2019 Annual Report

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Annual Report

Photo by Jared Ladia

Celebrating 50 Years of Regional Service



ALLEGHANY COUNTY The Honorable Shannon Cox Jon Lanford The Honorable Richard Shull BOTETOURT COUNTY The Honorable Stephen Clinton Erin Henderson Gary Larrowe The Honorable Billy Martin, Sr. CITY OF COVINGTON The Honorable Allan Tucker Vacancy

OUR MISSION To be a leader in driving collaboration and strategy within our communities on issues that are critical to the economic growth, quality of life, and sustainability of the region. 2 | 2018-19 ANNUAL REPORT

CITY OF ROANOKE The Honorable Bill Bestpitch Courtney Campbell The Honorable Joseph Cobb Frederick Gusler The Honorable Djuna Osborne Peter Volosin CITY OF SALEM The Honorable Jane Johnson The Honorable James Martin Carolyn Minix Melinda Payne CRAIG COUNTY The Honorable Jesse Spence Dan Collins FRANKLIN COUNTY The Honorable Bob Camicia David Phelps The Honorable Ronnie Thompson Chris Whitlow Vacancy w w w.r varc .org

ROANOKE COUNTY The Honorable Kevin Hutchins Dean Martin, Treasurer The Honorable Phil North, Vice Chair Dan O’Donnell J. Lee E. Osborne The Honorable David Radford TOWN OF CLIFTON FORGE Darlene Burcham The Honorable Pam Marshall TOWN OF ROCKY MOUNT James Ervin The Honorable Mark Newbill TOWN OF VINTON The Honorable Bradley E. Grose, Chair Barry Thompson LIAISON MEMBERS (NONVOTING) Beth Doughty Roanoke Regional Partnership

Teresa Hammond

Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism

Landon Howard

Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Michelle Darby

Salem-Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce

Dr. John Rainone

Dabney S. Lancaster Community College

Dr. Robert H. Sandel Virginia Western Community College

Joyce Waugh Roanoke Regional Chamber

l Commission

Regional Commission Staff (left to right) (Back Row) Bryan Hill, Tim Pohlad-Thomas, Eddie Wells, Wayne Strickland, Amanda McGee, Jeremy Holmes, Dorian Allen, Matt Miller (Front Row) Cristina Finch, Sherry Dean, Virginia Mullen, Jackie Pace, Rachel Ruhlen

