2015 Annual Report

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2 01 4 / 1 5 A n n ua l R e p o rt THE REGIONAL SPOTLIGHT FOR COLLABORATION

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ROA NO K E Va l l e y - A LLE G H A NY REGIONAL COMMISSION CONTENTS Section Page Chair Remarks..........................4 Financial Report and Staff........ 5 Broadband Authority .............. 6 RIDESolutions........................... 8 Transportation Planning ........10 Workforce Development........ 12 Local Assistance.......................14 Livable Roanoke Valley........... 15 Blueways .................................. 16 Greenways.............................. 17 Research and Tech Support....18 2015/16 Work Program.......... 22 Regional Images..................... 23

Commission Members and Local Governments (July 2014- June 2015 )

Alleghany County

Darlene Burcham The Honorable Johnette Roberts

Botetourt County

The Honorable Bobby Cundiff James Ervin

Kathleen Guzi Erin Henderson The Honorable Billy Martin, Sr. The Honorable John Williamson, III

City of Covington

J.B. Broughman The Honorable Bill Zimmerman

City of Roanoke

MEMBER GOVERNMENTS

The Honorable Bill Bestpitch The Honorable David Bowers Matt Bullington The Honorable Ray Ferris Chris Morrill Braxton Naff

City of Salem

The Honorable Lisa Garst The Honorable Jane Johnson The Honorable Bill Jones Melinda Payne

Craig County

Clay Goodman, III The Honorable Martha Murphy

Franklin County

The Honorable Bob Camicia The Honorable Mike Smith The Honorable Ronnie Thompson The Honorable Charles Wagner Chris Whitlow

Roanoke County

Front Cover Photo: Terry Aldhizer Visit terryaldhizer.com for prints 2 | 2015 ANNUAL REPORT

Town of Clifton Forge

The Honorable Shannon Cox The Honorable Richard L. Shull John Strutner

Tom Gates The Honorable Kevin Hutchins Dean Martin The Honorable Joe McNamara The Honorable Charlotte Moore J. Lee E. Osborne w w w.r varc .org

Town of Rocky Mount

Town of Vinton

The Honorable Bradley E. Grose Chris Lawrence

Liaison Members

(Non-Voting)

Beth Doughty Roanoke Regional Partnership Teresa Hammond Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Landon Howard Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau

Caroline Goode Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce Dr. John Rainone Dabney S. Lancaster Community College Dr. Robert Sandel Virginia Western Community College Joyce Waugh Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce


ROANOKE VALLEY-ALLEGHANY REGIONAL COMMISSION Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Region Town of Clifton Forge 2012 Population: 3,900 3.1 Square Miles

City of Covington 2013 Population: 6,259 5.7 Square Miles

Clifton Forge Covington

Alleghany County 2013 Population: 15,961 445 Square Miles (Includes Clifton Forge)

Alleghany County Botetourt County 2013 Population: 33,423 543 Square Miles Craig County 2013 Population: 5,305 331 Square Miles

Botetourt County

Craig

City of Salem 2013 Population: 25,274 14.6 Square Miles Montgomery County (Member of MPO)

County

Salem

Town of Vinton 2012 Population: 8,087 3.2 Square Miles

Roanoke Vinton

Town of Rocky Mount 2012 Population: 4,813 6.5 Square Miles

Bedford County (Member of MPO)

Roanoke County Franklin County 2013 Population: 56,574 692 Square Miles (includes Rocky Mount)

City of Roanoke 2013 Population: 98,913 42.9 Square Miles Roanoke County 2013 Population: 92,703 251 Square Miles (includes Vinton)

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Franklin County

Rocky Mount 2013 Region: 334,412 People 2325 Square Miles

Roanoke Valley Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) 2040 Boundary

Sources: Cities and Counties-Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, 2014. Towns: US Census Bureau 2008-2012 ACS Estimates. 2014

Sources: Esri, DeLorme, NAVTEQ, USGS, Intermap, iPC, NRCAN, Esri Japan, METI, Esri China (Hong Kong), Esri (Thailand), TomTom, 2013

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2015 ANNUAL REPORT | 3


R e marks fro m t h e chair

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s my time as Chair of the Regional Commission draws to a close, I’ve been thinking about the strong support provided by the eleven counties, cities and towns the Commission serves. The Commission was able to accomplish a number of projects this past year because of our local government’s elected officials and their staff members. Some Jane Johnson of our projects have been on-going, such as our work with the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority, while other projects were able to be completed in a year or less.

are a talented group of professionals that are passionate about the work they do for our member governments. Without the staff’s dedication, the Commission could not handle the many projects we are requested to undertake each year.

The projects highlighted could not have been pursued without the great work of the Regional Commission’s staff. They

Chair Jane Johnson

Finally, I want to express my sincere appreciation to each representative serving on the Commission. You are all very busy with so many things, and yet, you are willing to attend the Commission’s monthly meetings. Thank you for your service to your community and the region by participating on the Regional Commission. I feel extremely fortunate to be serving Salem at a time when the spirit of cooperation and working together has never been greater in our region. I have enjoyed getting to know all of our Commission members and local government leaders and look forward to what lies ahead for our Regional Commission and Transportation Planning Organization.

Leading through collaboration and strategy within our communities on issues that are critical to the economic growth, quality of life, and the sustainability of our region

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elow is a list of some regional projects that the Commission staff assisted with. Further details about each of these can be found in the Annual Report and at rvarc.org: • Update of the regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy • Coordination of a grant application for a regional Broadband Planning Initiative for the Counties of Alleghany, Botetourt and Craig, the City of Covington and the Town of Clifton Forge • Roanoke River Blueway mapping and promotion • Regional Food System Planning project • Coordination of the Blue Ridge Interagency Council on Homelessness • Establishing a partnership with the Western Virginia Workforce Development Board that brought the Board’s operations into the Regional Commission

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very year, the Commission provides local technical assistance to our communities. Below are some projects we have been working on: • Boones Mill Comprehensive Plan and CDBG grant application • Update of Botetourt County’s Comprehensive Plan • Assisted Franklin County in assessing alternatives unmanned waste facilities • Demographic data in support of the City of Roanoke’s new Comprehensive Plan • Craig County Solid Waste Management Plan • Clifton Forge Zoning maps • City of Covington Recreational Trails Application • Alleghany County Solid Waste Management Plan • Botetourt County Strategic Trail Plan • Assistance to the City of Salem in developing a plan for the downtown area w w w.r varc .org

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he Commission staff also serves as the planning staff for the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization and RIDE Solutions, the multi-regional transportation demand program that promotes ridesharing, public transit and alternative transportation Below are a few of the transportation projects undertaken in the past program year: • Started the technical process to update the regional long-range transportation plan (LRTP). The LRTP 2040 will continue on and be completed in FY 16. • Completed the final phase of the Western Virginia Intermodal Facility Study • Completed a Pedestrian Vision Plan for the Roanoke Valley • Worked with West Piedmont Workforce Development Board to incorporate the Martinsville and Danville region into the RIDE Solutions program


REMARKS FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIREC TOR 2014/2015 Financial Report Revenue, Grants and Appropriations

