The draft West Piedmont Planning District 2045 Rural Long Range Transportation Plan is now available for public review, and comments will be accepted until Thursday, April 9th. The plan will be adopted by the Board of the West Piedmont Planning District Commission (WPPDC) at its meeting, following receipt of public comments.
The Rural Long Range Plan sets out project priorities, by locality, over the next 25 years. In many cases, a prerequisite for the award of transportation project funding by agencies such as the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) or the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) is a plan or study adopted by a regional or local body, such as a planning board. This plan serves that purpose, as it presents hundreds of projects throughout Franklin, Henry, Patrick, and much of Pittsylvania County, the City of Martinsville, and the Town of Rocky Mount. The City of Danville and the adjoining portion of Pittsylvania County are not included in this plan because they fall within the jurisdiction of the Danville Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO); the MPO maintains its own plan of transportation projects.
Once adopted, the Rural Long Range Plan will supersede the West Piedmont Planning District Commission 2035 Rural Long Range Transportation Plan, adopted in 2011. This older plan presents transportation recommendations in lengthy lists by locality. In updating this plan for 2045, WPPDC staff utilized a matrix ranking tool developed by VDOT, which essentially “scores” projects based on quantifiable inputs such as average daily traffic volume, number of trucks, crash rates, economic development needs, potential environmental impacts, and other information. Using this tool, staff developed project lists which were divided between Priority and Vision lists. Priority lists include those project recommendations which are ranked among the top 20 in a locality; Vision lists are those recommendations which scored 21 and below.
This updated plan also improves upon multimodal aspects of localities’ transportation systems. In many cases, bicycle and pedestrian enhancements have been included in the Priority and Vision lists. Additionally, the plan includes an entire chapter devoted to multimodal transportation improvements including bicycle, pedestrian, and transit improvements, as well as innovative modes of transportation including ride share (Uber/Lyft), bike/scooter share, and Transportation Demand Management (TDM), by which RIDE Solutions is referenced.
Again, the West Piedmont Planning District 2045 Rural Long Range Transportation Plan will be available for public comment until Thursday, April 9th, and it can be accessed in multiple ways. The easiest is to view the entire document at http://www.wppdc.org/content/wppdc/uploads/PDF/docs_publications/transportation/wppd_2045_draft_rural_long_range_transportation_plan.pdf. Additionally, print versions can be reviewed at main library branches in Chatham, Martinsville, Stuart, and Franklin County, as well as in local municipal buildings. However, given the coronavirus crisis, many of those locations may be inaccessible at this time, so the best and safest method would be to view it online. Comments can be emailed to Joseph Bonanno, Regional Planner, West Piedmont Planning District Commission, at Jbonanno@wppdc.org, or to David Hoback, Executive Director, West Piedmont Planning District Commission. Comments may also be mailed to Joseph Bonanno, West Piedmont Planning District Commission, P.O. Box 5268, Martinsville, VA 24115.