Wayne Strickland Executive Director Dorian Allen AICP, Transportation Planner I

Matt Miller Director of Information Services

Sherry Dean Director of Finance

Virginia Mullen Admin/Accounting Clerk

Cristina Finch AICP, LEED AP, Director of Transportation

Jackie L. Pace Office Manager

Bryan Hill AICP, CZA, Regional Planner III

Tim Pohlad-Thomas Outreach and Communications Specialist

Jeremy Holmes Director of RIDE Solutions

Rachel Ruhlen Transportation Planner II

Amanda McGee AICP, Regional Planner II

Eddie Wells AICP, Director of Community Development Programs w w w.r varc .org

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Chairman’s Letter “THE PURPOSE OF REGIONAL COMMISSIONS TODAY IS THE SAME AS IT WAS 50 YEARS AGO - TO WORK WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO RESPOND TO PROBLEMS AND OPPORTUNITIES THAT TRANSCEND GOVERNMENTAL BOUNDARIES.” of planning and coordinating federal, state and local efforts can be established.” Fifty years later, the Roanoke ValleyAlleghany Regional Commission continues to work with local governments, as well as state and federal agencies, to address issues of area-wide concern. The purpose of Regional Commissions today is the same as it was 50 years ago – to work with local governments to respond to problems and opportunities that transcend governmental boundaries. This is evident in our 2018-2019 Annual Report. As you review the report, you will see how the Commission is assisting our member governments with several regional transportation, environmental, and economic/community development initiatives. Of course, the work of the Commission could not have happened without a commitment from our member governments In 1968 Virginia’s General Assembly made a bold move and their representatives to the Commission. I want to to help ensure a positive future for the Commonwealth. personally thank the members of the Commission and their They enacted the Virginia Area Development Act, respective local governments for their continuous support. which called for establishing regional planning and Additionally, I want to express my sincere appreciation to development organizations. This Act came about from the the staff of the Commission. They are a very talented group recommendations of the Virginia Metropolitan Areas Study of people who work hard to ensure that the Commission’s Commission, which was known as the Hahn Commission projects are completed in a timely and cost-effective fashion. after its Chairman, Marshall Hahn (then president of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute). By 1969, Planning District I believe the Commission has accomplished a great deal over Commissions/Regional Commissions were established the last five decades, and as we move into our next 50 years, across the Commonwealth to address a growing recognition I anticipate that our organization will continue to provide that growth and infrastructure problems often transcend important programs/services desired by our member local boundaries. Regional Commissions were intended governments and their citizens. to encourage and facilitate local government cooperation in addressing problems and opportunities that transcend government boundaries. In the first Annual Report of the Commission (1970), Chairman Norman Scott of Clifton Forge stated that “The need for cooperation on problems of area-wide concern among The Honorable Bradley E. Grose all participating governments is clear. Through this close Chairman coordination and harmonious relationship, an effective means 4 | 2018-19 ANNUAL REPORT

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Financial Statement 2018/2019 FINANCIAL REPORT

REVENUE, GRANTS AND APPROPRIATIONS Federal Grants and Appropriations State Grants and Appropriations Local Grants and Appropriations Contract Income Other (Events, Bikeshare Revenue, Interest) TOTAL REVENUES

$704,577 $472,398 $379,392 $117,426 $124,949 $1,798,742

EXPENSES Personnel Contract Services Operations & Other Expenditures TOTAL EXPENSES

$1,093,715 $258,634 $296,965 $1,649,314

FEDERAL FUNDING BREAKDOWN Regional Transportation Programs Appalachian Regional Commission Environmental Protection Agency Federal Emergency Management Agency Economic Development Administration USDA Forest Service TOTAL FEDERAL FUNDING

$541,779 $60,301 $53,458 $30,405 $16,894 $1,740 $704,577


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Strengthening Regi REGIONAL BICYCLE & PEDESTRIAN ADVISORY COMMITTEE In February 2018, the long-standing Regional Bicycle Advisory Committee added the word “Pedestrian” to its name and became an advisory committee to the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization’s Transportation Technical Committee with ten at-large members and eight locality-appointed members. During the first year of the Regional Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee, members completed ten bike, walk, and disability site visits. Improvements that may result from these site visits range from street sweeping and minor sidewalk repair to curb ramp improvements and bike lanes to major capital projects and new sidewalk.

On-road Site Visit

Regional Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee


This year the Regional Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee conducted walk/bike/disability road site visits. Volunteers walked, biked, & wheeled Andrews Road and Norris Drive to the Lick Run Greenway, a path identified in the 2018 Greenway Plan as a neighborhood connection. In cooperation with staff, volunteers will continue to visit neighborhood connections to greenways and recommended locations identified in the RVTPO Pedestrian Vision Plan.

ROANOKE RIVER BLUEWAY COMMITTEE Regional Commission staff and Blueway partners stayed busy this year. The year started with outreach to elected officials to update them on projects and ended with an Elected Officials Float on the river in May. Members of the Committee also worked to gather information about needed improvements along the Blueway with an asset assessment. Moving forward, the Blueway Committee will be prioritizing projects and working to make the Blueway experience better for all users. For more information, please visit RoanokeRiverBlueway.org. Roanoke River Blueway

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ional Connectivity

Transportation Day Attendees

RVARC AND RVTPO HOST EVENT FOR CELEBRATE TRANSPORTATION DAY The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission (RVARC) and the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO) hosted a multi-modal event in honor of the first annual Celebrate Transportation Day in Virginia. In 2018, the Virginia General Assembly approved the designation of Celebrate Transportation Day, to begin in 2019. As outlined in House Joint Resolution HJ 59 (2018), Celebrate Transportation Day in Virginia takes place annually on the Thursday before Memorial Day. The celebration consisted of local leaders traveling in multiple modes of transportation including, taking a bus, carpooling, bicycling, walking, and driving alone from the RVARC offices to the Virginia Museum of Transportation. With over 25 in attendance, there was a good mix of RVARC Commissioners, RVTPO Policy Board Members, RVARC staff, Virginia Museum of Transportation staff, and other citizens.