Regional Commission Staff (left to right) Matt Miller, Eddie Wells, Jackie Pace, Jeremy Holmes, Bryan Hill, Cristina Finch, Wayne Strickland, Shane Sawyer, Jake Gilmer, Olivia Dooley, Mark McCaskill, Tyler Godsey

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ach year our staff is called upon to assist our member governments in pursuing some complex regional and local projects. As the landscape of federal, state and local government requirements change, our communities need to address these requirements and often they turn to the Regional Commission staff to provide assistance. For example, our transportation planning staff was busy last year determining how House Bill 2 (a State transportation funding program) might impact our local governments. Additionally, the staff has worked closely with local governments to help them better understand the intent of HB2 and issues associated with it, such as the importance of having Urban Development Areas (UDAs) in local comprehensive plans. We envision that the information shared with our member governments will allow the region to obtain funding for several transportation-related projects. The Commission’s staff recognizes the importance of sharing “best practices” with other organizations. The work that they have accomplished has generated much interest outside our region. In fact, the Commission and the Transportation Planning Organization (TPO)

Federal Grants and Appropriations

$ 576,603

State Grants and Appropriations

363,630

Local Grants and Appropriations

273,749

Contract Income

79,402

Other

19,968

Total Revenues

$1,313,352

have been recognized by federal, state and professional groups. Here is a listing of several awards given to our staff: • Excellence in Regional Transportation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations for the Roanoke Valley TPO’s Congestion Management Plan. • 2015 Governor’s Transportation Safety Award for RIDE Solutions’ Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Program.

Expenses Personnel

958,024

Contract Services

123,727

Operations & Other Expenditures

233,747

Total Expenses

$1,315,498

Federal Funding Breakdown Regional Transportation Programs

473,799

Appalachian Regional Commission

67,058

• Excellence in Regional TransportaDept of Environmental Quality tion Award from the National Association of Development Organizations Total Federal Funding for RIDE Solutions 2014 Sustainable Transportation Summit. Contract Sources of Revenue Income

35,746

I think that the awards the staff received clearly shows the high level of professionalism and a sincere interest in the field of planning. Our staff brings this planning expertise to our work with member governments, federal/ state agencies and the organizations we work with in our greater region. The Commission’s staff is truly a group of talented and creative folks.

Inkind Contributions Local Grants 0% and Appropriations 21%

$576,603

6% Other 1%

Federal Grants and Appropriations 44%

State Grants and Appropriations 28%

Wayne Strickland Executive Director

Every year, the Regional Commission receives the help of interns, volunteers, and supporters who help play critical roles in the work we do. This year, we were honored to have: Scot Bellavia, Allison Homer, and Dale Saylor assist the staff in various capacities. We’d like to thank each of them for their efforts and offer a hearfelt thanks to the many other volunteers and supporters that may be unnamed, but are no less appreciated. Thank you. w w w.r varc .org

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ROA NO K E Va l l e y BROADBAND AUTHORITY Frank smith, new Broadband Authority Executive Director

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rank Smith, a P e n n s y l v a nia native and Roanoke resident spent nearly three decades in the telecommunications industry working Frank Smith for the private and public sectors. A majority of that time was spent in the federal, state and local markets.Smith will provide the Broadband Authority closer oversight of the project as it moves forward. Once the fiber has been laid in late 2015, he will play a key role in finding service providers.

Christopher P. Morrill

This infrastructure will not only help attract outside businesses to the valley, but will help existing companies grow and stay in the region. High speed broadband is critical in allowing the region to compete effectively in the global economy.

Mr. Smith and regional officials are focused on providing a broadband infrastructure that supports the growing demand for fiber from businesses and institutions like the Virginia Tech Caril-

ion School of Medicine and Research. Doing so will ensure our region’s economic vitality and their long term success.

Contact Frank Smith at fsmith@highspeedroanoke.net

Jun 2015

Utility Services Contractors hired to install 50 miles of

auG 2015

deC 2015

Frank Smith hired as Executive Director for Broadband Authority

Estimated date installation of 50 mile network will be complete

RVBA Board Members Kevin S. Boggess City of Salem- Chair

Tom Gates

Roanoke County

Kathleen D. Guzi Botetourt County

Michael McEvoy Citizen- Vice Chair City of Roanoke

The current fiber network service area lies within 1,000 feet of 3,500 businesses, employing an estimated 74,000 workers. Only 8% of the Roanoke region has access to fiber versus the national average of 24%. In cities like Chattanooga, over 50% of the region has access to speeds over 1gbps. In Roanoke, that figure is 4.5%.

earLy 2016

Network operational

HIGHSPEEDROANOKE.NET

50 MILE NETWORK OF FIBER TO BE OPERATIONAL IN EARLY 2016

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n June of 2015, the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority accepted a $2.9 million bid from Utility Services Contractors Inc. to install 50 miles of fiber to address regional gaps in high speed internet.

conduit. In September, fiber was procured and is now being installed into the network. The installation of conduit and fiber is expected to be complete in December of 2015, with the network becoming operational sometime in early 2016.

Thompson & Litton, a Wise-based engineering firm that designed the project and obtained the required municipal permits to lay down the fiber, recommended the low bidding firm from South Carolina after receiving 4 other bids.

Broadband Authority Executive Director Frank Smith stated, “Members of the government, business, and education community are actively involved in discussions with the RVBA to plan drops and future service requirements once the network is fully operational.”

In August, the firm began installing 6 | 2015 ANNUAL REPORT

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ROANOKE VALLEY BROADBAND AUTHORITY Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority Fiber Network Buried Fiber Aerial Fiber POP City of Salem Fiber

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MBC Hut

Can I get broadband service from the RVBA? The Authority is in the construction stage of a 50 mile fiber network that will likely be completed by 2016. We hope to make service available to businesses, governments and institutions by early 2016. Will I be able to get residential broadband service from the RVBA? It is unlikely that service will be available for residential customers. As we work with service providers, options for residential service in the Roanoke Valley will likely increase. The RVBA does not want to directly compete in the residential market.

Valley View Hut

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September 2015

5 Miles

Frequently Asked Questions

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he Broadband Authority is in the process of engineering a 50 mile network in the Valley that will serve business parks, large institutions, government facilities, and businesses. This network will be operated as an open-access network by an experienced, carrier-grade operator, and is expected to be operational by 2016. What is an open-access network? The fiber network will be owned by the RVBA, but broadband service will be provided by a number of qualified service providers. With one “wire” to the customer, multiple providers can compete to deliver services using the same infrastructure. For example, the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport allows multiple private airlines to use

the facility, and you can choose the flight or service you need. It does not make sense to require each airline to build their own airport to enter the market. Don’t we already have broadband in the Roanoke Valley? Yes. There are several fiber networks in the Roanoke Valley and several companies that can potentially provide you with access to broadband services. The Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority believes there should be more alternatives at a more affordable price, and is focused on an economic development, quality of life, and service based model, rather than a profit driven model. w w w.r varc .org

The RVBA recognizes that provider choice is currently limited in the Roanoke Valley. Eighty-nine percent of Roanoke MSA residents have two or less providers to choose from. Nationally, this number is 45%. In other words, 55% of the nation has more than two providers to choose from, while only 11% of the Roanoke Valley has more than two providers to choose from. We realize that the lack of competition adversely affects price and service. Where will the fiber network be installed? The map above represents the approximate location of new fiber being installed. The City of Salem already has a fiber network which will connect to the new fiber. There are over 3,500 businesses with more than 74,000 employees within 1,000 feet of the network. Last mile connections will be built into contract service charges and the network is expected to expand as revenue is reinvested.

