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a n n ua l r e p o rt

www.rvarc.org


Courtesy Terry Aldhizer

MEMBER GOVERNMENTS

Courtesy Scott Williams

Commission Members and Local Governments (July 2015- June 2016 )

Alleghany County

The Honorable Shannon Cox Jon Lanford The Honorable Richard L. Shull

Botetourt County

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

City of Covington

J.B. Broughman The Honorable Allan Tucker

City of Roanoke

Cover By

Scott Williams www.eyeem.com/xxscottyjxx

Additional Photos Provided By Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce Terry Aldhizer Thomas Becher Shane Boles Cole Bradley Kemper Fant C.D. Faramkis Tyler Godsey Rob Issem Kurt Konrad Quigg Lawrence Play Roanoke Roanoke Outside Christopher Scott Scott Williams Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce

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

City of Salem

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

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Roanoke County

The Honorable George Assaid Tom Gates The Honorable Kevin Hutchins Dean Martin The Honorable Joe McNamara J. Lee E. Osborne

Town of Clifton Forge

Darlene Burcham The Honorable Johnette Roberts

Town of Rocky Mount The Honorable Bobby Cundiff James Ervin

Town of Vinton

The Honorable Bradley Grose Barry Thompson

Liaison Members (Non-Voting) Beth Doughty Roanoke Regional Partnership Teresa Hammond Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Landon Howard Virginia’s Blue Ridge Caroline Goode Salem-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


Courtesy Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce

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Courtesy Cole Bradley

2016 ANNUAL REPORT | 3


Courtesy Tyler Godsey

Courtesy Christopher Scott

a stronger region through Ongoing collaboration 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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he Regional Commission’s function is to help promote regional strategies, partnerships, and solutions to strengthen economic resilience and enhance our region’s quality of life. We carry out this function by encouraging communication and cooperation among our member governments and our regional partner organizations.

Cooperative activities in the region have expanded significantly over the last decade. This fact was highlighted in an editorial in The Roanoke Times on September 20, 2016. The editorial began by asking readers, “Can we please, please, get rid of the notion that local governments in the Roanoke Valley don’t cooperate with one another?” This idea is something the Regional Commission has been asking for a while. In fact, every three years we produce a “Regional Report Card” to outline the many multi-jurisdictional programs and projects. Our last Report Card cited 105 cooperative projects. All of the new regional initiatives pursued since 2000 have been brought about by the willingness of various local governments and other organizations to improve the quality of life for citizens in the region.

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Concepts that have been promoted and supported by numerous governments and the private sector include: • The Western Virginia Water Authority, • The Western Virginia Regional Jail, • Virginia’s Western Highlands Tourism Council, • The Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority, and • The Western Virginia Regional Industrial Facility Authority. Each group contributed in different ways to ensure that the above initiatives became a reality. It’s this cooperative spirit that is driving a new way of thinking about how best to make this part of Virginia the best place to work, live and play. The organizations in the area have been very successful in building a stronger sense of region, which will help promote even more multi-jurisdictional programs and projects in the future. As the region moves forward in building a better understanding of the importance of regional approaches to solving issues that transcend individual communities, the Regional Commission will be there to assist our member governments and our partner organizations in carrying out these important initiatives.

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The Honorable Charles Wagner

Chair, Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission


Courtesy Shane Boles

Courtesy Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce

2015/2016 financial Report Revenue, Grants and Appropriations Federal Grants and Appropriations State Grants and Appropriations Local Funds and Appropriations Contract Income Other Total Revenues Expenses Personnel Contract Services Operations & Other Expenditures Total Expenses

$578,268 448,505 326,889 258,428 39,134 $1,651,224

1,084,908 237,329 251,553 $ 1,573,790

Federal Funding Breakdown Regional Transportation Programs Appalachian Regional Commission Dept of Environmental Quality Dept of Forestry Total Federal Funding