COMMISSION STAFF UPDATE “GUIDE TO GETTING AROUND ROANOKE VALLEY� There are many ways to get around the Roanoke Valley without a car. This guide explores independent transportation options including buses and trolleys, transportation for people with disabilities, taxis, rideshare (Uber & Lyft), bikeshare (Zagster), rental bikes, and rental cars. Intercity bus, passenger rail, and air passenger services provide longer distance options. Staff will distribute the guide as part of RVARC/RVTPO public outreach efforts to agencies that serve people with disabilities, seniors, and tourism.

GREENWAY AND TRAILS The Regional Commission continues to support greenways and trails by collecting user data throughout the network. For questions about greenway use, please contact Amanda McGee at amcgee@rvarc.org.

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Improving Regiona RVTPO BOARD MEMBERS (2018/19) BEDFORD COUNTY The Honorable Andy Dooley BOTETOURT COUNTY The Honorable Steve Clinton The Honorable Billy Martin, Sr., Vice Chair

SMART SCALE FUNDING On June 19, 2019, the Commonwealth Transportation Board selected projects for the Fiscal Year 2020 (third round) of SMART SCALE funding. The following table lists all projects in the Urban and Rural areas of the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Region that received SMART SCALE funding. These projects were included in the FY2020-2025 Six-Year Improvement Program.

ROANOKE COUNTY The Honorable Phil North The Honorable George Assaid MONTGOMERY COUNTY The Honorable Steve Fijalkowski CITY OF ROANOKE The Honorable Bill Bestpitch The Honorable Joe Cobb CITY OF SALEM The Honorable Jane Johnson The Honorable Bill Jones TOWN OF VINTON The Honorable Keith Liles The Honorable Janet Scheid, Chair GREATER ROANOKE TRANSIT COMPANY (VALLEY METRO) Kevin Price ROANOKE-BLACKSBURG REGIONAL AIRPORT Vacancy

At the January 15, 2019 RVTPO meeting, following the release of the first funding scenario for the FY 2020 round of SMART SCALE, staff performed an in-depth analysis on the performance and scoring of projects. At the RVTPO meeting on February 28th, staff presented a historical and comparative analysis, with the intent of exploring, addressing, and answering the following: 1. Overall performance in obtaining funding in the RVTPO region 2. Reasons for successes and disappointments 3. External forces statewide contributing to success and loss in the region 4. Differing processes in project selection 5. Leveraging of funds and its impact on project benefit 6. Reflections and strategies for continued success


VIRGINIA DEPT. OF RAIL & PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION Daniel Sonenklar VDOT–SALEM DISTRICT Ken King NON-VOTING MEMBERS Kevin Jones - FHWA Vacancy - FTA J. Lee E. Osborne - RVARC Cody Sexton - TTC Chair Richard Caywood - Roanoke County Bob Cowell - City of Roanoke Craig Meadows - Montgomery County Pete Peters - Town of Vinton Ben Tripp - City of Salem

In April 2019, the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO) adopted new policies and procedures to guide its distribution of Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) funds. In June 2019, the RVTPO Policy Board approved $5.7M of STBG funds to complete the funding needed to build the Route 419/U.S. 220 Diverging Diamond Interchange project. In Fall 2019, the Board will entertain project applications for approximately $14.5M in STBG funds for their allocation in Spring 2020. See rvarc.org/stbg for more information.

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U.S. 419/220 Diverging Diamond Interchange Project Sketch

al Transportation RVARC RURAL TRANSIT FEASIBILITY STUDY The Roanoke Valley – Alleghany Regional Commission (RVARC) approved the Rural Transit Feasibility Study on May 23, 2019. The study evaluated the need for residents to have transit options to access the Amtrak Stations in Clifton Forge and the City of Roanoke, as well as employment opportunities, shopping, and medical appointments throughout the Roanoke Valley, including Franklin County.

