Showing posts with label Virginia Department of Transportation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Virginia Department of Transportation. Show all posts

Friday, September 11, 2015

Governor McAuliffe Announces Technology Award Winners

~ Improvements in service delivery, efficiency by state and local governments, universities cited ~

RICHMOND - The annual Governor’s Technology Awards were presented to honorees in nine categories at a special ceremony at the Commonwealth of Virginia Innovative Technology Symposium (COVITS) in Richmond on Sept. 9. On behalf of Governor Terry McAuliffe, Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson presented the awards to a distinguished group of Virginia government entrants, including state and local government and universities. 

“I want to congratulate the winners of these awards,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Building a new Virginia economy requires the ability to innovate and find ways to increase efficiency in government. The future is bright for the Commonwealth as these talented groups continue to use technology to make government more efficient, less expensive and more responsive to taxpayers.”
Winners were determined by a panel of government information technology (IT) experts. For 18 years, the Governor’s Technology Awards program has recognized public sector IT projects that have improved government service delivery and efficiency.

Multiple awards were presented in several categories because of the extremely close scores between projects. Executive summaries of each winner’s entries are posted on the COVITS website,, to provide inspiration and best practice examples to peers and partners.

The 2015 Virginia Governor’s Technology Awards winners, by category:


·         Electronic Death Registration System
Virginia Department of Health


·         Real Estate Property Report App 
Roanoke County         

·         Charlottesville Area Transit Mobile App
City of Charlottesville


·         The C.A.R.E. Application
Virginia State Corporate Commission

·         Transportation Network Company Registration
Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles

·         GIS-centric Development Management System
Prince William County

·         E-GIFT
Virginia Department of Health


·         Cloud Technology Partnership for Economic Development 
Chesterfield County


·         BeneVets Automated Claims Application 
Virginia Department of Veterans Services


·         Fire Department Tablet Project 
City of Lynchburg

·         CAD to CAD 
York-Poquoson-Williamsburg Regional 9-1-1 Center
James City 9-1-1 Center


·         The Geospatial Semester
James Madison University

·         Frictionless High Speed Research Network
Virginia Commonwealth University


·         OneSource Data Warehouse 
Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services

·         Public Safety Operational Data Storage (PODS)
Chesterfield County


·         Open Data Portal
City of Richmond


·         Citizen Portal 
City of Newport News

·         Virginia Law Portal
Division of Legislative Automated Systems

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Governor McAuliffe Signs Agreement on Expanding Public Access to State Waters

The MOU enhances the partnership among three state agencies to increase access to public waters

RICHMOND — Governor Terry McAuliffe today signed a memorandum of understanding that solidifies Virginia’s commitment to enhancing recreational water access throughout the Commonwealth.

The MOU, signed in a public ceremony at Gloucester Point Beach Park on the York River, directs three state agencies to work together to identify new potential public-access projects, particularly at bridge crossings and roads.

“Expanding public access to state waters is a concrete step we can take to help Virginians and visitors enjoy outdoor recreation here in our great Commonwealth,”said Governor McAuliffe. “Water-based recreation encourages physical activity and appreciation for Virginia’s natural resources and it is an important driver of our tourism sector and with it, the new Virginia economy.”

The MOU formalizes the process by which the agencies will work together on new access projects.

Specifically, the MOU states:
·         DCR, DGIF and VDOT representatives will meet at least annually to review bridge, road or ferry project sites for the potential to offer public access to state waters.
·         DCR or DGIF will seek comments from adjacent property owners, local governments and other stakeholders for proposed access projects.
·         VDOT will stabilize or leave in place any access roads or staging areas within its right of way that could be useful for the development of access projects.

Gloucester Point Beach Park was selected for the signing because all three agencies worked with Gloucester County to create public access to the river there.

New or enhanced access points for public recreational use can qualify as Virginia Treasures through the governor’s new initiative. The goal is to designate 1,000 treasures during the McAuliffe administration.