476,478 58,971 39,573 3,246 $578,268

Increase in fund balance of $38,717

SOURCES OF REVENUE Other 2% Contract Income 16% Local Grants and Appropriations 20%

Federal Grants and Appropriations 35%

State Grants and Appropriations 27%

Regional commission STAFF Sherry Dean Director of Finance

Matt Miller Director of Information Services

Cristina Finch, AICP, LEED AP Director of Transportation

Jackie L. Pace Office Manager

Tyler Godsey Communications Manager

Rachel Ruhlen Regional Planner I

Bryan Hill, AICP Regional Planner III

Wayne G. Strickland Executive Director

Jeremy Holmes, LEED GA Director of Ride Solutions

Eddie Wells, AICP, CZA Director of Community Development Programs

Amanda McGee Regional Planner II

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supporting our communities through Technical assistance

very year, the Commission provides local technical assistance to our communities. Below are some projects from 2015/16:

• Staff assisted Botetourt County with an update to its comprehensive plan, including future land use and Exit 150 Market Study. • Demographic data in support of the City of Roanoke’s new Comprehensive Plan. • Assistance to Boones Mill with submission of a CDBG grant application for neighborhood improvement. • Assistance to Clifton Forge with planning for revitalization and rehabilitation of the historic downtown area and provided grant writing assistance to develop the Jackson River Sports Complex and to establish senior citizen housing • Staff assisted Franklin County with a study of retiree demographics and what will be w w w.r varc .org

needed to address this growing population in the area. • Staff assisted Franklin County with a strategic plan for implementing a comprehensive, thematic, county-wide wayfinding signage program for tourism, recreation and points of interest. • Assistance to Roanoke City with developing a comprehensive evacuation plan by working with stakeholders to determine threats and identifying traffic patterns and community habits and assisted with updating their Emergency Operations Plan. • Assistance to Salem with building surveys, plan writing, stakeholder surveys and focus group work associated with the Downtown Plan.

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Roanoke Valley Broadband authority completes network construction and Expands into roanoke county

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he Regional Commission began working with local governments to establish the the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority (RVBA) in 2012. Now the RVBA has completed the installation of forty-seven-miles of new, high quality, fiber-optic broadband cable in the cities of Roanoke and Salem, VA.

RVBA vendor partners Thompson & Litton and USC (Utility Service Contractors) completed the Outdoor Plant construction on April 5, 2016 at the Valley View Point of Presence (POP) location. The completion of the new network’s “outside plant” marks a major milestone for the public-private partnership’s regional investment.

and download connections for future RVBA customers.

RVBA Board Members

It is anticipated that the new highly resilient, synchronous, and self-healing system will provide tremendous benefit to enterprise-level clients (corporate, government, and education) across the region. The new open-access network has also been designed to spur additional private sector telecommunications investment by lowering the barriers of entry required to deliver competitive services in the Roanoke Valley.

City of Salem- Chair

The project, which broke ground last summer, was designed to spur regional economic development by increasing access to extremely secure, highspeed, affordable, and un-throttled fiber-optic Internet service.

“Throughout the new network’s physical build-out process, we worked hard to maximize the projects long-term value while minimizing any inconvenience for Roanoke Valley citizens and visitors. All in all, and thanks to the support of our team of experienced vendor partners, things went very smoothly,” said Frank Smith, CEO of the RVBA.

The new conduit network has been threaded with 144 threads of fiber optic line, each thread capable of delivering secure, private, terabit-level upload

“We used a wide variety of cutting-edge techniques to both plan and build the physical network infrastructure and these efforts are sure to pay

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Kevin S. Boggess Tom Gates

Roanoke County

Gary Larrowe

Botetourt County

Michael McEvoy Citizen- Vice Chair

Christopher P. Morrill City of Roanoke

dividends over the long-haul. Now, with outside plant construction complete, our first customers are now realizing the results of everyone’s hard work.” The new network, built on defense-grade equipment, directly connects the Roanoke Valley to two international Internet switching stations. Local project teams have spent the past few months stress-testing the system and configuring the switching centers.


