Read about the Commission's greenway public meetings. Get updates on CEDS, 2018 Work Program, and see unemployment numbers. Learn about the success of the recently launched Bikeshare by RIDE Solutions .

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Greenway Plan Public Input Meetings

The Regional Commission is currently working to update the Regio nal Green way Plan, with the goal of adoption this fall. As part of this process, staff worked with the Greenway Commission to coordinate six public input meetings at various locations around the  region during the months of March and April. At the same time, a regional survey was conducted.

Initial data from the public input meetings shows that the public's regional vision for the greenway system emphasizes connectivity to neighborhoods, protecting neighborhood character, and improving the interconnectedness of existing greenways and trails. There was also a strong push to finish the Roanoke River Greenway. Upcoming priorities in terms of individual greenway projects, taken from survey responses, include Tinker Creek Greenway, extending Roanoke River Greenway, and improving and finishing Murray Run Greenway.

Another major theme of public input was operations and maintenance. The public was asked about perceived issues on the existing greenway system. Feedback from the meetings showed that the public would like to see center lines on paved greenways, better signage, mile markers, maps, and better maintenance and fencing. Questions were also raised by the public regarding rules and etiquette on the greenway, allowable mobility devices (e.g. motorized versus non-motorized), and invasive species. The online survey showed that people would like to see more restrooms, more water fountains, and better mapping on the greenways, with bathrooms being the highest priority.

Next steps for the plan include drafting feedback and working with localities to finalize mapping of future greenway corridors. The plan will then go to the Greenway Commission and its member localities for approval.

Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS)

In 2008, the staff of the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission worked with the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Committee to develop the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional CEDS document. The CEDS is updated annually and is a regional strategy that reflects local economic development needs and priorities. The CEDS planning process is a continuous process that enhances regional economic competitiveness and facilitates the implementation of regional priorities for investment. It establishes regional goals and objectives and includes a regional data profile, prioritized projects, performance measures, and an action plan for project implementation.

The 2017 Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional CEDS Annual Update will be submitted to the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) for their approval in July. A draft of the 2017 Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional CEDS Annual Update may be accessed via a link from the front page of the CEDS project website at:
http://rvarc.org/economy/regional-economic-planning-ceds-2/
FY 2018 Work Program Update

The annual Comprehensive Work Program is the basis for achieving the objectives and strategies outlined in the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission's Strategic Plan. The Commission strives to maximize its limited staff and resources by developing a comprehensive work plan based on current needs and priorities of the region. 

The FY '18 Work Program is a compilation of projects presented by Commission members, Chief Administrative Officials, the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO) Policy Board, regional economic development-related organizations, and Commission staff. Projects are reviewed and ranked according to importance, funding availability, staff time and other constraints. The intent is to obtain the most benefit from the least direct cost to the local governments. Requests not included in this year's work program are added to a list of potential projects for future work programs. These potential projects may be included in next year's work program if the need still exists and funding is available.

For more information or to download the full FY 2018 Work Program, visit this site: http://rvarc.org/about-rvarc/work-program/ 
Labor Force and Unemployment - April 2017

April unemployment numbers for the region remain low and are comparable to the state rate of 3.6%. Roanoke County has a very low rate of 3.2%, while other rural areas in the region have slightly higher rates.   The annual average wage in the region is $45,968 according to the Virginia Employment Commission, which makes our region rank 6th of the 21 Planning District regions in Virginia. The labor force continues to grow and has recovered to pre-recession levels. Variations within our region can likely be attributed to population growth and decline, rather than major economic factors.


Bikeshare by RIDE Solutions Surpasses Goals

This May, RIDE Solutions in partnership with Zagster launched Bikeshare by RIDE Solutions. 50 cruiser bikes were made available at 10 stations for members to use for on-demand, local trips. Riders can pay by the hour, or join the program by signing up for annual memberships. Rides for members - who must be 18 or older - are free for the first hour, and then $3 per hour after that. $81,000 of the program's $90,000 cost was funded through private-sector sponsorships.

In the first four weeks of service, the bikeshare program has already registered 728 members and delivered over 1400 trips.

Roanoke's bike share promises to ease commutes, but it also unlocks vast recreational opportunities for exercise and fun. Unlike big-city bike shares, in which riders must drop off bikes at designated stations for every stop, the built-in lock on every Zagster bike gives users the freedom to ride as long as they want, wherever they want. This hybrid model, which blends dockless locking for mid-trip stops with fixed station locations for beginning and ending rides, allows users to plan their trips around their destinations - and not around station locations.

Riding Roanoke's bike share is easy. Bikes can be found via the free Zagster Mobile App - available for iPhone and Android - or online at zagster.com/ridesolutions. With just the single touch of a button in the app, riders can control a Bluetooth-enabled locking system that features two points of security. (Alternatively, riders can obtain unlock codes via text message to use with an on-bike keypad.) A ring lock prevents the rear wheel from spinning or being removed, and two sturdy cables - one at each station dock, and one on each bike - connect to the ring lock, allowing riders to either tether bikes to Zagster stations at the end of their trips, or to public bike racks for mid-ride stops.

RIDE Solutions goal is to register 1000 members by June 2018 and to double the size of the system to 20 stations and 100 bikes.

Population Projections for Virginia Released

The 2016-2018 biennial budget allocated funds for a fresh round of official statewide population projections to be developed by the Demographics Research Group at the UVA Weldon Cooper Center.






   *The darker the color the larger the population
Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission | 313 Luck Ave., SW / Roanoke, VA 24016
540.343.4417 | rvarc@rvarc.org |  rvarc.org  
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