The Town of Vinton is conducting a Route 24 Bike/Pedestrian Study and asking citizens to participate in an online survey to identify areas of focus.
The town won a grant for consultant assistance to create a Multimodal Access and Improvement Study for the heart of Vinton–the area between Route 24, East Washington Avenue, and South Pollard Street.
This area includes highly variable land uses from walkable downtown blocks to neighborhoods and highway commercial. Route 24 is an important route, not only to the Town of Vinton, but as an important commuter link in the greater Roanoke area, and the project area includes parts of four designated Urban Development Areas.
This plan will build on the Roanoke Valley Alleghany Regional Commission’s “Major Corridors –Bicycle & Pedestrian Accommodations” Study and will create a list of specific improvements to help make biking and walking in this area safer and more comfortable. The grant comes from the Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment’s (OIPI) Growth & Accessibility Planning Technical Assistance Program.
Increased multimodal access improving accessibility, safety, and efficiency can create a more cohesive area that helps to achieve local goals for community services and economic development. The plan will ultimately provide local decision-makers with a detailed guide to next steps for the corridor.
Safety is of the ultimate concern since data shows that between 2008 and 2017 pedestrian deaths increased by 35.4% while auto deaths declined. The economy also plays a role in studies such as these since the bicycle industry in the United States contributes $133 billion towards the U.S. economy.
Completing the survey is simple and somewhat unique in that it allows individuals to utilize an interactive map to place points within a designated area of the town to identify the areas for improvements–and also those of safety concern. Participants are able to drag markers to particular areas they choose and leave comments that will help plan for the future.
Planning and Zoning Assistant Director Nathan McClung says that responses to the survey will help craft a plan for improvements to be funded both near-term and in the future when funding becomes available.
During the course of the year-long survey, the consultants and town staff will review existing land use and transportation plans and inventory existing and planned facilities in or affecting the project area.
The team will seek input from local property owners, business owners, residents, and other local stakeholders to establish a consensus on what is needed. A local steering committee and a technical committee will be organized to guide the project and choose areas of focus.
Public meetings will be held, in-person and online, to allow input from stakeholders. The first was held on October 4 at the Vinton War Memorial.
A toolkit of bicycle and pedestrian facility options will be developed. The bicycle toolkit options to be studied include shared lane markings for bikes and motor vehicles, separate bike lanes, buffered bike lanes to separate bicycles and motor vehicles, and shared use paths along roadways for bikes and pedestrians.
Pedestrian toolkit options will include crosswalks, in-street pedestrian warnings, rapidly flashing beacons, curb extensions, pedestrian refuges within the crosswalk, HAWK Beacons which stop traffic when pedestrians are present, and wide sidewalks.
The team will use experienced transportation planners and engineers to provide cost estimates and help the town budget for capital projects and/or seek outside funding to enhance the Route 24 corridor.
Priorities will be established to maximize safe and efficient bicycle and pedestrian connectivity while minimizing costs and complex construction. To help select the most advantageous projects, the consultant team will work with the steering committees to develop criteria for ranking and promoting select projects. Criteria may include financial feasibility, engineering feasibility, cost-benefit position, duration of construction disruption, need for right-of-way acquisition, or other measures.
To participate in the survey, visit https://eprpc.mysocialpinpoint.com/vinton-multimodal-plan#/ by October 31.