End User

End User

ISP

End User

Provider

ISP Provider

ISP Provider

RVBA Fiber Infrastructure

What are the Key Benefits of an Open-Access Network? • It creates a business structure that allows private and public interests to collaborate rather than compete. • In this model, incumbent and new ISPs are invited to use the new, high performance network to sell services to their existing customers as well as market to new customers with new and enhanced services that they were not able to offer in the past. • It reduces costs. • An OAN functions like a road system or an airport: the community builds a single transportation system shared by all public and private users. This reduces construction and operational costs by eliminating duplicity of facilities and networks. • It encourages innovation. • ISPs are able to experiment with new services since their entry cost is lower with an open-access fiber network. • It brings a wider choice of ISPs to public and private users. • Costs are lower both because of the shared nature of the infrastructure and because of increased competition between ISPs. • It helps attract and retain businesses. • Businesses know they have a wider choice of services at attractive prices because of the increased competition.

CLifton Forge and alleghany highlands broadband study

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egional Commission staff prepared a successful broadband planning grant application for the Town of Clifton Forge, Alleghany County, Craig County, Covington and Northern Botetourt County. The Town was awarded $50,000 from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development with a match being provided by the Alleghany Foundation.

The firm of Design Nine, Inc. was hired to evaluate broadband infrastructure in the region and recommend strategies for improving access to affordable broadband. Input was received through public meetings, business and residential surveys and meetings with existing providers. The final study and recommendations are expected to be released in the Fall of 2016. w w w.r varc .org

2016 ANNUAL REPORT | 7


the strength of workplace partnerships 2016 writer BY BUS BRINGS TOGETHER Poets, sTUDENTS, AND RIDERS

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eighan Sharp, the 2016 Writer by Bus selection, created a series of poems that have been published in this year’s book entitled, Anywhere You’re Going. Ms. Sharp was selected through a competitive process that saw applications from across the region, and proposals that covered everything from film scripts to photo essays. The selection committee, made up of Arts Commission members and other members of the community, was impressed not only with the quality of Ms. Sharp’s writing, but her existing familiarity with public transportation and alternative transportation, as well as a project proposal that included significant

outreach to area school children and the public. Ms. Sharp worked with students in Roanoke City and riders to create a series of thought provoking poems and is a tremendous advocate for public transportation, writing, and our community as a whole. Copies of Anywhere You’re Going can be found by contacting RIDE Solutions.

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ince RIDE Solutions expanded its program into the West Piedmont region, which includes the Danville and Martinsville area, great strides have been made in creating successful workplace partnerships. Through the collaborative partnership with the West Piedmont Workforce Development Board, RIDE Solutions has been able to have a direct and immediate role in matching employees up with carpool opportunities to and from work. The cost of training and re-training employees can be a burden, and RIDE Solutions works to help cut turnover rates resulting from lack of transportation. See what a Workplace Partnership can do for your company by contacting us at ridesolutions.org

2016 bike hero awards

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Courtesy Ron Bailey

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ach year, RIDE Solutions recognizes individuals who play a critical role in making our region more bike friendly. This year, Dr. Kevin Peterson and Dr. Mike Coco received the 2016 Bike Hero Awards. Kevin and Mike are forces behind Lynchburg College’s Bike Shack and were recognized for their leadership and long-standing dedication to bicycle advocacy and support for bicycling as a means of transportation.


