Posted May 29 at 5:02 PM
On Tuesday, May 28 around 11:30 pm, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a pick up truck along the 2700 block of Roanoke Street. This is the same area that some elected officials said "no one ever" walks along. Even though both sides of Roanoke Street, from town hall to town limits, have residential neighborhoods abutting a long commercial corridor. Thankfully, Community Development Block Grant "entitlement funds" (based upon US Census demographics) are now being used to upgrade and extend some sidewalks closer to town hall. Now if we could just get drivers to adhere to the posted speed limits and some well marked crosswalks at strategic locations, maybe everyone would be a bit safer. Some businesses might actually see more walk-in customers or be more accessible for employees. Walking against traffic and carrying a flashlight or wearing light colored clothing could help with safety, in the meantime.
Posted May 26 at 2:05 PM
Blacksburg, Christiansburg and Radford is collectively part of a broader regional area, one that extends widely throughout the New River Valley while bumping up to another known as the Roanoke Valley.
Did the NRV Metropolitan Planning Organization - funded in part by numerous local governments through tax dollars - take a shot at transportation grants which would expand and connect bike trails or greenways? Roanoke did, and it is shaving decades off planned construction.
There are many active cycling organizations already established in the NRV and several greenways - Pulaski's Dora Trail linking with the New River Trail, Blacksburg and Radford's bike route system, as examples. Yet these routes are not interconnected - meaning riders typically have to go by car to get to trailheads, or literally risk life and limb sharing roads that have no clean right-shoulders.
Christiansburg is still car-centric, lacking connections and absent bike lanes (except at the entrance to the town's aquatic center, and only because it was mandated to access the transportation funding needed to build that road).
Roanoke leaders declaring greenway expansions will polish "economic development initiatives, support the branding of the region as a destination and underscores an emphasis on wellness and exercise" could have just as easily come from the mayor's office in Christiansburg, Radford, Blacksburg or Pulaski, based on each locality's individual vision statements, comprehensive plans or budgeting where tax dollars currently go to support parks and recreation.
Will the NRV have to wait decades - generations - to catch up? Or will the grants continue to go elsewhere, along with diverse economic development? The NRV has equal access to these funds, if applied for, as well as national forests, mountains and rivers.