Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission News
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COVID-19 Dashboard
Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission staff has prepared a COVID-19 dashboard to track regional cases and also includes demographics and mapping of vulnerable populations.

Included in the dashboard are unemployment claims, nursing home locations, and zip code COVID-19 data. COVID-19 cases and deaths are updated hourly from Johns Hopkins. To access the dashboard, click HERE.
Image captured 6/28/2021 at 12:30 PM
Regional Commission Board Member Transitions
The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission would like to thank the Honorable Bill Bestpitch and Mr. Frederick Gusler for their service to the Commission and would like to welcome the Honorable Joseph L. Cobb back to the board.
The Commission would also like to thank The Honorable Brad E. Grose for his service to the region during his tenure as Chair of the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission Board. Mayor Grose has been a great asset to the organization during his time as leader.

Mayor Grose served the following terms as chair.

  • October 2006 - October 2009
  • October 2017 - October 2019
  • October 2019 - October 2021
Regional Commission Elects New Officers
The Regional Commission elected new officers during the June meeting. We would like to welcome them to their new role and thank them for their service to the region.
CHAIR

The Honorable Phil North
Roanoke County
VICE CHAIR

The Honorable Pam Marshall
Town of Clifton Forge
TREASURER

Dean Martin
Roanoke County
SECRETARY

Jeremy Holmes
Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission
Pohlad-Thomas Named Interim Director of RIDE Solutions
Tim Pohlad-Thomas has been named Interim Director of the RIDE Solutions Commuter Assistance Program. Tim will lead operations of the Program while the Commission seeks a permanent Director.

Tim has served as the Outreach and Communications Specialist for RIDE Solutions since February of 2017, where he has been helping commuters find alternative transportation options, including biking, walking, carpooling, and transit. 

Applications are being accepted for the position opening through July 9th. More information on the position can be found below.

Regional Commission Seeks Applications for Director of RIDE Solutions
The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission is seeking a energetic, passionate, and public-minded professional to serve as the Director of RIDE Solutions, the Commission’s commuter assistance and active transportation program.

As Director of RIDE Solutions, candidates will manage the multi-regional commuter assistance program applying creative marketing, public outreach, event management, and other strategies to educate and encourage drivers to switch from single-occupant vehicles (SOVs) to high-occupant vehicle modes (HOVs) such as transit, vanpool, bicycle, walking, and carpool. Successful candidates will show expertise in developing, deploying, and measuring successful behavior change marketing campaigns, working with diverse constituents and organizations to identify needs and develop appropriate services, and will demonstrate knowledge and enthusiasm for the ability of mobility and transportation choice to transform communities, neighborhoods, and individuals.

Candidates should also be familiar with the ways that historical mode-specific investments have shaped the physical form of our communities and supported or limited the opportunities of diverse populations with those communities.
To apply: Interested professionals should email a resume, cover letter, and three professional references to sdean@rvarc.org by Friday, July 9th. The position is open until filled, with the first round of review beginning Monday, July 12th. Please note that only electronic submittals will be accepted.
Congratulations to Rachel Ruhlen on AICP Certification
The Regional Commission would like to congratulate Rachel Ruhlen, Transportation Planner II, on her certification with the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).

Rachel Ruhlen has been with RVARC since 2016. She holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Transportation from the University of Washington. She started bicycling for transportation in 2004, got involved in bike/ped and transit advocacy, and served on several committees and boards before changing careers to become a transportation planner.
RVTPO Policy Board Approves FY22-27 STBG Funding
The Roanoke Valley Transportaton Planning Organization (RVTPO) Policy Board has approved $27,658,943 for 19 transportation projects for the FY22-27 period via the Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) program. This year’s decision includes increasing funding for existing projects to cover project cost overruns including:

  • Roanoke River Greenway – Greenhill Park (Roanoke County) to Riverside Park (Salem)- increase funding by $3,083,069 for a total of $7,673,829.
  • Walnut Avenue Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodations (W. Lee Avenue to 1st Street) -increase funding by $336,110 for a total of $881,360.
  • Gus Nicks Boulevard Pedestrian/Bicycle Crossing - increase funding by $234,262 for a total of $403,912.
  • Oak Grove Streetscape Improvements – Crosswalk - increase funding by $82,000 for a total of $218,748.