Courtesy Christopher Scott

2016 Bike Month events Clean Commute Challenge for 2016 was a great success, with a fantastic participation SW VA. We can’t say enough about how great our clean commuters were this Tyear,hethroughout with both teams and individuals racking up the highest number of clean miles we’ve ever seen. How did we perform? Check it out:

2,456

49,118

61,398

2,420

$6,140

52%

GALLONS OF GAS NOT BURNED

LBS OF GREENHOUSE GAS REMOVED

MILES LOGGED

TRIPS LOGGED

GAS SAVINGS

NON-COMMUTE TOTAL TRIPS LOGGED

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fter 6 years, RIDE Solutions Bike Shorts Film Festival continues to expand and has grown into a multi regional festival that brings together film-makers from throughout the region and around the globe. With entries from across the globe and a stable base of local entries, the festival will look to increase its efforts to

grow through local submissions and collaborate with new venues and partners to grow and strengthen its role in promoting bikes as an alternative to driving. The Bike Shorts Film Festival was screened at 4 locations, marking its regional success. In addition to Roanoke, the film festival was featured at the Lynchburg’s Academy of

Fine Arts and in Blacksburg’s famed Lyric Theatre and expanded this year to Martinsville’s Rives Theatre, as hundreds of attendees came from all over to the Bike Shorts Film Festival.

Criterium professional bike race and other races to bring

people from all over the region into downtown Roanoke. The Night Rider’s Ball is becoming one of our biggest Bike Month events and plans are even bigger as we work to foster a community that looks at cycling as a real part of our transportation network and part of what helps keep our community healthy and vibrant.

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he Night Rider’s Ball celebrated Bike Month with a full slate of events and activities at Martins Downtown. In addition, RIDE Solutions partnered with Roanoke Outside, Roanoke City Parks and Rec, Runabout Sports, and others to create a downtown extravaganza that featured Virginia’s Blue Ridge Twilight

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2016 ANNUAL REPORT | 9


Courtesy C.D. Faramkis

Roanoke River TMDL Implementation Plan

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he Regional Commission served as the fiscal agent for a $322,500 DEQ funded grant that paid a consultant for the Roanoke River Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Implementation Plan. Staff served on the Government Stakeholder Committee and attended the Business and Agriculture Committee meetings, as well as the public meeting for the development of the plan. The goal of the Roanoke River TMDL Implementation Plan (IP) is to restore water quality within the Roanoke River and associated tributaries, to achieve full supporting status for the impaired segments, and to de-list the impaired segments from the Virginia 303(d) List of Impaired Waters for bacteria and aquatic life. The Roanoke River TMDL IP addresses bacteria and benthic impairments within ten subwatersheds located within the Counties of Roanoke, Montgomery, Botetourt, and Bedford, as well as the Cities of Roanoke and Salem. Implementation actions necessary to reduce the bacteria and sediment loads and associated costs and pollutant removal efficiencies were identified through extensive stakeholder input, public participation, and review of land use/ source data and pollutant delivery mechanisms. Participation involved public meetings, steering committees, and smaller working groups for agricultural, business, government, and residential stakeholders. The main benefit of implementation of the various control measures is the improvement of the water quality of the Roanoke River and its tributaries. Reducing bacteria and sediment loads in the Roanoke River watershed will protect human health and safety, promote healthy aquatic communities, improve agricultural production, and add to the economic vitality of communities through enhancement of residential property, reduction in flood losses, and opportunities for outdoor recreation. 10 | 2016 ANNUAL REPORT

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Courtesy C.D. Faramkis


Regional Local Foods Committee

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taff coordinates the Local Foods Committee meetings and has worked with local stakeholders - extension service, producers, market owners - to gather input and help guide a region-wide local food system study.

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he Partnership for a Livable Roanoke Valley (PLRV) seeks to promote economic opportunity and a greater quality of life for all Roanoke Valley residents through the development of the Valley’s first coordinated regional plan. The plan was approved in 2014 by the PLRV and the Regional Commission and contains strategies and actions to accomplish goals in the areas of economic development, workforce development, health, and natural assets. The Regional Commission’s efforts over the last year

This year the committee visited Feeding America facility in Salem, heard presentations from: the Virginia CooperaCourtesy Christopher Scott tive Extension Service about the economic impact of local foods, Virginia’s Region 2000 about its recently adopted Strategic Plan for the Agriculture and Forestry and Boones Mill and Franklin County have been driven by the PLRV about the new Foothills Produce Auction. Steering Committee’s goals to identify key indicators of Foothills Produce Auction our region’s success in purserves as a source for selling suing a more livable Roanoke or buying wholesale lots of Valley region. fresh produce, hanging basLisa Garst, the Director of the PLRV, notes that our region 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.