Fixed-route commuter services have also been explored throughout this process to access key destinations along the US 220 corridor. It will be important for stakeholders to continue to monitor the mobility needs of the study area’s population to ensure appropriate transportation services are in place to serve diverse needs.

The Rural Transit Feasibility Study yielded several findings and established a variety of future activities that may be undertaken to improve mobility throughout the study area. Considering the size of the study area, at least 3-4 separate services may be required to effectively serve the localized as well as longer distance travel needs of residents. Fundamental to the discussion of future transportation services are the demographic characteristics of the study area. According to the public survey and transportation trends analysis, residents of the study area have a high likelihood to make specific destinations outside of their locality of residence, for the purposes of employment, medical services, shopping, leisure, and education. Conceptually, there are several demand-based types of transportation services and programs that would be most appropriate to respond to the specific, priority needs of residents including demand-response, volunteer driver, and vanpool/carpool services.

I-81 CORRIDOR COMMITTEE AND FUNDING On June 7th, 2019, Governor Northam signed into law two pieces of legislation relative to I-81: HB2718 and SB1716. Both bills, which are identical, sought to create an I-81 Corridor Committee as well as provide a dedicated funding stream. That funding stream is comprised of: 1) Regional fuel tax along the I-81 corridor for Planning Districts 3-7; 2) Statewide truck registration fee increase; and 3) Statewide road and diesel tax. The projected annual revenue is in excess of $150 million. The legislation was a result of the findings and recommendations from the I-81 Corridor Plan which was submitted to the General Assembly in late 2018. The I-81 Corridor Committee, which is composed of elected state and local officials, began meeting this summer, with a task of prioritizing and programming projects. The Committee includes RVARC members Bill Bestpitch and Phil North. w w w.r varc .org

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Regional Solutions NEW RIDE SOLUTIONS AND FLOYDFEST PARTNERSHIP RIDE SOLUTIONS AND HOLLINS UNIVERSITY COLLABORATE FOR 2019 ART BY BUS RIDE Solutions, the Roanoke Arts Commission, the Greater Roanoke Transit Company, and Hollins University presented a new partnership in conjunction with the 5th Annual Art by Bus program. Art by Bus promotes the value of public transportation to our community by bringing visual arts, musical performances, and inspired writing onto the Valley Metro’s bus network. For the fifth year in a row, selected works from the City’s public arts collection were displayed on the exterior of two Valley Metro buses. New to Art by Bus this year was a partnership with Hollins University led by Associate Professor Jennifer Printz, who worked with her class to create a series of original works. Student artist JM Lamb’s Wishes was chosen by representatives of Hollins University, the Arts Commission, and RIDE Solutions and was displayed this year.

Hollins graduate Lucy E. Marcus was selected as the 2019 Writer by Bus. She rode various Valley Metro buses throughout April and May to produce literary works about her experiences, the people she met, and the neighborhoods she traveled through.

The organizers of FloydFest and RIDE Solutions announced a new program encouraging attendees of the annual music festival to take miles off the road and reduce the need for parking at the festival site by carpooling to the show. FloydFest draws guests from within the region, the Commonwealth, and beyond – and all those miles can add up. Not only does carpooling reduce traffic and parking demand, if just a fraction of the event’s attendees shared a ride the impact on the region’s air quality and greenhouse gas emissions would be significant.

BIKE TO WORK DAY More information on Art by Bus and the participating artists can be found at ridesolutions.org/artbybus.

Artist JM Lamb by her Art by Bus Commissioned Work

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The RVARC parking lot was nearly empty October 4, 2018 as employees celebrated the second annual RVARC Bike to Work Day. This employee-led initiative involved a potluck breakfast and five employees (nearly 1/3 of the staff) biked to work.

Regional Programs RIDE Solutions and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation launched a new, statewide ridematching system to help commuters explore their transportation options. The new system, part of the Commute!VA statewide network, provides a suite of instant ridematching tools on mobile devices and through ridesolutions.org to help citizens connect to carpool, transit, and bike commuting opportunities.

