Each year, alternative transportation professionals and champions from the Roanoke and New River Valleys get together and share news on the latest in transportation beyond the car. This year covered many topics ranging from cycling plans to available funding sources.
The Multi-regions Alternative Transportation Social featured speakers from Christiansburg, Blacksburg, Virginia Tech, the Roanoke Valley/Alleghany Regional Commission (RVARC), VDOT, and the New River Valley Regional Commission. Here’s some of what we learned.
The Renva Knowles Bridge and the future of the Huckleberry in Christiansburg: the bridge was built as part of VDOT’s widening of Pepper’s Ferry Road and now links the trail from Blacksburg to the Christiansburg Recreation Center. This project has energized trail efforts in the town and more work is being done to extend the trail to the high school and eventually to the aquatic center. Local groups are sponsoring events centered around the trail including the 8-mile walk that happened on September 10 and even Halloween activities.
The RVARC’s National Bike/Pedestrian Documentation Project: Did you know!? Each year the commission recruits volunteers to take bicycle and pedestrian counts at key intersections. This data can help planners in identifying infrastructure and improvements needed to make travel safer for everyone by improving access and safety where multiple modes are using the roads.
VDOT’s Funding Sources: Sure, we all know VDOT funds road construction and maintenance to keep freight and cars moving, but they support projects that benefit other modes, too. The group learned about opportunities to fund sidewalks, trails, bus stops, bike lanes and even off-road facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.
NRV Cycling Guide: Long ago, the New River Valley Bicycling Association had created a printed guide to cycling routes in the valley. More recently, the NRVRC has worked with local cycling enthusiasts to field-truth these routes and new ones (you can thank George Simmons for this) and build the data in electronic format to create an online database you can browse or search for on and off road rides. Data on the route, elevation gains, distance, etc are all available here: http://nrvrc.org/cyclingguide/)