By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer
Unlike urban areas in Virginia, rural localities do not have federally mandated Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) instead their long range transportation planning is done via the state’s planning districts working directly with planning commissions and staff.
Wood Hudson, Senior Environmental Planner of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District (TJPDC), addressed Greene County’s Planning Commission at their April meeting. His goal was to inform the Planning Commission on the current Rural Long Range Transportation Planning (RLRTP) activities in Greene and to solicit feedback from the planning commission.
Several years ago, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) partnered with 20 Planning District Commissions to review their rural transportation programs. They developed Long Range Transportation Plans for rural areas to compliment plans in urban areas (MPOs). These included:
- Identify transportation deficiencies and recommendations
- Assist with comprehensive plan updates and traffic impact studies
- Evaluate the effects of land use and development on the surrounding network
- Establish programming of transportation improvements
- Provide content and guidance for statewide transportation plans
The RLRTP is in the process of their update every five years to help serve as a valuable tool to attract dwindling transportation funds. Feedback from planning commissions is requested to help identify a county’s needs. The rest of the process should take 6-9 months so Greene’s feedback would be useful in the next month.
TJPDC has been working with local planning staff and VDOT to draft a project list. Much of this work is completed through TJPDC’s Rural Transportation Planning Technical (R-Tech) Committee. The 2016 Chairman of R-Tech is Bart Svoboda – Greene County’s Planning Director.
Hudson provided a map of the county and project list divided into three categories – 1) new projects, 2) existing current projects and 3) existing projects scheduled in the future and asked that the commission provide feedback on the inclusion or exclusion of each project.
The existing project list includes work on US 33 to Rockingham County, US 33 from Route 230 to US 33 Bypass, US 29 from Albemarle County line to US 33 and US 29 at VA 616 – Carpenters Mill Road.
Chairman Jay Willer asked if the list of projects had been prioritized and who would determine the priorities VDOT or Greene County?
Hudson indicated that the projects will be ranked in the future after the list is completed. Hudson also said that the prioritization would be VDOT’s decision but the county can influence that decision based on their requirements.
Willer thanked Mr. Hudson for addressing the planning commission and looks forward to seeing projects completed in the next few years.
Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization. The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you. To support this important work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org