Infrastructure & Transportation
Strategic Initiative: Improving Streetscapes
A street design manual will address the design of new and existing streets and will provide guidance for planning and implementing improvements to create "Great Streets." Roanoke’s streetscapes should be welcoming and attractive multi-modal linkages that carry vehicle traffic, pedestrians, and bicycles safely and efficiently to and from their destinations.
The City developed a street design manual and adopted a complete streets policy recognized by the National Complete Streets Coalition of Smart Growth America.
Strategic Initiative: Getting Wired
This initiative focuses on creating an environment for technology businesses by providing infrastructure, office space, workforce, and supportive government policies.
The Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority was created.
Historic district designations facilitated historic tax credit rehabilitations to create spaces.
Created a Technology Zone in Downtown.
Innovation Corridor designation is pending.
IN A1. Adopt standard design principles for streets and develop a manual to guide construction that affects the streetscape and includes attractive designs for traffic calming devices.
Street Design Guidelines complete with a matrix of streetscape elements based on street type and neighborhood character district (2007). Amended in 2010.
Program Implementation through Complete Streets Policy adopted by City Council and interdepartmental team to identify/prioritize complete street projects. (2008)
IN A2. Develop an inventory of City streets based on transportation corridor classifications and identify priorities for design improvements.
In conjunction with completion of the Street Design Guidelines and adoption of the Complete Streets Policy, street classifications and character districts data has been added to the City’s GIS (2008). An interdepartmental team identified and prioritized projects and meets regularly to review design of street, sidewalk and related transportation infrastructure projects.
IN A3. Develop a transportation plan as a component of Vision 2001-2020 that uses the recommended design principles to implement and prioritize street improvements. Identify priorities for streetscape improvements through neighborhood plans and through a street design inventory.
Long Range Transportation Plan update was completed (2004) and current update underway in 2009.
Streetscape priorities to be included as part of the implementation of the recently adopted Complete Streets Policy (2008) and will reflect the City’s Street Design Guidelines.
Safe Routes to School program will identify priorities near schools (through Street Design Team and/or neighborhood plan updates) and provide some funding through grants.
IN A4. Expand the urban forestry program to increase the number of street trees planted and replaced.
Urban Forestry Plan (2003). City Council allocated an additional $50K for tree replacement in FY04. 500 trees were in planted in FY05 and FY06.
The number of trees planted has dropped to 400/year due to increases in supplier and transportation costs. Tree replacement program is unfunded in FY 2012.
Study underway to re-evaluate the City’s tree canopy using remote sensing and GIS (completion FY10).
Tree steward program developed to train residents in proper tree care, trainees must provide community service.
Since 2014, the City's Stormwater Utility has provided to Parks & Recreation $20K annually for tree planting because of the significant stormwater benefits that trees provide.
IN A5. Change zoning, subdivision, and other development ordinances to include revised street design principles.
VDOT expanded local authority to establish appropriate urban street designs. Zoning and subdivision ordinances reinforce street design principles (2005/2007) of Vision. Street Design Guidelines include detailed design principles (2007) for all City streets.
IN A6. Coordinate with state and regional transportation agencies to include revised design standards for new and existing public roadways. Pursue public transportation links between the New River Valley and Roanoke.
VDOT expanded local authority to establish appropriate urban street designs. Street Design Guidelines include design principles (2007).
Smart Way bus service to Blacksburg links New River Valley with Roanoke (2004). P&R is working with MPOs to create connections to Blacksburg.
IN A7. Develop a greenway system to provide pedestrian and bicycle linkages between the region’s parks, rivers, creeks, natural areas, recreation areas, business centers, schools, and other institutions.
Regional Greenway Plan (updated 2007) and Bikeway Plan (2005) were adopted by City Council in 2008 and provide a framework for the system. Completed greenways include:
Entire segment of Roanoke River greenway in the City is either constructed or funded for construction.
Mill Mountain Greenway completed 2003
Lick Run Greenway completed from Valley View to HRCC, with segment constructed in Countryside neighborhood
Tinker Creek – Wise Ave to Roanoke River (2003); Extension to RCIT in planning stages.
Murray Run Greenway is continually being developed at the grassroots level with new trailhead in Shrine Hill Park (2007), now connects Shrine Hill Park, Patrick Henry HS, Woodland & Fishburn Parks, James Madison Middle and Fishburn Elementary Schools.
IN A8. Identify long-term funding for sidewalk construction.
City Council approved an increase in cigarette taxes to support debt service for sidewalk/curb plan implementation -- $1 -1.2 million per year for five years (through FY08). City Council approved additional funding and a new process for reviewing sidewalk requests in 2010.
Capital funding was delayed for 2-3 years. No new capital funding available to support new construction (2011)
Bond funding restored. $1.5 million annually with 20% being reallocated for sidewalk maintenance.
IN A9. Develop procedures that link or expand greenways when obtaining rights-of-way when developing utilities.