Connecting the Region’s Commuters

An exciting feature of the new system, powered by the software platform Agile Mile, is the addition of a robust rewards system. Users can log their telework days, carpool,

This year, Bikeshare by RIDE Solutions increased the regional reach of its bikeshare program with the relocation of two stations to the City of Salem. The new stations are located in Downtown Salem in front of the library along Main St, and at the Eddy Avenue greenway entrance. As part of the broader Bikeshare by RIDE Solutions system, the Salem stations can be used by existing members under their current memberships. Rented bikes can be checked out and returned to either Salem station or ridden between the Salem and existing Roanoke City or Vinton stations.

transit, bike, and vanpool trips to earn points that can be cashed in for over 2,000 different rewards at local and national businesses. RIDE Solutions hopes to work with retailers and restaurants across central and southwest Virginia to offer more reward options. Additionally, the new system allows commuters to match to destinations across the Commonwealth and into areas not covered by existing programs, allowing long-distance, event, and one-time ridematching. The new system can be found at www.ridesolutions. org or downloaded from the Apple app store or Google Play.

For more information on Bikeshare by RIDE Solutions, visit: ridesolutions.org/bikeshare

On Saturday May 11, 2019 RIDE Solutions and 5 Points Music Sanctuary hosted the 8th Annual Night Rider’s Ball. This annual event celebrates the cycling community in Roanoke by throwing a big party in May to celebrate bike month.

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The night consisted of incredible performances by Headtronics, The State Birds, and Young, Angel, Leonard, Eanes - YALE, a selection of Deschutes Brewery’s finest beverages, and delicious Korean inspired eats from Hanu Truck. In order to celebrate bike month and promote riding your bike to the event, RIDE Solutions offered free entry to everyone who arrived by bike. Due to this incentive, and parking over 95 bikes throughout the night, this was the most successful Night Rider’s Ball RIDE Solutions has hosted.

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The Regional Commission serves as the coordinator of the U.S. Economic Development Administration designated Economic Development District and maintains the regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). The CEDS is a regional strategy which reflects local economic development needs and priorities and is designed to diversify and strengthen the regional economy. The Roanoke Valley - Alleghany Regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, 2019 Annual Report, outlines annual progress made in implementing the strategy and on any revisions made to the Goals and Objectives and/or to the Prioritization Criteria, along with the 2019 Project Package. The CEDS Strategy Committee continued to incorporate a series of familiarization tours in FY18-19. These events gave members an opportunity to visit localities throughout the region and included a visit to Alleghany Outdoors in Covington to hear an update on economic development activities and Parks and Recreation projects from Alleghany County staff and update from the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, a meeting hosted by the City of Roanoke at the Carilion Center for Simulation, Research and Patient Safety where members toured the facility and heard an update on Innovation Corridor projects, and a tour of Downtown Salem to see progress of the Downtown Plan which generated so much interest that one of our member governments requested a second tour. Additions to the 2019 Annual Update included adding a summary of the TED Study (Regional Study on Transportation Project Prioritization for Economic Development and Growth), a rewrite of workforce training section by Virginia Career Works Blue Ridge Region, the new Virginia Mountains region tourism brand, and The Gauntlet comprehensive business development program. 12 | 2018-19 ANNUAL REPORT

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CHESEAPEAKE BAY WATERSHED IMPROVEMENT PLAN Work continues to improve our regional water quality through the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Improvement funding provided by Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ). This year, staff worked with VDEQ to design new programs for outreach and education, improve resources for citizens and public stakeholders, and looked forward to formulating new programs and tactics for meeting goals set in Phase III of the statewide Chesapeake Bay Watershed Improvement Plan. For more information about the Phase III WIP released by Governor Ralph Northam in August of this year, please visit VDEQ’s website. For information on how you can improve local water quality in our region, contact Amanda McGee at amcgee@rvarc.org.

