The latest on the programs and projects of
the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission.
Around the Region
 January 2018
I-64 Corridor Study Completed

The Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro MPO and the Charlottesville-Albemarle MPO have completed a study of the I-64 Corridor. The study examined the 40-mile stretch of I-64 between the cities of Charlottesville and Staunton, including the US 250 corridor and the Buckingham Branch Railroad.  Recommendations provided in the study are intended to mitigate congestion, improve safety, and address common goals. The year-long study was funded by the Federal Highway Administration's Strategic Highway Research Program. To learn more about the study and read the draft final report please visit the project webpage.

Rural Transportation Committee Tours Crozet Tunnel

In December, the CSPDC hosted a tour of the eastern portal of the Crozet Tunnel for the Rural Transportation Technical Advisory Committee, as well as Parks & Recreation and Tourism staff from our member localities. Dwayne Jones, Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Waynesboro, and a member of the Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation Board, served as the tour guides for the 20 participants. Work to restore the Tunnel is expected to begin in 2018.

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CSPDC Localities Receive Funding from DuPont Settlement

In December, Governor McAuliffe announced land conservation and water quality projects that have received funding from a $50 million settlement with DuPont stemming from mercury contamination of the South River.  The following are localities within the CSPDC and their projects that were funded: Augusta County received funding for stream restoration and stabilization projects, the Town of Elkton received funding for a stream restoration project, and the City of Waynesboro received funding for habitat improvement and land protection. There were more than $95 million worth of projects pertaining to the settlement for which applications were submitted. A full list of funded projects can be found  here .

Census Releases 5-Year American Community Survey Data

The Census Bureau has released its 2012-2016 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates. The ACS is the most relied-on source for up-to-date social, economic, housing, and demographic information. These statistics cover all geographic areas down to the block-group level. The ACS covers 40 topics, such as educational attainment, occupation, language spoken at home, nativity, ancestry, and selected monthly homeowner costs. These reliable statistics are required by all levels of government to manage or evaluate a wide range of programs, and are also useful for research, business, education, journalism, and advocacy to make informed decisions about the future.

Visit the Census Bureau's American FactFinder or use the Census API to start exploring these estimates .

Another useful data resource is the CSPDC's online Regional Data Center which covers a wide range of economic and demographic data and includes over 175 annual and historical demographic measures.  It is provided as a free public service. The CSPDC also offers data analysis to its localities through the use of Community Analyst.

Snag Your Project Impact 2018 Calendar Today

Shenandoah Valley Project Impact's (SVPI) popular yearly calendar is now available at government centers, libraries and other locations within the CSPDC region.  This year's calendar features the towns of the Shenandoah Valley, and contains a mix of entertaining historic photos and facts as well as amusing "holidays" for each day of the year. But the underlying purpose of the publication is to provide easily accessible information about disaster preparedness and mitigation pertinent to each season. 

Since its inception in September 2000, SVPI has conducted hundreds of trainings, demonstrations, surveys, forums and planning meetings, as well as developed important plans and printed materials to educate Valley residents on ways to protect their families, homes, properties, and businesses from the impact of severe weather, emergencies, and disasters. SVPI is also a pilot community within the Resilient Neighbors Network, a national program that will forge stronger efforts within local communities to prepare and respond to emergencies.
 
The calendar is free and, while supplies last, can be found at these locations or by contacting Rebecca Joyce at the CSPDC at 540-885-5174 or rebecca@cspdc.org.

Bridgewater Completes Main Street Study

The Town of Bridgewater in partnership with the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Metropolitan Planning Organization (HRMPO), Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), and engineering consultant Kimley-Horn, recently completed a study of the town's Main Street (VA 42) Corridor. The study, which was funded by HRMPO, examined traffic operations at a series of intersections along Main Street, as well as opportunities to add new pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure. HRMPO's Small Area and Corridor Study Program advances projects from the concept to application phase, providing the locality or localities with a project ready for SMART SCALE or other transportation funding programs.  Bridgewater has applied to VDOT for grant funding to implement many of the bicycle and pedestrian improvements. The final report is available here and a summary of recommendations can be found here.

SAWMPO to host WWRC Transportation Study Final Open House

The Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (SAWMPO) will host a final public meeting for the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center (WWRC) Transportation Study on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, at the Wilson Middle School Cafeteria at 232 Hornet Drive, Fishersville.  The meeting is from 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM.
 
The study examines alternative/secondary access locations to the WWRC Complex, access management along US 250 (Jefferson Highway), and operational and safety issues along the corridor with the intent of developing short- and long-term improvement recommendations. Study recommendations presented at the meeting will be used to guide future transportation improvements in the area. The public is encouraged to attend the meeting and provide input.  SAWMPO is leading this effort in collaboration with Augusta County and the Virginia Department of Transportation. To learn more about the study please visit the study website .

Virginia Housing Study Released

A new study focused on Virginia's housing sector and the links between housing and other key policy areas was released by state officials in November.  The independent report, commissioned by the  Housing Policy Advisory Council, was written by academic experts from George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Tech, and the College of William and Mary.

The report, titled " Addressing the Impact of Housing for Virginia's Economy," reveals that even though Virginia has made strides in bridging the affordable housing gap, particularly in functionally ending veteran homelessness, increasing state support for the Housing Trust Fund, and growing the number of permanent supportive housing units, the Commonwealth has a shortage of housing that is affordable to a substantial share of households. The findings indicate that Virginia needs to produce significant levels of new affordable housing to accommodate anticipated workforce growth.

Virginia Breeze Inaugural Ridership Brisk

The Virginia Breeze bus line, launched on December 1 by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), had 1,022 passengers in December. Dulles International Airport and Washington - Union Station stops accounted for 88% of northbound trips, and Harrisonburg, Blacksburg, and Christiansburg accounted for 82% of the southbound trips. Of those riders, 105 made connections via ticketing agent Megabus to other cities, with the majority traveling through to New York City and Philadelphia. 

The Virginia Breeze connects travelers from Blacksburg to Washington, D.C. with multiple destinations in-between, including Lexington, Staunton, and Harrisonburg. Each bus has free  wifi, in-seat power outlets, luggage compartments, and is handicap accessible.   All tickets for the modern 56-passenger coach, as well as access interline tickets for destinations beyond Washington, D.C. can be conveniently purchased through Megabus. This pilot program is funded through the Federal Transit Administration's 5311 Intercity Bus Program.
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