kets, plants, and similar agricultural goods. The auction is open on Tuesdays and Fridays. Boones Mill proved to

The plan will be reviewed annually and a report prepared to provide a status update on actions completed and implemented. w w w.r varc .org

be an excellent location to establish a community farmer’s market because of the local supply of food and the growing demand for farm fresh food. Previously, many nearby farmers traveled to markets 15 miles or further from Boones Mill, even though they have customers in the Town limits and access to the 26,000 vehicles that pass through on U.S. Route 220 daily. The farmer’s market project has improved community access to local, quality agricultural goods and allowed farmers in the area an outlet to reach customers.

Courtesy Quigg Lawrence

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Courtesy C.D. Farmakis

TPO BOARD MEMBERS (2015/16) Bedford County The Honorable Bill Thomasson Botetourt County The Honorable Todd Dodson The Honorable Billy Martin Roanoke County The Honorable George Assaid The Honorable Jason Peters Montgomery County The Honorable Annette Perkins City of Roanoke The Honorable Bill Bestpitch The Honorable Ray Ferris City of Salem 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 Diana Lewis Virginia Dept. of Rail & Public Transportation Neil Sherman 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

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his year, planning for the region’s future transportation needs entailed developing a new Travel Demand Model for the Roanoke Valley. This effort was led by the Va. Dept. of Transportation and their consultant, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and included a new robust element for transit as a mode choice. The model’s development was coordinated with the RVTPO’s new Transit Vision Plan adopted in September 2016. The Commonwealth undertook a new scoring system and funding process to promote the right transportation projects for Virginia. Virginia’s SMART LOCATION

SCALE is about picking the right transportation projects for funding and ensuring the best use of limited tax dollars. Transportation projects are scored based on an objective, outcome-based process that is transparent to the public and allows decision-makers to be held accountable to taxpayers. Once projects are scored and prioritized, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) has the best information possible to select the right projects for funding. In June 2016, the Commonwealth Transportation Board approved the Fiscal Year 2017-2022 Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP). Twelve (12) projects in the region covered by the RVTPO and the Regional Commission were funded via SMART SCALE in the first round.

REGIONAL PROJECT TITLE

PROJECT TOTAL COST

SMART SCALE FUNDING

$2,078,914

$843,914

$884,881

$884,881

Town of Clifton Forge

Business Park Access Road with ARC support

City of Salem

Multimodal Improvements along Boulevard-Roanoke for Veterans

City of Salem

UPC 8753 East Main Street Route 460 Phase I

$15,223,263

$2,912,984

Roanoke County

I-81 Northbound Auxiliary Lane from Exit 141 to 143

$29,830,716

$29,830,716

Roanoke County

Route 311 / Route 419 Int. Safety & Congestion Improvements

$1,957,006

$1,957,006

Roanoke County

Route 419 Widening, Safety, and Multimodal Improvements

$5,853,432

$4,853,432

Roanoke County

Lila Drive / Route 115 Intersection Safety Improvements

$1,269,396

$1,269,396

City of Roanoke

Colonial Avenue Improvements

$7,000,000

$2,545,000

Roanoke County/City of Salem

Roanoke River Greenway--Green Hill Park to Riverside Park

$8,032,031

$4,542,105

City of Roanoke

Transit Accessibility Improvement on Edgewood Street

$350,811

$350,811

City of Roanoke/ Roanoke County

U.S. 220 Communications and Adaptive System Project

$422,500

$422,500

City of Roanoke

10th Street Reconstruction

$17,451,245

$12,451,245

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CourtesyShane Boles

Roanoke Valley Transit Vision Plan A 25-year plan for developing a robust transit system to support a Livable Roanoke Valley. The Livable Roanoke Valley Plan makes the case for rethinking our transportation practices and priorities – are we investing in the projects that will help us become a more livable community? A community that is growing economically, developing its workforce, preserving natural assets, and pursuing healthier lifestyles recognizes the need to improve its transit network and services to help reach these goals. Over the past three years, the Regional Commission, local governments, Valley Metro, RADAR, and many other business and non-profit stakeholders worked together to envision an expanded, more convenient transit system for the future. With the help of Michael Baker and Foursquare