egional Community LOCAL TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROJECTS • Analysis of private solutions for on-demand transit services in Roanoke County • Greenway and trail counts in the Cities of Roanoke and Salem. • Assisted with the Clifton Forge and Craig County Comprehensive Plans • Served on CDBG Planning Grant project management teams for Alleghany County, City of Covington, Craig County, and Town of Vinton • Prepared application for the Jackson River Trail Phase 5 Grant • Contrbibuted to Alleghany Regional Commerce Center Funding Strategy Report • Coordinated the Blue Ridge Interagency Council on Homelessness Planning • Coordinated Regional Stormwater Management Technical Assistance and Stormwater Committee • Assist with Vinton Zoning Ordinance Review • Assisted with the Alleghany/Covington Regional Community Health Assessments and Improvement Plan • Updated Regional Water Supply Plans • Initiated Regional Food System Planning • Provided research for Triple Crown Visitor Use Management Plan • Provided technical Assistance and Demographics to the Virginia Department of Health for Community Planning Initiatives. • Facilitated Trail Master Plan for the Summit View Business Park in Franklin County. • Provided technical Support to the United Way of Roanoke Valley on an Early Childhood Education Survey. • Assisted with Economic Impact Asnalyses for the Roanoke Regional Partnership, Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce, and Total Action for Progress. w w w.r varc .org

REGIONAL HAZARD MITIGATION PLAN The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 requires that local governments, as a condition of receiving federal disaster mitigation funds, adopt a disaster mitigation plan that describes the process for identifying hazards, risks and vulnerabilities, identifies and prioritizes mitigation actions, encourages the development of local mitigation actions and provides technical support for those efforts. The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, in conjunction with its member localities and the Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan Committee, has updated the Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan. The Plan includes the counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Craig and Roanoke; the cities of Covington, Roanoke and Salem; and the towns of Buchanan, Clifton Forge, Fincastle, Iron Gate, New Castle, Troutville, and Vinton. These are the same localities that participated in the previous 2006 and 2013 plans. The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan has been reviewed by VDEM and FEMA and is now Approved Pending Adoption by local governments in the region. The Regional Commission board adopted the Plan on September 26, 2019. The Plan is available on the Commission’s website at rvarc.org/community/hazard-mitigation.

Flooding in Downtown Roanoke

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REGIONAL COMMISSION RECEIVES BICYCLE FRIENDLY BUSINESS DESIGNATION On December 18, 2018 the Commission joined a cutting-edge group of over 1,300 businesses, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies across the United States that are transforming the American workplace.

Each year, the Innovation Awards program honors National Association of Developmental Organizations (NADO) members for their creative approaches to advancing regional community and economic development and improved quality of life. These projects have made significant impacts on their regions and demonstrate the diversity of services and program delivery provided by regional development organizations across the country. The 2018 class of award recipients consists of 90 projects spanning 24 states. This year, as a part of the NADO Annual Training Conference, the Roanoke Valley-Allehany Regional Commission was awarded the NADO Innovation Award for the work on the Regional Study on Transportation Project Prioritization for Economic Development and Growth.

Bicycle Friendly Business requirements identify incentives, programming, and amenities proven to enable and inspire more people to ride bikes. RVARC offers free bikeshare membership to its employees, maintains the Regional Bikeway Plan and interactive bike map, and works with localities to implement bicycle improvements. In addition, RVARC staffs the Regional Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee. RIDE Solutions, a program of RVARC, launched Zagster bikeshare in 2017, and administers the Bike Hero award and the bicycle rack donation program.

ART BY BUS PROGRAM RECEIVES AWARD In October 2018, RIDE Solutions was awarded the Outstanding Marketing Campaign (greater than $2500) by the Chesapeake Chapter of the Association for Commuter Transportation for their annual Art by Bus program. Art by Bus promotes the value of public transportation to our community by bringing visual arts, musical performances, and inspired writing onto Valley Metro’s bus network. To learn more, please visit: ridesolutions.org/artbybus 14 | 2018-19 ANNUAL REPORT

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50 Years of Service


The Fifth Planning District Commission is officially established on August 25, 1969. Norman C. Scott, representing the City of Clifton Forge, is named the first chairman of the Commission.