For more information, visit highspeedroanoke.net

2015 ANNUAL REPORT | 7


RIDE SOLUTIONS CONNECTING THE REGION’S COMMUTERS Connecting the Region’s Commuters

CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE Campaign WINS Governor’s Virginia Transportation and Safety AWARD

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n June of 2015, RIDE Solutions’ Change Your Perspective Campaign was awarded the Virginia Governor’s Transportation and Safety Award for Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety. The campaign was designed to increase safety for both cyclists and motorists and reduce accident rates by educating both cyclists and drivers about the laws and rules of the road. The Roanoke Valley has been recognized as one of the best places in the country to ride a bike – not only for exercise but also for transportation. With more cyclists on the road in the spring, there’s an increase in the possibility of accidents with cars. The Roanoke Valley has increased onroad bicycle accommodations by over 600% in the last five years. Recent cen-

sus data shows a 150% increase in the number of people who cite a bicycle as their main source of transportation. The campaign includes five illustrated posters reminiscent of transportation in a bygone era, each showing different bicycle-vehicle perspectives. In addition, a Bike Safety PSA was produced with RVTV3 and the National Park Service, and an Incident Reporting Tool was developed to gather more data on incidents in our region. This couldn’t have been done without the support of our regional sponsors: Carilion Clinic, Virginia Tech, First Team Subaru, Neathawk Dubuque & Packett, 101.5 The Music Place, the City of Roanoke, Roanoke Natural Foods Co-Op, East Coasters Bike Shop, and Roanoke Outside.

Learn more at ridesolutions.org/changeyourperspective

Art By bus

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rt By Bus is a multifaceted collaboration with Valley Metro, the Roanoke Arts Commission, and RIDE Solutions aimed at using art and performance to encourage transit ridership in March. Poet, Melanie Almeder, rode the bus for 30 days and created a book of poems about her experience called, In Transit. The Starline Performance Series features musicians on the Trolley. Bus wraps featuring the City’s art collection were also in- Justin Pinckney stalled. 8 | 2015 ANNUAL REPORT

Sustainable transportation summit

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his year’s Summit featured presentations from VT TransPresenters Tim Cerebe portation Institute on and Amar Bhattarai driverless vehicles, the Roanoke Refuggee Resettlement Program, regional transit planning, and in depth discussions on research and data analysis in transportation planning. Held at the VT Carilion School of Medicine, the event seeks to bring together planners, community leaders, and researchers to explore the impact of transportation and it’s importance in regional sustainability. w w w.r varc .org

WWW.RIDESOLUTIONS.ORG

RIDE SOlutions expands into West Piedmont RIDE Solutions is excited to announce that a partnership with the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board (WPWIB) will bring its free commuter service program to the greater Martinsville and Danville area. The program will serve the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board’s entire region including Danville, Pittsylvania County, Martinsville, Henry County and Patrick County.

Recycled RacerS

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he Recycled Racers event was held at the Earth Day Festival in Wasena Park this year. Participants used Chris Heslin everything from recycled bike parts to cat litter buckets to build their own racers. The event embraces creativity in thinking about our mobility while encouraging community leaders, local businesses and organizations to promote alternatives to driving alone. The event is scheduled to return next year.


RIDE SOLUTIONS CONNECTING THE REGION’S COMMUTERS

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he Clean Commute Challenge for 2015 was a great success, with a record amount of miles and trips logged.

We can’t say enough about how great our clean commuters were this year, with both teams and individuals racking up the highest number of clean miles we’ve ever seen. How did we perform? Check it out:

41,809

2,000

Lbs Of Greenhouse Gas Removed

Gallons Of Gas Not Burned

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fter 5 years, RIDE Solutions Bike Shorts Film Festival has grown into a multi regional festival that brings together film-makers from throughout the region and around the globe. Vancouver, the UK, Hong Kong, Israel, and India are just a few of the countries to have been represented.

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he Night Rider’s Ball, featuring Cabinet, The Pimps of Joytime and Ripejive was held at Martins Downtown. The new venue enabled us to draw 300+ cyclists and clean commuters from around the region, tripling our attendance from previous years. Heading into its 5th year, the Night Rider’s Ball is becoming one of our biggest Bike Month events.

The Bike Shorts Film Festival premiere at the Grandin Theatre this year, marking its rapid growth in the region. In addition, the Bike Shorts film was featured at the Lynchburg’s Academy of Fine Arts and in Blacksburg’s famed Lyric Theatre.

2015 Audience Choice-Grandin Winner Hank Ebert

52,262

2,421

Miles Logged

Trips Logged

Sponsored By

BLUE RIDGE

M A G A Z I N E

$5,000

40%

Gas Savings

Non-Commute Total Trips Logged

Sponsored By BLUE RIDGE

M A G A Z I N E

RIDE SOLUTIONS PRESENTS A BIKE MONTH EVENT “5th ANNUAL BIKE SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL ” THE GRANDIN THEATER THIS SPRING MAY 1, 2015 RIDESOLUTIONS.ORG/BIKESHORTS

A FILM

PREMIERING AT

RIDE SOLUTIONS PRESENTS A BIKE MONTH EVENT PREMIERING AT THE GRANDIN THEATER THIS SPRING FRIDAY MAY 1, 2015 TICKETS $12 (includes concession) RECEPTION 6:00 SCREENING 7:00 RIDESOLUTIONS.ORG/BIKESHORTS

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2015 ANNUAL REPORT | 9


ROA NO K E Va l l e y TRANSPORTATION PLANNING ORGANIZATION tpo pOLICY BOARD MEMBERS

Bedford County

House bill 2, the Long range transporation plan and the ROAD AHEAD

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ur regional transportation planning process is an interconnected system of mutually supportive plans, priorities and processes. The ultimate goal is a decision support system which helps regional leaders make wise decisions with regards to investments in transportation infrastructure. The TPO coordinates the develpment of the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP), Congestion Management Plan, Regional Pedestrian and Transit Vision Plans, and RVTPO projects for House Bill 2, the new framework used for statewide project selection and prioritization.

Thanks to our decision to pursue an Ozone Early Action Plan (EAP) in 200203, the Roanoke Valley has maintained our good air quality that falls within attainment of federal standards. As a result, LRTP is on a 5-year update cycle instead of the 4-year cycle that applies to other Transportation Management Area (TMA) TPOs in Virginia. This extra year will allow us to partner with VDOT and their consultant Parsons Brinkerhoff to update our regional travel demand model starting in FY 2015 and continuing through FY 2016. The new model will add a transit mode choice element and other enhancements that advance us to the next level technically.