Flood Reduction project includes 10 miles of greenway trails along Roanoke River. Trail installed as part of WVWA water line installation through Fishburn Park to link to Murray Run Greenway. Regional greenway plan includes action to pursue arrangements with outside utility providers.
IN A10. Develop and adopt a bicycle and pedestrian transportation plan that uses the recommended design principles.
The MPO completed bicycle suitability study to identify system needs and priorities and an Update of Bikeway Plan was completed in 2005.
Transportation Division incorporates bicycle/pedestrian accommodations into new projects and repaving/restriping projects.
Adoption of Complete Streets Policy includes adoption of the Regional Bikeway Plan and reinforces this program (2008).
Achieved and recertified as Bronze designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community since 2010
Walk Friendly Community designation pending.
Safe Routes to School program and the ongoing Pathways to healthy neighborhoods initiative build on these efforts.
Suggest revisions to ordinances to permit bicycle usage on sidewalks and within parks where designated.
Zagster bicycle share launched in 2017. Very successful and expanding.
IN A11. Develop programs to increase the ridership of Valley Metro.
Smart Way bus service to Blacksburg (2004). City employee bus passes. RVARC program provides free taxi in case of emergency. Bike racks on new buses (2006). Free ridership for City school students (2008).
Transit Vision plan completed by TPO/RVARC staff.
SmartWay to Blacksburg and Lynchburg placed into service in July 2011.
Multimodal study completed to evaluate future facilities.
IN A12. Encourage employers to establish motor pools for work-related trips during the day so employees can walk or bike to work.
RVARC expanded marketing of Rideshare program.
IN A13. Continue programs that provide public transportation to disabled citizens; consider expansion of service to employment and medical centers.
Paratransit programs (STAR) continuing.
IN A14. Explore streetcars or other mass transit systems.
1st phase of streetcar feasibility study completed by Valley Metro in 2004. Working to obtain funding for 2nd phase. Regional Commission performed an economic impact analysis for street cars in 2007 with request from the City Planning Commission for further research.
Rubber-tired trolley service from downtown along Jefferson Street to Roanoke Memorial Hospital/Crystal Spring has been successful (fall 2008).
IN A15. Encourage expanded direct air service to major national destinations.
Nonstop service to eight cities: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago/O’Hare, NYC/LaGuardia, Orlando/Sanford, Philadelphia, St. Petersburg/Clearwater and Washington/Dulles.
IN A16. Provide accessible shuttle service between the airport and other local destinations.
Smart Way bus provides service from downtown Roanoke and from Blacksburg to the airport.
IN A17. Encourage expansion of rail service to relieve truck congestion on Interstate 81.
No VDOT action. Roanoke continues to advocate approaches that incorporate rail. Virginia Heartland Corridor project (City supported) could alleviate some traffic.
IN A18. Explore development of a regional facility for a truck-to-rail intermodal transfer facility and inland port.
Norfolk Southern has announced construction of an intermodal facility in Elliston as part of the Heartland Corridor project.
IN A19. Pursue passenger rail service.
Shuttle bus linking Blacksburg and Roanoke to Lynchburg Amtrak station put into service July 2011.
AMTRAK began daily service October 2017.
IN A20. Create a task force responsible for developing a technology strategy.
The City’s Information Technology Committee (ITC) completed its strategic plan update process in 2007.
IN A21. Inventory and map technology resources such as available buildings, communications infrastructure, and existing technology businesses.
DOT created GIS map of Roanoke’s fiber optic network which is now available online. Warehouse Row – e-Town Initiative
IN A22. Foster strong partnerships and cooperative projects with Virginia Tech and other local universities.
Higher Education Center; Smart Way Roanoke-Blacksburg commuter service, ED position focused on building relationships with local colleges and universities.
PBD works with Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning at Virginia Tech, with the City serving as a laboratory for student projects.
Carilion/Virginia Tech medical school complete in SJRA.
Since 2013, the City's Stormwater Utility has contracted with the Virginia Tech Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering to perform Urban Stormwater Research including development of Watershed Master Plans for five of the 13 Roanoke River tributaries having watersheds within City limits (Lick Run, Carvin Creek, Tinker Creek, Glade Creek, and Trout Run,)
IN A23. Promote regional solutions to public water and sewer needs and services, including consideration of water conservation strategies.
Western Virginia Water Authority established July 2004.
Since 2014, the City's Stormwater Utility has partnered with Western Virginia Water Authority on education and outreach regarding both water conservation and appropriate septic system maintenance. Further, in 2017, the Stormwater Utility provided a grant to WVWA covering 50% of the sanitary sewer connection costs for several City Residents that had failing septic systems near Mudlick Creek.
IN A24. Maintain and upgrade sanitary sewer lines to eliminate infiltration and inflow of storm water.
Ongoing programs of assessment, repair and replacement. Long-term capital plan under development.
Since 2014, the City's Stormwater Utility has partnered with WVWA to remove several identified stormdrain connections to the sanitary sewer system.