A Robust Transit Community by Cristina Finch

Buses, transit, public transportation; ROANOKE VALLEY TRANSIT VISION PLAN DRAFT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY | JUNEVISION 2016 ROANOKE VALLEY TRANSIT ROANOKE VALLEY TRANSIT VISION

PLAN PLAN

DRAFT DRAFT EXECUTIVE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY SUMMARY || JUNE JUNE 2016 2016

Developed with assistance by

Integrated Transportation Planning consultants and input from over 4,000 citizen inputs, a common understanding, a shared vision, and a conceptual framework for how to develop transit as outlined in the Roanoke Valley Transit Vision Plan provides the guidance needed to proceed. Developed with Developedby with assistance assistance by

Connecting parts but not enough of our region. Imagine the future where service abounds My ride is coming, not a long wait. See a friend, how have you been? See another, a new connection, Nice to meet you, let’s talk again. Time on my hands to read, text, and relax. Drop me off, no need to park. A breath of fresh air, A short walk, A smile and hello, A refreshing energy to my day. Transit stands instrumental to a livable future in the Roanoke Valley. The time is now to invest in our future; The time is now to grow strongly not stiflingly; The time is now to be unlike any other place to live. We are the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

Thank you for supporting the Roanoke Valley’s first 25-year Transit Vision Plan. w w w.r varc .org

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Courtesy Thomas Becher

Courtesy Play Roanoke

Courtesy C.D. Farmakis

South 16 Boat LAUNCH

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addling the Roanoke River downtown is now easier with the opening of a new kayak and canoe launch site made possible by a crowdfunding campaign that raised $80,000. This was a joint effort between the Roanoke Outside Foundation, The Bridges development, Carilion Clinic and the City of Roanoke and various private funding partners. There is no cost to use the launch. It is located halfway between Wasena Park and Piedmont Park, making it easier to canoe, kayak, or tube close to the region’s urban core along the Roanoke River Blueway. The Blueway is a water trail that runs from the South Fork

of the Roanoke River at East Montgomery

County Park to Hardy Road in Bedford County. Amenities onsite include a viewing platform, steps down to the river, boat storage rack and informational kiosk that includes a map of the river. The first takeout location point downstream is the 13th Street Bridge. The Tinker Creek access point in Vinton is the next developed access point.

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Roanoke River Blueway Designated as a Virginia Treasure

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he Roanoke River Blueway was designated as a Natural, Cultural and Recreational Treasure as part of the Virginia Treasures program, an initiative by Governor McAuliffe to preserve, protect and highlight Virginia’s most important ecological, cultural, scenic and recreational assets as well as its special lands. These are projects that help the public by enhancing outdoor recreation and foster stewardship of natural and cultural resources.

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Courtesy Kemper Fant

Courtesy C.D. Farmakis

Total Greenway Traffic Data 50,000 45,000 40,000 35,000 30,000 25,000 20,000 15,000 10,000 5,000 0

Percentage of Average Daily Traffic Hanging Rock Battlefield TrailD Lick Run - 10th St

4%

5%

9%

Murray Run Roanoke River - 17th St Roanoke River - Green Hill Park Roanoke River - Moyers Sports Complex Roanoke River - Rivers Edge

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

2014 TOTAL

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Roanoke River - Underhill Ave

35%

5%

13% 17%

12%

2015 TOTAL

Regional GREENWAY AND TRAIL USER COUNTs

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Average Daily Traffic (Jan 2015-Jan 16) 337

350

HOW IS THE DATA USED

300 250 167

200 121

150 100 50

90 42

120 47

47

0

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. 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.