The TPO staff’s effort to engage the public and stakeholders through regular blog postings, social media and various online surveys have helped to broaden our public outreach. Online outreach alone may not engage all segments of our communities. In order to better address these gaps, the TPO staff is working with a Master Degree candidate at Virginia Tech to develop a new Environment Justice framework. This is a good example of how we engage with our neighboring Universities and broader regional partners.

This past year has been about innovation and hard work towards real progress in planning for a multimodal transportation system that moves our region forward. Collaboration between our staff, our partners, and our regional stakeholders to enhance our position and competitiveness is a critical part of this process and effectively positions the TPO to compete with Virginia’s other major urban areas.

Botetourt County

The Honorable Billy Martin The Honorable Todd Dodson

Roanoke County

The Honorable Al Bedrosian The Honorable Charlotte Moore

Montgomery County

The Honorable Annette Perkins

City of Roanoke

The Honorable Bill Bestpitch The Honorable Ray Ferris

City of Salem

The Honorable Lisa Garst The Honorable Jane Johnson

Town of Vinton

The Honorable Doug Adams The Honorable Janet Scheid

Greater Roanoke Transit Company (Valley Metro) Carl Palmer

Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport

Efren Gonzalez

Virginia Dept. of Rail & Public Transportation

Neil Sherman

What Is House Bill 2 (HB2)?

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ouse Bill Two (HB2) is about investing limited tax dollars in the right projects that meet the most critical transportation needs in Virginia. At the heart of the new law is scoring projects based on an objective process that involves public engagement and input. Once projects are scored, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) will have the best information possible to select the right projects for funding. TPO staff have helped local governments, transit agencies and other regional partners adjust to the new HB2 framework. While the process of scoring projects and competing for funds is shifting, we expect HB2 will enable the TPO Board to more successfully secure funding and program transportation projects.

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The Honorable Bill Thomasson

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VDOT–Salem District

Ken King

NON-VOTING MEMBERS

Kevin Jones Federal Highway Administration Ryan Long Federal Transit Administration J. Lee E. Osborne Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission


ROANOK E VA LLEY TRANSPORTATION PLANNING ORGANIZATION Pedestrian vision plan

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he Regional Pedestrian Vision Plan for the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization is the region’s first plan focusing on promoting walking for everyday trips. With limited financial resources, this plan identifies where pedestrian infrastructure investments are most needed based on the number of potential residents, employees, shoppers, diners, and other visitors to walk to access nearby destinations. The purpose of the Pedestrian Plan is to provide a coordinated and strategic approach to making walking a more widely chosen form of transportation. By investing in pedestrian infrastructure such as sidewalks, handicap ramps, bus stop waiting areas, and greenways, our region can provide safe and attractive walking environments that will enable people to accomplish their daily tasks with greater ease.

Pedestrian Vision Plan Implementation • G oal #1: Improve SAFETY for pedestrians. More people are seen walking in the Roanoke Valley because they feel safe due to new infrastructure which makes walking safer for people. • G oal #2: Enable INDEPENDENT MOBILITY, particularly within Multimodal Centers and Districts, where people do not have to rely on vehicles to get from one place to another. Walking is an easy decision because it is a pleasant experience. • G oal #3: Create a region where ACTIVE LIFESTYLES are the norm because our land use decisions and investment in pedestrian infrastructure complement each other and enable a natural tendency for people to walk every day. As a result, people feel healthier, more socially-connected and happy living and working in the Roanoke Valley. • G oal #4: Increase BUSINESS in Multimodal Centers and Districts; they are enjoyable places to work and patronize in part because they are in attractive well-connected walkable environments. • G oal #5: Clean the ENVIRONMENT by walking for more trips and driving less. The Roanoke Valley is an attainment area for air quality, and we want it to remain as such even as we continue to grow in population. As more citizens walk to accomplish everyday tasks, they are able to enjoy the Valley’s beautiful environment.

bus stop accessibility study receives TRANSPORTATION PLANNING EXCELLENCE AWARD FROM federal agencies

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he U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) jointly announced the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission as one of this year’s eight Transportation Planning Excellence Award recipients.

The RVARC’s “Bus Stop Accessibility Study” was recognized as a national example of addressing the link between pedestrian and transit, and developing new ways to determine, evaluate and compare bus stop activity. It used survey data to identify the most active bus stops and those with the greatest number of mobility impaired riders. The study’s results are leading to more accessible bus stops with better overall system efficiency.

“Given the limited funds available for infrastructure improvements, data-driven tools like this one help to prioritize local transportation investments,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “Thanks to pioneering work like theirs, the transportation community is now able to specifically pinpoint the areas needing improvements, and why they are needed.” Project leader, Cristina Finch of the Regional Commission, states, “This Study reflects new ways to use existing data “RVARC’s innovative evaluation process to better understand and justify the improvements needed for people to led to a major bus route adjustment access transit. With so many bus stops and pedestrian enhancements to bus stops along a high-activity, low-income in the transit network, this Study provides direction on where investments corridor.” FTA Therese W. McMillan are most needed.” w w w.r varc .org

2015 ANNUAL REPORT | 11


E CONO MY WORKFORCE DE VELOPMENT jake gilmer, hired as Western virginia workforce development board Director

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ake Gilmer has been selected as the new Director of the Western Virginia Workforce Development Board (WVWDB). Mr. Gilmer is a Roanoke native whose spent Jake Gilmer much of his life in North Carolina, but returned to the region 10 years ago. He has spent most of his career in urban and community development, serving communities such as Hendersonville, NC, the Land-of-Sky Region of Asheville, NC, and Roanoke, VA. He most recently served as the Director of Partnerships and Development with the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany

Regional Commission. There he led the Partnership for a Livable Roanoke Valley, which was a multi-year regional planning effort to promote economic opportunity and quality of life in the region. In that role, he worked with over 60 nonprofits, businesses, and local governments to reach consensus on the region’s highest priority goals and strategies to achieve them. Over his career, Mr. Gilmer has raised over $3,600,000 in funding for community and workforce development projects from federal, state, and foundation sources. Mr. Gilmer is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and holds a Master’s in Public Administration from James Madison University. Mr. Gilmer believes that the WVWDB can become the regional voice for workforce preparedness and a primary contact for employers that seek to attract and retain qualified workers.

He would like to see the WVWDB provide more direct training funds and resources to employers and plans to add a new Business Services position to implement this goal. He is also committed to more strongly engaging key employers in setting regional workforce development goals and policies. The Western Virginia Workforce Development Board is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to cultivate a dynamic workforce development system that stimulates economic development in the cities of Covington, Roanoke and Salem, and the counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Craig, Franklin, and Roanoke.