Commission staff carries out the first regional demonstration project in the nation, utilizing direct citizen input together with computerized ballots, television, and professional analysis to study various social problems. The program, called People Planning, used hour-long television documentaries to present planning issues and provided ballots to all newspaper subscribers. A major goal of the project was to stimulate more citizen participation in the affairs of local government.


The Fifth Planning District Regional Alliance was formed to explore issues related to enhancing economic competitiveness and to encourage greater interjurisdictional cooperation. The Alliance prepared the Strategic Economic Development Plan. The Cities of Roanoke and Salem, Roanoke County and the Town of Vinton agreed to provide the first year of funding for a Greenway Coordinator to be housed in the Fifth PDC office. Staff also provided assistance in the preparation of the Roanoke Valley Conceptual Greenway Plan.


Staff submits the 208 Regional Wastewater Management Plan to the Environmental Protection Agency. The three-volume study was a result of a two-year planning effort which served the localities as a guide in developing the necessary means to clean up streams in their jurisdictions. The Fifth PDC was the first regionally designated agency in the country to develop a 208 plan. The plan called for the establishment of advisory boards for both the Roanoke River and James River basins.


The Roanoke Valley officially became the first Project Impact community in Virginia during a ceremony where representatives of the Cities of Roanoke and Salem, Roanoke County and the Town of Vinton signed a Memorandum of Agreement. The Fifth PDC served as fiscal agent for the $500,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant and housed the Project Impact staff.


The Roanoke Valley Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is established and recognized by the U.S. Department of Transportation as the entity responsible for transportation-related planning within the Roanoke urbanized area. The MPO is a policy-making body which reviews and approves all federally funded transportation activities affecting the Roanoke Valley. Commission staff provides technical support to the MPO.

1985 1989

The Fifth PDC implements a Geographic Information System (GIS) using a portion of eastern Roanoke County as a demonstration project. The microcomputer-based GIS was the first of its kind in the State. The PDC staff was instrumental in helping several of its localities acquire their own systems.

Purchased 3-story office building and 17 space parking lot at 313 Luck Avenue in downtown Roanoke.


Began providing transportation services to the rural portion of the District – the Rural Transportation Planning Program was initiated in FY 1993 by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Initiated the Business Enhancement and Export Assistance Program aimed at helping smallto medium-sized manufacturers, agricultural and service businesses in the district identify new domestic and international markets for their products.

Staff completed the first region-wide Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).

The Roanoke Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization was designated a Transportation Management Area and urbanized portions of Bedford County and Montgomery County were added to the MPO Study area.

The Partnership for a Livable Roanoke Valley was one of 45 regions in the nation to be awarded a Regional Sustainable Communities Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

T R Vin of t offi in V

1999 2001 2004 2007 2008 2009 20

The Fifth Planning District Commission is officially renamed the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission.

RIDE Solutions, the region’s rideshare program, is launched. The program is designed to encourage residents to use alternative modes of transportation while commuting to work. Commission staff administers the program, which serves both the Roanoke and New River Valleys.

Franklin County joins the Regional Commission as a joint member.

The Town of Rocky Mount joins the Regional Commission as a joint member.

Worked with Alleghany, Bath, Craig and Highland counties, the City of Covington and Town of Clifton Forge to launch the Virginia’s Western Highlands tourism initiative. Staff helped to secure funding for the effort and worked to develop a regional tourism marketing plan, brand and organization plan.

Staff completed the first region-wide Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).

2008 2009 2012 2013 2014 2015 2017 2018 2019

ed with AlleghaBath, Craig and and counties, the f Covington and of Clifton Forge nch the Virginia’s tern Highlands rism initiative. helped to secure ng for the effort worked to develregional tourism eting plan, brand rganization plan.

Th Alli rela pet in Al

The Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority was created with the support and assistance of the Regional Commission.

The Roanoke River Blueway initiative was established to highlight the river as a recreation destination.

The RIDE Solutions program launched a Bike Share service in cooperation with Zagster and local businesses.

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The Commission and Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) completed a Regional Study on Transportation Project Prioritization for Economic development and Growth

The Regional Commission celebrates 50 years of service.

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The R Valley itan P Orga was d a Trans Mana Area a ized p Bedfo and M ery Co adde MPO S


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