Regional Commission News October 2018
Regional Commission Receives National Association of Development Organizations 2018 Innovation Award
Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission (RVARC) based in Roanoke, Virginia has received a 2018 Aliceann Wohlbruck Innovation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) for the Regional Study on Transportation Project Prioritization for Economic Development and Growth.
The RVARC staffs the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization whose Policy Board approved the Regional Study on Transportation Project Prioritization for Economic Development and Growth in April 2018. The effort was the first time private and public stakeholders worked together to study how transportation and economic development goals are aligned, understand regional transportation needs as they relate to economic growth, review an economic profile of regional economic trends and conditions, and identify priority transportation needs and projects related to economic development.

“The Aliceann Wohlbruck Innovation Awards program recognizes the important and wide-ranging work of regional development organizations in communities across the country” said 2017-2018 NADO Doug Elliott, executive director of the East Central Iowa Council of Governments, located in Cedar Rapids. “These awards demonstrate the value of regional development organizations and highlight their critical role in promoting economic development for the nation’s rural and small metropolitan communities.” 

NADO is a Washington, DC-based membership association of regional development organizations that promotes programs and policies that strengthen local governments, communities, and economies through regional cooperation, program delivery, and comprehensive strategies. The association’s Innovation Awards program recognizes regional development organizations and their partners for improving the economic and community competitiveness of our nation’s regions and local communities.  

Award-winning projects were honored during NADO’s 2018 Annual Training Conference, held October 13 – 16 in Charlotte, NC.

For more information about this award-winning project, contact Tim Pohlad-Thomas at
Regional Commission Hosts Statewide Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee
RVARC hosted the Statewide Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee quarterly meeting in October. This was a great opportunity to interact with bike/ped staff and advocates from all over the state. Hot topics included electric scooters (which haven’t arrived in Roanoke yet) and electric bikes on greenways. Electric bikes are forbidden on Roanoke City greenways.

For more information, contact Rachel Ruhlen at
RIDE Solutions Announces Publication of 2018 Writer by Bus Chapbook
RIDE Solutions, the Roanoke Arts Commission, and Valley Metro are proud to announce the publication of the 2018 Writer by Bus chapbook. The collection of essays and stories by writer Tim Thornton can be read online or downloaded from A limited number of hardcopy chapbooks are also available for purchase, along with works from previous Writer by Bus participants Shari Dragovich, Meighan Sharp, and Melanie Almeder.

“We're so pleased to have had to opportunity to work with Tim on this project, and are thrilled to finally make his work available," says RIDE Solutions Director Jeremy Holmes. "Tim's approach to the Writer by Bus project continues a years-long effort to tell the story of public transportation in unique and interesting ways, and we couldn't be happier to share his voice with the Roanoke Valley.”

Writer by Bus is part of RIDE Solutions' broader Art by Bus program. Each spring, Art by Bus brings attention to the important role that public transportation plays in our community through the use of visual art, literature, and music. Tim Thornton is the program's fourth Writer by Bus.

Applications are now being accepted by the Roanoke Arts Commission for the 2019 Writer by Bus. Full program details and application form can be found at the  Arts Commission website or
Regional Commission Hosts Bike To Work Day
The RVARC parking lot was nearly empty October 4 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.

For more information or photos, email Rachel Ruhlen at
Chesapeake Bay Watershed Improvement Plan
Chesapeake Bay Watershed Improvement Plan – The Regional Commission is wrapping up its part in Phase III of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Improvement Plan. Three public meetings have been held to discuss how our region can contribute to statewide goals to improve the Chesapeake Bay. Outcomes from these meetings will be reported at a final joint meeting held at Blue Ridge Community College from 1-4 pm on Monday, November 26th. For more information, contact Amanda McGee at
Regional Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee Conducts Road Audit
The Regional Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee conducted its first walk/bike/disability road audit. Volunteers walked, biked, & wheeled Andrews Rd and Norris Dr to the Lick Run Greenway, a path identified in the 2018 Greenway Plan as a neighborhood connection. In cooperation with locality staff, volunteers will continue to audit neighborhood connections to greenways as well as by recommended locations identified in the Pedestrian Vision Plan.

For more information, Contact Rachel Ruhlen at
Regional Commission Invites You To The 49th Annual Dinner
For more information, visit or contact Jackie pace at
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.

  • Craig County Comprehensive Plan Update
  • Alleghany County Wrightsville Neighborhood CDBG Planning Grant
  • Alleghany Highlands Broadband Planning Effort
  • Rural Transit Study
  • Stormwater Assistance
  • Vinton Zoning Assistance
  • Working with Franklin County on "Aging in Place" issues
  • Working with local governments, tourism organizations, and the private sector on a promotional campaign for the Roanoke River Blueway
  • Working with the regional local foods partners to examine "Food Hub" needs in the region

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