Contact Jake Gilmer at jake.gilmer@westernvaworkforce.com

rvarc rEGION

rvarc rEGION

rvarc rEGION

rvarc rEGION

rvarc rEGION

rvarc rEGION

35.9%

13.3%

95.2

12.5

$39,751

9.9%

% of Postsecondary Awards in STEM-H Programs

% of 9-12th Graders Earning STEM-H Dual Enrollment Credits

Postsecondary Awards per 100,000 Residents

Career Readiness Certificates per 100,000 Residents

Average Wages

% of CTE Students Completing in the Health Science Career Cluster

vIRGINIA

vIRGINIA

vIRGINIA

vIRGINIA

vIRGINIA

vIRGINIA

32.7%

4%

102.5

12.2

$51,923

6.7%

Sources: STEM-H: STEM-H Postesecondary Enrollments and Awards, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), 2014; Dual Enrollment CreditsSCHEV, 2014 Postsecondary Education: Postsecondary Enrollments and Postsecondary Awards-SCHEV, 2014 Career Readiness: Career Readiness Certificates- Virginia Community College System, 2014 Employment: Average Wages- Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013 Health Care: Health Science Career Cluster Completions- Virginia Dept. of Education, 2014

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ECONOMY WORKFORCE DE VELOPMENT

Western Virginia Workforce Development Board

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n June 2015, the Western Virginia Workforce Development Board moved into the ground floor of the Regional Commission building. The Regional Commission was asked by the Chief Local Elected Officials Consortium (CLEO) to partner with the WVWDB to help improve workforce services for the region. The Regional Commission will act as the fiscal agent, employer of record, and office location of the WVWDB. Under the proposal, the WVWDB will remain an independent 501c3 organization that contracts with the Regional Commission for payroll, benefits, and office space.

tegrity Windows, and Salem Tool, Inc. The Board is now focused on understanding the needs of key local employments and providing training to jobseekers to meet those needs. • Industry Skills Panels: The WVWDB will soon convene a series of Skills Panels made up of key industries in to order to further understand the skills needed for today’s workforce. The Panels will work to identify skill gaps, skill standards, create new certificate programs, and strengthen career pathways.

The Regional Commission and the Workforce Development Board are already working hard to enhance our regional workforce system. Part of this effort includes the following initiatives:

• Business Services: The WVWDB will soon have a full-time position dedicated to providing training resources directly to employers to help improve their existing workforce. The person will also work to support a regional Business Services Team that coordinates the outreach of several workforce agencies with local employers. • Engage Industry and Employers: The WVWDB recently awarded a new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Services contract to ResCare Workforce Services. The WVWDB believes that ResCare brings a strong understanding of employer needs and the experience needed to engage with them and other partners in the region. • Create Relevant Career Pathways: The WVWDB is a key partner in Governor McAuliffe’s New Economy Initiative and will help in delivering 50,000 industry recognized credentials by the end of 2017. The WVWDB is also working to expend a greater percentage of workforce funds on training for in-demand career pathways.

• Realignment of WVWDB Board of Directors: The Board of Directors is increasingly composed of members that represent leading local employers, in key industry sectors. New members to the Board include senior representatives of Medical Facilities of America, In-

For more information, visit westernvaworkforce.com w w w.r varc .org

2015 ANNUAL REPORT | 13


REGIONAL PROJEC TS A ND LO C A L TE C H N I C A L A S S I S TA N C E Regional Commission has provided technical assistance to many of our local governments during 2014-15 including: • Provided trail and blueway user counts to the Botetourt County Department of Parks and Recreation that will be used to support future grant applications and help measure the economic impact of tourism and recreation in the county.

Courtesy Terry Aldhizer

• Solid Waste Management Plan updates for the Alleghany Highlands, Craig County and Town of New Castle. • Completed the mapping and demographic update for the Boones Mill Comprehensive Plan. • Worked with the Town of Boones Mill to develop a CDBG Planning Grant for the Pate neighborhood that documented the need for housing rehabilitation and the extension of new water and sewer service. • Assisted the City of Salem with its Downtown Plan by providing parking space utilization study and building inventory data. • Participated in the Town of Vinton Downtown Revitalization project by serving on the Project Management Team. • Assisted the Town of Clifton Forge with development of the Pedestrian & Greenway Plan by completing a sidewalk inventory and mapping for the project. • Completed a Recreational Trails Program grant application for the City of Covington’s Jackson River Recreation/

Sports Complex that would fund a walking trail and boating access site. • Worked with the Town of Vinton to explore options for installation of a crosswalk at W.E. Cundiff Elementary School. • Worked with the Town of Vinton on a grant application to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to fund a canoe and kayak launch on Tinker Creek. • Assisted Craig County with continued development of the Craig County Greenway by working with the Virginia Tech Engineers Without Borders and the Virginia Safe Routes to School program. • The Regional Commission’s Grant Resource Access Network (GRANT) is a system to notify area governments, non-profits, and other interested parties in the region of grant opportunities. GRANT resources include the GrantStation Insider weekly e-newsletter, grant deadlines, conferences and seminars, and industry news; access to the GrantStation database of private grantmakers, and links to additional grant resources and services. • Participated in the Downtown Roanoke Intermodal Transportation Study with the City of Roanoke and Valley Metro.

rEGIONAL pROJECTS: In the spotlight

Below are just a few of the many regional projects undertaken by the Regional Commission.

HOMELESSNESS

LOCAL FOOD AND AGRICULTURE

WASTE MANAGEMENT

2007, the Regional Commisoordinated the Regional Local ssisted Franklin County in resion has coordinated the Blue Foods Planning Committee, comSRidgeince C searching options for consolidatA Interagency Council on Homepleted the Food Access Assessment ing green-box sites in an effort to lessness (BRICH) which facilitates and coordinates the region’s efforts to prevent, treat, and end homelessness. The counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Craig, and Roanoke; the cities of Covington, Roanoke, and Salem, and the towns of Clifton Forge and Vinton are all part of this effort. The BRICH is composed of members from the general public, local governments, mental health programs, state and federal programs, non-profit organizations, businesses, and colleges and universities throughout the Roanoke region. 14 | 2015 ANNUAL REPORT

report for the City of Roanoke, provided grant application assistance to LEAP, and maintained the Commission’s local foods planning website.

The Regional Commission will continue working with area stakeholders to develop a Regional Food System Plan to promote and expand the existing food infrastructure within the greater Roanoke Valley and surrounding areas with expected outcomes of stimulating economic development, improving area livability, preserving existing natural resources, and increasing food access. w w w.r varc .org

reduce illegal dumping and improve the economic and environmental impact of the sites. The Regional Commission helped research and identify best practices and lessons learned from similar efforts made in Montgomery, Bedford, and other surrounding counties.

In February 2014, Franklin County announced that it would condense its 69 sites that contain 284 boxes to around 13 sites with manned compactors at each to assist county residents with unloading waste.


PARTNERSHIP FOR A LIVABLE ROANOKE VALLEY SOLARIZE ROANOKE

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ince our launch of the Livable Roanoke Valley Plan, we’ve worked with our partners to move forward on some of our region’s highest priority initiatives. We want Lisa Garst to make sure you are aware of the progress that we are making across our goal areas including quality education, access to healthcare, work and career opportunities, stewardship of the environment, and greater regional collaboration. Below are just some of the great strides that have been made by our champions and regional stakeholders: • Presented the plan to over twenty local and statewide governmental, civic and student organizations. • Obtained official endorsement of the plan from multiple local governments and nonprofit partners.