New STBG project applications will be due on September 24, 2021. For more information about the STBG program see rvarc.org/stbg or contact Cristina Finch at cfinch@rvarc.org.
Chesapeake Bay Report Card Indicates Continued Improvements
The annual Chesapeake Bay Report Card, developed by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, evaluates the Chesapeake Bay itself and the entire watershed. The Bay score increased from a C- in 2019, to a C in 2020. The Watershed score, which includes Societal and Terrestrial factors, remained at a B-.

The Upper James Watershed received the second highest score out of 23 subwatersheds across the entire region, and the best Total Nitrogen score out of all the regions. Read the full report here.
RVTPO Policy Board Approves Amendment to FY21-24 Transportation Improvement Program
At their June 24th meeting, the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO) Policy Board approved an amendment to its FY 2021-2024 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). This amendment to the TIP addressed a new project from Roanoke County to operate its CORTRAN service for seniors and people with disabilities next year. The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation included the project in their FY22-27 Six-Year Improvement Program: Roanoke County received $119,008 in Federal Transit Administration 5310 Program funding.

At its May 27 meeting, the RVTPO Policy Board released the draft amendment for public comment. Pursuant to the RVTPO Public Participation Plan, a 14-day public comment period began June 10th and concluded on June 23rd, prior to the scheduled public hearing at the June 24 RVTPO meeting.
No Need To Speed
Did you know that in Roanoke, crashes caused by speeding doubled in 2020? Street safety is more important than ever. The No Need to Speed campaign is running for eight weeks, from June 21 - August 15.
 
Here’s what you can do:
  1. Order a pedestrian safety kit for your workplace using this form. The pedestrian safety kit includes posters, postcards, and yard signs for you to distribute, and an option for your organization to be recognized for your support.
  2. Attend the kickoff event: Register to attend a neighborhood walk on June 22, to kick off the campaign. Learn about the campaign, see recent street improvements, and talk with local leaders about how together we can make our streets a safer place. Plus, enjoy ice cream from Scoop! In the case of rain, this event will be postponed until the following day (June 23).
  3. Take the pledge. Join your community in taking the pledge for safer streets at PlanRoanoke.org/PedSafetyPledge.
  4. Promote the campaign through your existing channels. Throughout the campaign, we will provide you with pre-written communications that can be copied and shared through social media, e-newsletters, and websites. 
  5. Follow the City of Roanoke on social media and share our posts about the campaign..
  
Visit PlanRoanoke.org/PedestrianSafety for the latest on the campaign
DEQ/DCR Funding Opportunities
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Conservation and Recreation are soliciting applications for water quality, land conservation, and flood mitigation projects. See the list below for details.

Virginia Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund (DEQ) – Eligible projects include improvements to publicly owned wastewater collection and treatment facilities and installation of public stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs). Click here for more information. Applications close on July 30, 2021.

Stormwater Local Assistance Fund (DEQ) – Provides matching grants for the planning, design, and implementation of stormwater BMPs. Find more information here. Applications are open until 5:00 PM on July 30th, 2021.

Virginia Land Conservation Foundation (DCR) – Consists of $7.5 million in state funding divided into five grant categories: farmland preservation, forestland preservation, historic preservation, natural area protection, and open spaces and parks. Find more information here. Applications are due by 4:00 PM on August 9th, 2021.

Community Flood Preparedness Fund Grants and Loans (DCR) – Funding comes from the auction of carbon allowances through the Regional Greenhouse Gase Initiative (RGGI). $18 million is available for projects that implement flood prevention and project solutions or flood studies. Read more about the opportunity here. Applications are due by 4 PM on September 3rd, 2021.
Regional Commission Honors Wayne During June Meeting
During the June meeting of the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, Mayor Brad Grose, chair of the Regional Commission, and Mr. Billy Martin, Chair of the RVTPO, honored Wayne's 42 years of service by surprising him with going away gifts during the online meeting.

You can view the full surprise in the video below.
Ongoing Projects
The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission is always working with localities on projects that benefit the region. Some of these projects are listed below.

  • Alleghany Highlands Economic Impact of the Arts
  • Roanoke Valley Transportation Plan
  • Rural Long-Range Transportation Plan
  • City of Covington Downtown Revitalization Planning Grant Assistance
  • City of Roanoke Neighborhood Walk Project
  • City of Roanoke Pedestrian Safety Campaign
  • Promotion and access improvements for the Roanoke River Blueway
  • Botetourt County Community Mobility Design Challenge
  • Regional Study on Transportation Project Prioritization for Economic Development and Growth in the Roanoke Valley

For more information on ongoing projects contact Tim Pohlad-Thomas or visit RVARC.org.