breadth of representation in public input that is from different points of view, different needs, and different backgrounds.
  • High quantity – The more people who are engaged, the better the RVTPO can understand the transportation needs and priorities of the region. The RVTPO will provide convenient and delightful ways to participate with many options of how to participate, and continue to seek new ways to invite participation.

The Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO) fully complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related statutes and regulations in all programs and activities. The RVTPO also complies with ADA requirements. For more information about Title VI and ADA compliance, click here.

RVARC researches online survey tools

Example of a MetroQuest survey

Choosing the right online survey tool is one of several critical aspects to a successful survey. RVARC staff researched other cities, states, and MPOs to learn which survey tools other agencies are using and for what purposes.

RVARC staff considered several factors in evaluating online survey tools. Online survey tools generally have standard options such as multiple choice, select all that apply, short answer, and long answer. Some survey tools allow image-based questions or skip-logic depending on how the respondent answers a question. Some create mobile-friendly surveys or surveys that can be embedded in a website. Some survey tools limit the survey to a single page. An integrated map tool is an essential feature for transportation-related surveys.

SurveyMonkey is a standard among many agencies, and inexpensive. The RVARC has subscribed to SurveyMonkey for years.

Google Forms is a free option that is easy to use and integrate into a website or email.

MetroQuest surveys can get thousands of responses. MetroQuest specializes in public input for planning. MetroQuest developed a survey tool with the philosophy that public input should be a delightful experience.

Taking a MetroQuest survey is like playing a video game. Respondents drop virtual coins into different buckets representing road maintenance, transit, or sidewalks. They drag topics to the top of a list to indicate their priorities. They experiment with scenarios to modulate trade-offs among their priorities. They move pointers around on a map. MetroQuest is an excellent, though costly, survey tool.

Other survey tools that could be used for public input include PublicInput.com, Snap Surveys, Survey Act, Survey Gizmo, and SoGoSurvey. Tools for interactive forum discussions on individual projects include Mind Mixer, Peak Democracy, and Bang the Table.

You may see some of these tools employed in the next Long-Range Transportation Plan update.

Bike to Work Day!

The Regional Commission Bike Room recently got a facelift. A cleanup and a little paint transformed it from a dank and scary closet into a bright and spacious room. The six (of thirteen) employees who sometimes bike celebrated the improved Bike Room by all biking on the same day! Before the renovation, this would have been a problem– the Bike Room didn’t hold six bicycles.

Before work began, the bike room shared space with janitorial and other supplies.

RIDE Solutions staff Tim and Jeremy painted and laid tile. Renovation cost: $0! They selected paint and tiles from what they had on hand.

The maximum capacity before renovation was 4 bikes. The capacity after is 6 bikes and room to spare!

The parking lot is normally full, unless we’re all at a meeting. Today is was empty– but we were all here!

All 6 bikes in 1 parking space

Each bike in its own parking space