• Expanded the Livable Roanoke Valley Steering Committee to include representatives from the Alleghany Highlands. • Distributed over 400 copies of the plan and 600 brochures to partnering organizations, citizens, businesses, elected officials, and potential funders. We look forward to even greater things in the coming year and will continue to provide you with more good news in the coming months. A special thank you goes out to our partners in the field who are making progress happen and to the Regional Commission for the support and guidance of the Livable Roanoke Valley Plan. Lisa Garst Steering Committee Chair Partnership for a Livable Roanoke Valley

XPERIENCE CONNECTS YOUNG PROFESSIONALS WITH EMPLOYERS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS

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siastic, dynamic and innovative memXperience 2015 bers of our community. As we help

he inaugural Xperience event, held in March 2015, attracted an estimated 150 young professionals to the event. Local businesses and organizations provided $15,000 in sponsorships.

The event was created to connect and empower young professionals to strengthen our community. Young professionals are not only a sign of a strong business community. They play an important role in the future of our region. They are enthu-

them along their career pathway, we should also encourage them to play a more prominent role in the civic fabric of our community. Regions with strong reserves of human and social capital are better positioned to compete in the 21st century global economy. Planning is already underway for next year’s Xperience conference. This event can easily double in size in 2016 by focusing more on both existing college students and those outside our market with ties to the region. w w w.r varc .org

Courtesy Community Housing Partners

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olarize Roanoke was launched by Community Housing Partners in partnership with the City of Roanoke. The program’s aim was to make solar energy easier and more affordable to implement for the residents of Roanoke by using the power of bulk purchasing.

HOW IT WORKS A free evaluation is made to determine if an individual’s home is a good solar energy candidate. After signing up on the Solarize Roanoke website, a local, qualified solar contractor scheduled a home visit to size up the roof, explain the details of solar installation, and answer any questions about going solar. Special financing and discounts were offered through through Freedom First Credit Union. Residents were also be able to see their Solarize discount and federal tax incentives in the final cost of the system. Contractors would then make a site visit to gather all the information necessary, obtain necessary permits, order materials and equipment, and schedule installation. Installation usually takes a few days. Once the system is up and running, residents can use electricity as it is generated or sell back any surplus electricity to the utility. Through “net energy metering,” you get a one-to-one, kilowatt hour-for-kilowatt hour credit on your bill for every unit of electricity produced and put back on the electric grid. For More Livable Roanoke Updates visit livableroanoke.org 2015 ANNUAL REPORT | 15


L I VA B I L I TY BLUEWAYS Regional blueways enhance outdoor amenities and economic activity

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he Roanoke River Blueway offers a unique combination of urban, front country, and back country recreation opportunities in the upper Roanoke River watershed. Enjoy canoeing, kayaking, fishing, tubing, wading, wildlife viewing, and watershed education – with convenient access to other outdoor and cultural amenities in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

The 45-mile Roanoke River Blueway (water trail) runs from the South Fork Roanoke River at East Montgomery County Park to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) Hardy Ford boating access at Hardy Road (634) in Bedford County at Smith Mountain Lake. The Roanoke River Blueway weaves through Montgomery County, Roanoke County, Salem, Roanoke and Franklin County, offering 18 access points along the way. The Roanoke River Blueway provides river access for canoeing, kayaking, fishing, tubing, wading, wildlife viewing, and other recreational opportunities, while connecting to numerous local parks, Roanoke River Greenway, Tinker Creek Greenway, Mill Mountain Greenway, Blue Ridge Parkway, Explore Park, and Smith Mountain Lake. The Roanoke River Blueway also includes sections of the South Fork Roanoke River, Tinker Creek, and Back Creek. Connecting Blueways to Greenways

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he Roanoke River Greenway and the blueway have a symbiotic relationship, and as the greenway improves and grows, people expect the same from the nearby waterway. The greenway parallels the blueway for 15 miles through Roanoke, Salem, Roanoke County and Vinton. Both are part of the effort to brand the Roanoke Valley as an outdoors friendly communi-

16 | 2015 ANNUAL REPORT

ty for the purposes of attracting both tourism and economic development. Throughout the past year, the Roanoke River Blueway Committee, and Pathfinders for the Greenways have been working to expand access points to the Roanoke River. As a result of the partnership, the blueway committee officially can designate the trail as the 18th access point to the Roanoke River once the work is complete and approved by the park service. Discovering our Regional Blueways

VINTON BOAT LAUNCH

Roanoke River’s blueway isn’t the only one in the region. Coordinated efforts with local governments, outdoor enthusiasts, and numerous state and regional entities have supported blueway developments in Alleghany Highlands and Botetourt and Franklin Counties. The Franklin County blueway system for the Pigg and Blackwater rivers, includes 35 miles of river. Its annual Pigg River Ramble Weekend brings out more than 1,000 participants and spectators throughout the weekend for various events. The Alleghany Highlands Blueway combines the Jackson and Cowpasture rivers with 2 lakes to offer fantastic canoeing, fishing, and recreational options. The Upper James River Trail begins at the headwaters of the Jackson and Cowpasture rivers. Along the 45 miles of the Upper James River in Botetourt County, you can get up close and personal with the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains. These headwaters provide some of the best fishing and canoeing in Virginia.

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n June of 2015, the Town of Vinton opened its first public boat ramp at Tinker Creek. The boat and canoe launch was originally built in 1985 for water rescues but is now open to the community as our region continues to expand its recreational access to the Roanoke River Blueway. Residents have asked for the launch to be opened to the public for more than a decade, but the town didn’t have the money to make it a reality until now. Total improvements include signage, the kiosk to post river access information such as maps and regulations, a boat rack, fencing, landscaping, and improvements to the parking area.

For more info, visit rvarc.org/blueways w w w.r varc .org


LIVABILITY GREENWAYS Regional GREENWAY AND TRAIL USER COUNT highlights popularity of our trails and greenways

HOW IS THE DATA USED

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he primary data collected by the trail counters include the total number of counts, time of each count (hour, day, month, year). Data from the program is available to local governments and other stakeholders and has been utilized for a range of purposes including:

Total Users 2014

ROANOKE RIVER UNDERHILL AVE 4%

LICK RUN - 10TH ST 8%

HANGING ROCK BATTLEFIELD TRAIL 4%

MURRAY RUN 4% ROANOKE RIVER 17TH ST 8%

ROANOKE RIVER RIVERS EDGE 50%

ROANOKE RIVER MOYERS SPORTS COMPLEX 16%

ROANOKE RIVER GREEN HILL PARK 6%

AVERAGE DAILY USERS 534

600 400 200

174 44

89

43

89

65

44

0

390,254

135

TOTAL USERS 2014

AVERAGE DAILY USERS

Capital improvements program (cip) funding requests for greenway construction

he Regional Greenway and Trail User Count Program, established in 2010, is an ongoing effort to conduct user counts on area greenways and trails. The goal of the Regional Greenway and Trail User Count Program is to collect longitudinal data for using in general planning and maintenance purposes and to compare to future use as the regional greenway network is expanded, connected, and promoted.

