The regional commission provides transportation planning assistance across the region. Through a partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation, the regional commission manages an annual Rural Work Program that is guided by a multi-jurisdictional Transportation Technical Advisory Committee. The Rural Work Program enables the regional commission to offer a wide range of transportation technical assistance and services to the region. The Rural Work Program is geared towards communities located outside of the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) urbanized boundary. The maps ( below) identify the urbanized parts of the region and highlights completed projects. Together, the regional commission and MPO are active partners in transportation planning. In addition to providing transportation planning assistance, the regional commission manages a variety of transportation programs and resources including Ride Solutions, NRV Trail Counter Program, NRV Cycling Guide, and the Regional Data Book. More information about these programs is provided below.

 

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The Virginia Department of Transportation allocates part of its federal State Planning and Research (SPR) funding for the Regional Commission to provide planning assistance for non-urbanized areas within the Commonwealth. The Regional Commission is responsible for partnering with member local governments to develop and execute an annual scope of activities that address transportation related issues that are specific to the region. The partnership also requires the Regional Commission to actively take part in statewide and federal transportation planning and training opportunities.

The program allows the Regional Commission to offer local technical assistance and also maintain important regional plans, including the regional Bike, Ped, Paddle Plan and the Rural Long-Range Transportation Plan. The Regional Commission coordinates annual meetings with the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s Salem District Representative and the Multi-Region’s Alternative Transportation Social between the New River Valley and Roanoke Valley.

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RIDE Solutions NRV is a local resource for commuters, residents, and businesses with transportation challenges looking for solutions that go beyond a single-occupant vehicle. The program serves anyone traveling into or out of the New River Valley, connecting them to available transportation options – carpooling (and vanpooling), transit networks, safe cycling and walking, and effective teleworking. The service is free thanks to the ongoing support of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation and the region’s local governments.

The Regional Commission provides employer outreach services, the Ride Solutions website and app, partnering with local and regional groups, and individual customer service. Please reach out to the Regional Commission staff contacts to get involved with the program.

If you’re interested in partnering with us for your organization’s transportation challenges, please contact Christy Straight or Kathleen Armstrong.

In the late 90s’, a handful of local cyclists teamed up to create the original Cycling in the New River Valley Guidebook. Although the original document was completed more than 20 years ago it is still used on a regular basis today. In 2015, the New River Valley Bicycle Association partnered with the New River Valley Regional Commission to update the guide and another update is expected to be completed in 2022. This website provides the most current route descriptions, turn-by-turn instructions, and overhead maps for more than 30 road rides, 58 optional/alternate routes, and nearly a dozen trail rides.

The database and interactive maps were developed and are maintained by the New River Valley Regional Commission. 

Since 2014, the Regional Commission has maintained a trail counter program to document the volume, peak hour, types of users, and even seasonal influences of trail use across the region. Counts typically begin around May of each year to coincide with the Appalachian Trail Days and conclude as temperatures begin to fall in November. Trail Reports may be access year round.

East Main Downtown – City of Radford

In 2019, the Regional Commission partnered with the City of Radford and the Appalachian Regional Commission to perform a study for the East Main Street corridor. TheRegional Commission performed a parking inventory, building analysis, public engagement activities, and prepared the final consumer report. Although East Main Street was the focus of the study, public engagement and stakeholder input guided additional interest towards Third Street. The Regional Commission was able to create conceptual planning visualizations and a parking area improvement plan with other in-house funding resources. The Third Street conceptual planning visualization is shown here.

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Old Hensley Road Study – Town of Floyd

In 2019, the Regional Commission partnered with the Town of Floyd to evaluate a busy intersection along Main Street. Old Hensley Road, initially showing up on plats dating back to 1892, leads to a popular parking area that serves several local businesses and a Town Park. The technical assistance project examined existing intersection sight distance, surface conditions, signage, and pavement markings during an on-site visit. Contributors included Town staff, representatives from the Department of Transportation, and local private sector experts.

The Regional Commission developed conceptual planning visualizations, cost estimates, and project phasing scenarios. In addition, the Regional Commission performed plat research to determine property ownership and existing rights-of-way.

Downtown Streetscape Improvements – Town of Rich Creek

Summer of 2021, the Town of Rich Creek completed its downtown streetscape project. For more than 15 years, the Regional Commission partnered with the Town to develop competitive grant applications and to administer more than $2.2M of federal funding to complete improvements along Old Virginia Avenue, Woodland Road, and Knob Street. Congratulations to everyone at the Town! The Regional Commission was pleased to have a role in this exciting project.

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Newbern Road Round-a-bout – Pulaski County

In 2020, the Regional Commission partnered with Pulaski County and the Virginia Department of Transportation to develop its first competitive SMART Scale application. Volvo North America, the region’s largest manufacturing employer, is significantly investing in the building of Plant 2 which will increase the site to over 500 acres and create an additional 700 jobs. The proposed intersection improvements will increase site accessibility and improve safety for thousands of daily workers who access jobs located along Cougar Trail Road each day. Congratulations Pulaski County on being awarded $13,137,150 for this important project!

NRV Passenger Rail Service – Town of Christiansburg

May 2022, Governor Northam announced the expansion of passenger rail service to Christiansburg. The New River Valley service will be funded through a significant statewide investment of more than $200M for capital improvements and acquisition along the US 29 and I81 corridors. More than a quarter of the total investment will help to make necessary improvements between Salem and Christiansburg. The Regional Commission has been among the key collaborators who have worked to gain access to passenger rail since 2013.

So far, key roles for the Commission have included: community engagement, ridership projections, site evaluation, facilitating a maintenance and ownership strategy, applying for statewide funds to assess specific infrastructure needs, and developing the framework for the New River Valley Passenger Rail Station Authority. The New River Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Blacksburg Partnership have both been tremendous conduits for regional partners to once again welcome passenger rail service in the region.

Team
Regional Planner II/Communications Specialist
Deputy Executive Director
Director of Environmental Resources