Hurricane Agnes – 50th Anniversary

Fifty years ago this month, Hurricane Agnes made landfall affecting communities on the U.S. East Coast from the Caribbean to Canada. One hundred and twenty-eight (128) people died from Hurricane Agnes. At the time it was the costliest hurricane to hit the U.S. with an estimated 2.1 billion dollars (1972 dollars) in damages. Because the hurricane was so devastating, the name Agnes was retired from the list of hurricane names. Agnes was the first named storm of the 1972 hurricane season. The hurricane made landfall on June 19 in Panama City, Florida. The storm traveled to North Carolina and went back out to sea. On June 22, Agnes made a second landfall near New York City.

Scottsville, VA – Library of Virginia photo

In Virginia, 13 deaths were caused by Agnes including four people in Richmond who drowned when their car plunged into the James River. Across the state at the height of the flooding, over 600 miles of highway were submerged, sewer and water facilities experienced severe damage, 95 houses were destroyed and 4,393 houses were damaged, and 205 small businesses were damaged or destroyed. Over 125 million dollars (1972 dollars) in damages was reported in the State.

Route 130, Glasgow, VA – Library of Virginia photo

Hurricane Agnes also made her presence felt in the Central Shenandoah Region as well. Waynesboro was one of the hardest hit areas with both its downtown and Club Court areas evacuated. In Rockbridge County, Buena Vista and Glasgow received flooding. Fifty families were evacuated in Glasgow. Buena Vista was prepared for Agnes with a new Emergency Evacuation and Warning Plan created after Hurricane Camille hit the area in 1969. Because of past experiences with Hurricane Camille still fresh in everyone’s memories, residents in the Region were vigilant as Agnes approached.

Timberville Approves ARPA-funded Projects

WHSV3: May 13, 2022 | The Town Council of Timberville approved the use of a portion of its $1.78 million in ARPA funds for a number of projects. Projects include a remodeling of the Timberville Police Department, upgrades to American Legion Park, and water infrastructure improvements.

May is Bike Month

During the month of May, the CSPDC and our RideShare commuter assistance program are celebrating Bike Month! Throughout the month, we’re promoting the benefits of incorporating bicycling into your daily commute. The week of May 16th is Bike Week, and Friday, May 20th is Bike to Work Day. RideShare staff will be visiting bike shops throughout our region on Saturdays in May to talk with riders about bike commute benefits.

Biking to work instead of driving has great benefits for your health, and the planet. It also reduces congestion on our roads. Many communities in our region have bike trails for recreation, and bike lanes for safe biking to work, school, or errands.

Now is a great time to try your new commute – During the month of May, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transit (DRPT) is hosting a contest and prize drawing for commuters who log their bike-to-work trip. Each trip logged increases your chances of winning a $100 gift card. To sign-up and start logging trips today, visit and download the RideShare app. You can also find bike safety tips, bike laws, and other biking information at

In addition to promoting biking to work, the RideShare program promotes other environmentally sustainable alternatives to your typical commute. RideShare offers carpool matching services, vanpool coordination, and resources to get you connected to local transit options.

Safe Streets for All Grant Provides Transportation Safety Funding for Localities

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), now referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), was approved by Congress in November 2021 and provides $1.2 trillion in infrastructure funding over five years. BIL includes $550 million in new transportation funding, and establishes more than a dozen new transportation grant funding programs.

In May, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released details for the new Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) program that provides $5-6 billion in grants over the next five years for MPOs and localities to prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries. The funding covers comprehensive safety studies, and also buildable projects ranging from smaller projects such as pedestrian lighting to larger intersection improvements such as roundabouts.

Learn more by watching an informational webinar recording about SS4A, and subscribe to email updates to be notified when additional information is available for the SS4A program. Visit the BIL website to stay up-to-date on all of the funding programs as they are announced.


Draft FY 2023 Six Year Improvement Program (SYIP) Available

The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) has published the draft FY23 SYIP. The SYIP documents all transportation projects (roadway, transit, bike/pedestrian) that will be funded in the next six years in Virginia. Residents and localities in our region had an opportunity to review the projects in the draft SYIP, and provide comments to the Secretary of Transportation, our Staunton District CTB representative, VDOT and DRPT staff on Monday, May 2nd at Blue Ridge Community College. Localities in our region will receive funding through multiple funding programs for paving, bike and pedestrian, safety, and transit projects in the FY23 SYIP. The CTB will approve the FY23 SYIP at the June 22, 2022 meeting.

Localities Selected to Participate in Work from Home Pilot Program

This April, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) launched a Work from Home Pilot Program and selected three localities in the Central Shenandoah Region to participate: Buena Vista, Harrisonburg, and Highland County. (DHCD also selected the Town of Luray and Marion.) Through the Pilot Program, the National Main Street Center and Virginia Main Street will provide technical assistance to assess remote work and residential attraction as a community revitalization strategy. The program kicks off this May and will result in place-based recommendations and a feasibility report.

COVID-19 accelerated remote work trends and enabled many to relocate and telework. DHCD’s Work from Home Pilot Program will help localities pursue, prepare for, or respond to remote work migration. At a regional level, remote work has been discussed in terms of COVID-19 recovery and economic development.  The CSPDC’s COVID-19 Economic Impact Report, prepared by Chmura Analytics, includes a remote work analysis, and information on telework plans, remote work trends, and broadband.  More remote work resources are available on the CSPDC’s COVID-19 Recovery Webpage.

New Statewide Broadband Mapping Tool Unveiled

The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) recently revealed the statewide broadband mapping tool, ‘Commonwealth Connection’. This online tool developed by DHCD and Virginia Tech allows users to view broadband coverage in their area, filter the data by speed and technology type, find vertical assets and public WiFi hotspots, and conduct speed tests. The information is based on information submitted by internet service providers (ISPs) in Virginia and can be compared with FCC’s broadband coverage data. View this new mapping tool here.

CSPDC Staff to Present on Housing Programs at Shenandoah Valley Partnership Spring Forum

The Shenandoah Valley Partnership (SVP) will be hosting a Spring Economic Development Forum on Friday, May 20th from 9am-11am at Blue Ridge Community College’s Bettie Plecker Center. The meeting will center around housing challenges and opportunities in the Shenandoah Valley. Developers, local officials, housing providers, realtors, builders, and economic developers around the region are invited to attend.

CSPDC staff will be attending the event and will provide a brief presentation on the PDC’s housing programs and initiatives, including the PDC Housing Development Program, which provides affordable housing gap funds to regional housing developers, the upcoming Regional Housing Study, and the HOME Down Payment Assistance program. Local government representatives will present on policy changes they are implementing to provide expanded housing choices as well as the housing-related challenges they are facing. Additionally, SVP has invited experts from across the state, including representatives from Virginia Housing, to speak to the future of housing in the Shenandoah Valley.