Maintenance funding and prioritization

Greenway operations and policy development

Congestion and/or user conflict management

Events planning

Grant applications

The Regional Greenway and Trail User Count Program was developed and is managed by the Roanoke Valley Alleghany Regional Commission with support from the cities of Roanoke and Salem, Roanoke County, the Town of Vinton, Roanoke Valley Greenways, and Pathfinders for Greenways. Funding sources for the program include regional transportation funding, local governments, and Roanoke Valley Greenways.

Outdoor amenities marketing

Go outside festival (go fest) attendance count

Benefits/cost analyses

Transportation studies

Public health research

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Courtesy Brantley Acree

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Courtesy Sarah Sammet

2015 ANNUAL REPORT | 17


R e s e arch a n d t e ch n ica l s u p p o rt HOTEL ROANOKE ECONOMIC IMPAC T GAUGing THE IMPACT OF COLLABORATION

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he Regional Commission offers economic impact analysis services to both the public and private sector. Construction, operations, and visitor impacts can be modeled specifically for any region in Virginia using economic impact analysis software. In past years, the Commission has conducted these studies for our member goverments, the Taubman Museum of Art, the Blue Ridge Marathon, and other regional organizations. For more information about conducting a study on a particular project, contact the Regional Commission at rvarc@rvarc.org

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hOTEL rOANOKE AND CONFERENCE CENTER EXCEEDS OVER $616 MILLION IN TOTAL ECONOMIC IMPACT OVER 20 YEARS

he Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission examined the economic impact of the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center from its renovation and re-opening in 1995 through 2014. An additional component of the study was to document changes in downtown Roanoke for the same period. The downtown has undergone revitalization through modest growth and investment, and the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center has been a visible indicator and component of this growth over the past 20 years. • The total impact of the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center was estimated to be about $616 million over the past 19 years, including:

• $78 million from initial renovation and construction. • $30.5 million from capital improvements to the Hotel and Conference Center. • $351 million from Hotel sales. • $86 million Center sales.

from

Conference

• $61 million from visitation. • Direct spending by the Hotel, Conference Center and visitors equates to over $395 million of regional impact, while indirect and induced spending by vendors, employees and households adds an additional $220 million. • In 2014, the estimated impact of the Hotel and Conference Center was $40 million.

ECO N OMI C I MPAC T ANALYSIS HOTEL ROANOKE AND CONFERENCE CENTER

• Over $36 million of the 19 year impact has been in the form of taxes paid by the Hotel and Conference Center. • The Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center has directly employed between 250 and 300 people each year over the past twenty years. In 2014, the Hotel and Conference Center had payroll and benefits of nearly $9 million.

April 2015

18 | 2015 ANNUAL REPORT

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• The Hotel and Conference Center has helped support about 77 additional jobs through indirect and induced spending each year since its reopening in 1995. • It is estimated that visitors drawn by conferences and the Hotel have generated over $61 million in regional impact since 1995. These visitors have helped support about 40 jobs per year in the regional economy.

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owntown Roanoke has seen similar positive growth for the same period. New restaurants, employment growth and downtown residential growth have occurred as a result of investment in downtown. It is estimated that the entire impact of revitalization in the downtown area has likely exceeded $750 million over the past two decades. Read more about this study at http://rvarc.org/?p=5126


R e s e arch a n d t e ch n ica l s u p p o rt WE STERN VIRGINIA INTERMODAL STUDY

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Study Shows Profitable Intermodal Facility Will Plug Western Virginia into Global Supply Chain

key to the economic future of Western Virginia exists in stronger connections to global trade and information networks. Can it remain isolated from the rest of the global economy? This study evaluates the traffic and revenue models for a Western Virginia intermodal facility and determines that the facility can operate profitably under certain conditions. Beyond this study is the larger question about the long-term value of the facility in overcoming geographic isolation by more efficiently and economically connecting the region to the world. Much like the region’s on-going discussions on better connections through broadband and I-73, intermodal can be examined as a critical part of the infrastructure that connects this region to the global economy. The intermodal facility was evaluated under four different market scenarios, each containing different costs, routes served, users, and freight volumes. The four scenarios range from a high demand and high growth scenario (Scenario 1) to a low volume and low growth scenario (Scenario 4) with two scenarios at points in between. The variables are quantified in terms of the markets served, volume and growth. Through stakeholder interviews, workshops, and its professional assessment, AECOM made the following key findings: • Profitable - It is projected to have an operating profit under a variety of market scenarios. • Public Benefits - It will provide greater public benefits than cost to the region, under some scenarios. • Public Construction Funding Needed Like Similar Facilities - If constructed using mostly private funding, it will be difficult for the owner-operator to payback the construction cost. Construction costs are a significant barrier to moving ahead with the facility.

• Create & Attract Thousands of New Jobs - It will create 887 jobs during its construction, 636 permanent jobs over the first three years in operation, and attract as much as 4,300 permanent jobs over 30 years. One large/local manufacturer that was interviewed stated that they could double their production if the intermodal facility was operational. • High Construction Cost - At the scale originally proposed, it will cost over $70 million to construct.

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t is very important to note that the core analysis of this study took the design and operating assumptions of all the previous studies, notably the assumptions of a 65 acre site with a target of 15,000 lifts per year. However, the study found that these assumptions were choices and conventions and not necessarily dictated by physical or economic conditions. The study explored some important considerations that could make the facility even more viable and less costly. • Phased approach – Due to the discovery that neither 15,000 annual lifts, nor 65 acres are dictated by market or physical conditions, it is conceivable that a smaller Phase I of a facility could be viable reducing the initial capital costs. • Exceeding the 15,000 lifts per year assumption – The study found that the market conditions represented by both scenarios 1 and 2 would produce more than 15,000 annual lifts over the study horizon, boosting operating profitability. • Smaller facility – The choice of 65 acres appears to be a design choice that was established early on and carried over into the core analysis of every other study, including this one. The study found, based on other intermodal facilities, it is possible to handle significantly more than 15,000 lifts using a smaller footprint. • Cost of Doing Nothing - Just as there can be benefits to making investments, there can be costs to doing nothing to capitalize on opportunities. In the broader economic sense, not constructing an intermodal facility in Western Virginia would shut out an important avenue in the global trade supply chain while competitor regions are initiating projects that connect to the world. Other regional projects under way in the region such as broadband, passenger rail, and I-73, are similarly designed to connect Western Virginia with the global economy and mitigate the region’s geographic isolation. w w w.r varc .org

2015 ANNUAL REPORT | 19


THE YEAR AHEAD 2015/2016 WORK PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS hIGHLIGHTED rEGIONAL PROJECTS BROADBAND The Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority has recently hired an Executive Director, Frank Smith. Construction on the 50 mile network is expected to be complete by the end of 2015 and the network should be operational by early 2016. The Authority will continue to add service providers and services throughout 2016 as they also expand their customer base through continued outreach and marketing. Staff will assist the regional broadband authority by serving as fiscal agent, assisting the RVBA to ensure the success of the fiber optics telecommunications network. BLUEWAYS Staff will prepare a final Roanoke River Blueway Guide, marketing plan, budget, as well as an access point improvement plan and budget.