Courtesy Rob Issem

354,759 TOTAL USERS Jan 2015-16

121 AVG DAILY USERS Jan 2015-16

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he primary data collected by the trail counters include the total Tnumber 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: • Capital improvements program (cip) funding requests for greenway construction • Maintenance funding and prioritization • Greenway operations and policy development • Congestion and/or user conflict management • Events planning • Grant applications • Outdoor amenities marketing • Go outside festival (go fest) attendance count • Benefits/cost analyses • Transportation studies • Public health research 2016 ANNUAL REPORT | 15


Courtesy Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce

Roanoke River Blueway Wins 2016 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award

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he Roanoke River Blueway has won the 2016 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Silver Award in the Virginia Outdoors Plan Implementation category. The 2016 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards were announced on April 7, 2016 at the 27th Environment Virginia Symposium in Lexington. The awards recognized the significant contributions of environmental and conservation leaders in four categories: sustainability, environmental project, land conservation, and implementation of the Virginia Outdoors Plan. They are given to businesses and industrial facilities, not-forprofit organizations, and government agencies. The Roanoke River Blueway provides cost-free opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, fishing, tubing, wading,

wildlife viewing, and watershed education with convenient access to other outdoor and cultural amenities in Virginia’s Blue Ridge all year long. The 45-mile Blueway, which includes 15 public boating access points, aims to promote healthy living and economic sustainability through increased use and awareness. Access points are located in local parks allowing for shared parking. In addition, information is provided for using the Valley Metro and bicycle accommodations. Watershed management and stewardship through education are supported through a dedicated webpage to water quality. Another educational tool is the Roanoke River Blueway Interactive Map which provides a range of information to facilitate safe use and enjoyment of this regional resource. Funding for the Blueway was leveraged from a variety of sources including local governments, private donors, the Virginia Tourism Cooperation Market Leverage Program, American Electric Power, and Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

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NADO recognizes art by bus

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IDE Solutions was recognized by NADO (National Association of Development Organizations) for its Art by Bus program with a 2015 Innovation Award. The Regional Commission‘s Executive Director, Wayne Strickland, poses in the photo.

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Excellence in Regional Transportation Awards

he National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) recognized the Roanoke Valley Pedestrian Vision Plan and the Citizen’s Guide to the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) as national models in transportation planning. These projects “help meet regional needs in innovative ways, through cooperation with partners, increasing system and community resilience and serve as models for many different transportation program areas.” The projects were two of the three from Virginia recognized at the 2016 National Regional Transportation Conference in Chattanooga, TN. Congratulations to Cristina Finch, project manager for the Pedestrian Vision Plan, and to Bryan Hill, project manager for the Citizen’s

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Guide for leading these important transportation initiatives and bringing national recognition to our region.


Courtesy Terry Aldhizer

Courtesy Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerc

National, State, Regional and Local Collaborative Efforts Staff also promotes 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 MultiModal 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 and 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 CollegeIntegrated 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

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2016 ANNUAL REPORT | 17


Regional photos

Courtesy Susan Tolley

Courtesy Kemper Fant

Courtesy Ron Bailey

Courtesy Terry Aldhizer

Courtesy Kemper Fant

Courtesy Creative Dog Media

Courtesy Scott Williams

Courtesy Tyler Godsey

Courtesy Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce

18 | 2016 ANNUAL REPORT

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Courtesy C.D. Faramkis


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2016 ANNUAL REPORT | 19


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

www.rvarc.org

Profile for Roanoke Valley - Alleghany Regional Commission

Regional Commission 2015/16 Annual Report  

Read about the work and programs of the Roanoke Valley Alleghany Regional Commission.

Regional Commission 2015/16 Annual Report  

Read about the work and programs of the Roanoke Valley Alleghany Regional Commission.

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