On January 15th, the Commonwealth of Virginia released draft Smart Scale scores for transportation grant applications submitted in July and August by localities and regional entities such as the Danville Metropolitan Planning Organization. The release of these draft scores serves as an initial step in the determination of funding for transportation projects throughout Virginia.
It’s no secret that the West Piedmont Planning District and the surrounding regions and states have been inundated with rainfall in 2018, and this wet pattern appears to so far be continuing into 2019. Between heavy Thunderstorms which dumped copious amounts of rain in the region during the spring and summer, to a continuous pattern of systems moving across from the Pacific, to two tropical systems that impacted the region, the term “drenched” might be an understatement.
It was announced in December 2018 that the Pittsylvania County Department of Parks & Recreation was awarded a grant to enhance the Wayside Park facility, located along U.S. Route 29 Business in Hurt, which will offer greater protections for the park as a strategy to mitigate detrimental environmental impacts of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
Southern Area Agency on Aging, based in Martinsville, has begun a grant-funded program to help people without transportation get to work or job interviews. The program, funded by the Community Foundation of Western Virginia as well as the United Way of Martinsville-Henry County, provides funding until the end of June 2019 to reimburse volunteer drivers who participate in the program.
In addition to population counts and trends, the U.S. Census Bureau compiles workers’ means of transportation to work. RIDE Solutions staff wanted to compare the way residents of the West Piedmont Planning District – comprising the counties of Franklin, Henry, Patrick, and Pittsylvania and the cities of Danville and Martinsville – traveled to work in 2010 and 2017.
Most of us are familiar with the Decennial Census – that full count of persons which takes place every ten years to determine how each state is represented via the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as to guide the disbursement of federal funding to localities, as noted on the Census Bureau’s website (https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census/2020-census/about.html).
An interesting analysis, especially for those employed within the economic development, human resources, and planning professions, would be where employees who are employed in a jurisdiction or region, such as the West Piedmont Planning District, reside.
Piedmont Area Regional Transit (PART) serves as the public transportation system for the City of Martinsville and Henry County. PART was established in 2009 as a result of a transit study between the City and County, and is operated by RADAR of Roanoke, a non-profit organization that has specialized in public and private human service activities for decades.