The Southside Planning District Commission (SPDC) provides transportation planning assistance to the three counties and twelve towns located in the region. Planning activities are guided by the SPDC's Transportation Technical Advisory Committee, composed of local representatives, VDOT officials and Commission staff.
RURAL TRANSPORTATION PLANNING WORK PROGRAM
Each year a Rural Transportation Planning Work Program is adopted by the Planning District Commission, which identifies numerous transportation projects and other technical assistance to be provided. Examples of past and on-going work include: Regional Long Range Transportation Plan; Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Plans; Prepare and Assist with Transportation Grants; Assistance with Transportation Elements in Comprehensive Plans; and Utilization of GIS and GPS Equipment for Transportation Related Projects.
2035 REGIONAL LONG RANGE TRANSPORTATION PLAN
Adopted in 2011, the Regional Long Range Transportation Plan (RLRTP) was the result of a partnership between VDOT and the SPDC to evaluate the rural transportation system in the region and to recommend a range of improvements that would best satisfy existing and future transportation needs. The plan was ultimately incorporated into Virginia's 2035 State Highway Plan which identifies needs and recommends solutions for the Commonwealth's interstate and primary highway systems.
2045 REGIONAL LONG RANGE TRANSPORTATION PLAN
Planning efforts are underway on the 2045 Regional Long Transportation Plan, which will replace the 2035 version of the same plan. While the plan will include updates relating to demographics, land use, transportation goals, and numerous inventories related to the region's transportation network, the most notable sections of the new plan will be transportation recommendations based on the results of a priorization matrix and also the inclusion of vision projects. The prioritization matrix (an Excel spreadsheet that scores each recommended improvement) is used to identify those transportation projects throughout the region that are best positioned to receive support and funding during future grant cycles, most notably the Virginia Department of Transportation's Smart Scale program. The prioritized recommendations are mapped according to their ranking and a brief overview is provided. Vision projects represent those transportation projects deemed important by local jurisdictions but lack the necessary data points to be fairly scored by the prioritizaton matrix. Common examples include new roadways, roadways with insufficient data, sidewalks, and multi-use trails.
The 2045 RLRTP is currently in draft format and has been provided to the Virginia Department of Transportation and officials associated with the fifteen local governments within the Southside Planning District for their review and comments. A public meeting will be held in the coming weeks to offer the community an opportunity to provide input and learn more about the various components included in the plan.
BICYCLE, PEDESTRIAN AND TRAIL PLANS
Currently there are two plans that address bicycle, pedestrian and trail planning in the region. They include: Halifax County Trails, Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan (2004) and the Lake Country Bicycle, Pedestrian & Trails Plan (2007). Both plans set forth goals and strategies to continue in the development of a network of on-road bicycle and off-road shared use recreational trails within Brunswick, Halifax and Mecklenburg counties. The bicycle and trails system has been designed to maximize the region's rich history and natural assets, take advantage of old abandoned railroad lines, and identify ways to increase the awareness of, and safety issues regarding, "sharing the road" with bicycles and other non-motorized modes of transportation.
SPDC staff are in the early stages of preparing to update and consolidate the two existing bicycle, pedestrian and trails plans into on comprehensive regional plan. More information on this update will be posted as it becomes available.