PARTNERSHIP FOR A LIVABLE ROANOKE VALLEY PLRV has made a commitment to support and monitor the implementation of the strategies and will meet quarterly to review the progress of the lead agencies in completing their actions. The plan will be reviewed annually and a report prepared to provide a status update on actions completed and implemented. The convening of the PLRV Steering Committee and production of the annual report will be the responsibility of the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission. WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT The Regional Commission will serve as the fiscal agent, employer of record, and office location of the Western Virginia Workforce Development Board (WVWDB). Regional Commission staff will provide the following additional services to the WVWDB: financial

management, human resource management, communications, information services, and grant development. AGING IN PLACE WORKSHOPS Staff will develop workshops that explore the issues that help our growing elderly population determine how they can stay in their homes and not be forced to search for alternative housing REGIONAL HOUSING PLAN FOR HIGHLANDS Staff will work with localities in the Alleghany Highlands, along with The Alleghany Foundation, USDA Rural Development, Virginia Housing Development Authority, DHCD and a housing consultant to determine the need for market rate and elderly housing. The study will make recommendations for projects to be undertaken to meet the identified needs.

Highlighted Transportation Projects RIDE SOLUTIONS: Staff will continued expansion into Martinsville and Danville regions and work with existing partners in the NRV and Region 2000 areas to grow the use and availability of alternative modes of transportation. Roanoke Valley Transit Vision Plan: Over the past two years, Regional Commission staff have worked diligently to collect public input and analyze transit data on the region’s transit services provided by Valley Metro, RADAR (STAR and CORTRAN programs), and Botetourt County (Senior and Accessible Van Program). The Commission has hired a consultant to provide technical and public outreach assistance as it finalizes the Plan over the next year. The consultant will use the information gathered, work with the public and 20 | 2015 ANNUAL REPORT

regional stakeholders, and develop short- and long-term recommendations for advancing the region’s transit services and network over the next 25 years. Passenger Rail and Public Transit Coordination: Staff will support the ongoing effort to provide passenger rail service in Downtown Roanoke in 2017 by working with VDRPT, the City of Roanoke and Valley Metro on related preparations including the establishment of a multimodal transportation station and planning for transfers to public transit and to rail. RSTP, TA and HB2 Grant Programs Annual transportation program application cycles are already here or just on the horizon. Transportation Alternatives Program applications are due November 2, 2015. The RVTPO just endorsed regional project w w w.r varc .org

applications and will allocate funds in March 2016. Applications for the Regional Surface Transportation Program will be solicited in early 2016, with the TPO Policy Board endorsing the recommended financial plan in March. The inaugural HB2 application process recently concluded, with award announcements expected in January 2016. Corridor studies: Staff will analyze the following corridors/areas which may include but is not limited to: access management, operations evaluation, transit/bicycle/ pedestrian connections and parking availability/accessibility/issues: • Route 419 Brambleton Avenue, • Downtown Salem Parking Analysis • Botetourt County Comprehensive Plan (Transportation) • Exit 150 Study


T H E YE A R A H E A D 2015/16 WORK PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS National, State, Regional and Local Collaborative Efforts Staff will promote and assist with regional planning initiatives by participating in the following local, regional, state and national organizations. National • Development District Association of Appalachia and Network Appalachia • National Association of Development Organizations Board Southeastern Regional Directors Institute Board • Rural Planning Organizations of America Council of Peers State • Bike Virginia Board • Virginia Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations • Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions • Virginia Association of Zoning Officials • Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Recreational Trails Advisory Committee • Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) Statewide Multi-Modal and Public Space Design Guidelines committee Regional • Blue Ridge Interagency Council of Homelessness • Blue Ridge Transportation Safety Board • Cool Cities Coalition • Council of Community Services Board • Greater Roanoke Valley Asthma and Air Quality Coalition • Hands on Blue Ridge Committee • Healthy Roanoke Valley • I-81 Corridor Coalition • PATH Community Coalition • Pathfinders for Greenways Board • Regional Bicycle Advisory Committee • Regional Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee

• Regional Stormwater Management Committee • Regional Stormwater Technical Committee • Regional Stormwater Citizen Advisory Committee • Partnership for a Livable Roanoke Valley • Roanoke Refugee Dialogue Group – Transportation Committee • Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce Board • Roanoke Regional Housing Network • Roanoke Valley Area GIS Managers Users Group • Roanoke Valley Greenway Commission • Roanoke Valley Urban Forestry Council • RSVP Advisory Council at the Council of Community Services • Salem-Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce • United Way of the Roanoke Valley Board • United Way Community Investment Council Panel Member • Upper Roanoke River Roundtable Advisory Committee • Upper James River Resource Conservation and Development District (RC&D) • Virginia Western Community College-Integrated Environmental Studies Advisory Group • Virginia Western Community College – Geospatial Program Lay Advisory Committee Local • City of Roanoke Downtown Mobility Workgroup • City of Roanoke School System ROTEC Advisory Committee • Roanoke County Public Schools Technology Advisory Committee • Salem Downtown Plan Advisory Committee • Vinton Downtown Revitalization Committe

View the full Work Program at http://rvarc.org/?p=5396

Downtown Roanoke- Courtesy Terry Aldhizer

Smith Mountain Lake

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2015 ANNUAL REPORT | 21


SPOTLIGHTING OUR REGIONAL BEAUTY

Valley Metro’s Smart Way Connector Courtesy Tyler Godsey

Falling Springs Waterfall, Covington Courtesy Terry Aldhizer

Roaring Run Falls, Eagle Rock Courtesy Tyler Godsey

Wiley Drive Roanoke River Greenway Courtesy Brantley Acree

22 | 2015 ANNUAL REPORT

Cherry Blossom Trail, Botetourt Courtesy Terry Aldhizer

Roanoke Farmers Market Courtesy Philip Noland

Roanoke River Greenway Courtesy Anne Sampson

Trolley Servicing VT Carilion Research Ce

Downtown Roanoke Courtesy Terry Aldhizer

The Depot Lodge, Craig County Courtesy Matt Miller

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Carvins Cove Courtesy Sarah Sammet


enter and South 16 Courtesy Cristina Finch

S POTL I G H T I N G OUR REGIONAL BEAUTY

Urban Living Courtesy Tyler Godsey

Campbell Court RoanokeCourtesy Dristina Finch

Pathfinders for the Greenway Volunteers at work Courtesy Bill Gordge

Vic Thomas Park Roanoke River Greenway Courtesy Raquel Kuhlman

Vinton Town Clock Courtesy Matt Miller

Art By Bus Performer, Erin Hunter Courtesy Tyler Godsey

Ride Solutions’ Bike Valet at the Night Rider’s Ball Courtesy Ron Bailey

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2015 ANNUAL REPORT | 23


313 Luck Ave. SW PO Box 2569 Roanoke, VA 24010 Ph- 540-343-4417 Fax 540-343-4416 rvarc@rvarc.0rg w w w.r varc .org