For more than 15 years, the Virginia Outdoors Demand Survey has ranked public access to state waters for recreation as one of the top 10 outdoor recreation needs in the state. The survey is administered widely to a cross-section of Virginia residents. To learn about the survey, visit

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Governor McAuliffe Announces Improvements to Commonwealth Hurricane Preparedness

English: Hurricane evacuation route sign in th...
English: Hurricane evacuation route sign in the USA  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hurricane evacuation timeline adjusted to allow officials more time to make decisions and carry out emergency plans

RICHMOND, Va. – Governor Terry McAuliffe released a report today outlining improvements to Virginia’s hurricane preparedness plan, including an adjustment to the evacuation decision-making timeline. The hurricane in-season review, led by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the Virginia Department of Transportation, focused on five critical areas: coordination and information-sharing between state and local emergency officials, evacuation of impacted areas, sheltering evacuees, assistance to those with access and functional needs or without transportation, and communicating with the public. 

“Building a New Virginia Economy begins with having the plan and the infrastructure in place to keep our families, communities and businesses safe in an emergency like a hurricane,” said Governor McAuliffe. “This review demonstrates that we have many strengths when it comes to hurricane preparedness, but also a number of challenges that we must meet head on.

“My administration will enact the recommendations of this report to strengthen our response plan so that we can get localities, first responders and Virginia families the tools they need to respond to an emergency and get back to their lives as soon as possible.”

The revised hurricane evacuation decision-making timeline includes the following key actions prior to the onset of tropical storm force winds (39-73 mph):
·       -96 hours – Initiate deployment of state resources for evacuation activities
·       -72 hours – Recommend first call by the governor with chief local elected officials concerning evacuation plans and activities (previously occurred at the -48 hour mark)
·       -48 hours – Recommend start of mandatory evacuation for a Category 3 hurricane (previously occurred at the -38 hours mark)

“While this change may provide up to an additional 12 hours for deciding evacuation issues, it depends on a clearly defined storm track and intensity analysis several days before landfall,” said Virginia Department of Emergency Management State Coordinator Jeff Stern. “Last July, Hurricane Arthur rapidly increased from a tropical storm to a Category 2 hurricane only 14 hours prior to landfall in North Carolina, which would have left little time to evacuate a large coastal population like Hampton Roads prior to the storm’s arrival if one had been needed.”

Last May, the Governor directed cabinet secretaries and state agencies responsible for carrying out a hurricane evacuation to work with their local and federal partners to identify potential short- and long-term improvements to existing plans. The following are some of the key findings of the in-season review:

·       Coordination and information-sharing between state and local emergency officials has been inconsistent. Identified areas for improvement include standardization of conference calls, use of technology for information exchange, deployment of liaison officers in local emergency operations centers and continued development of a regional approach to disasters in Hampton Roads.
·       A mass evacuation of Hampton Roads may not be necessary if areas at risk are prioritized and communicated to the public early. This allows those in higher-risk areas enough time to get to a safe location.
·       Virginia and the Hampton Roads region should emphasize focused evacuations. New information technology will enable better planning for the most critical areas.
·       The reversal of lanes on Interstate 64 is an evacuation tool of last resort and is reserved for the most catastrophic storms.
·       Future transportation projects should consider capacity improvements to facilitate evacuations.
·       Additional shelter capacity is needed for those seeking refuge within the Hampton Roads region that is capable of withstanding storm winds.
·       Building codes have not adequately addressed the requirements for storm wind protection.
·       Plans are in place to contract with bus services to evacuate individuals with access and functional needs and those without transportation, but these efforts are fragmented between different jurisdictions and levels of government.
·       Progress has been made to communicate regional preparedness information to the public through Ready Hampton Roads, but a more robust public messaging effort will be needed as changes are made to evacuation planning and sheltering, and also when communicating with summer tourists.
·       Future state exercises should focus on how local, state and federal partners respond after the disaster; addressing issues such as intermediate and long-term housing, economic recovery, infrastructure rebuilding and communications.

A full copy of the in-season hurricane review report can be found at

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Governor McAuliffe Launches Inaugural Commonwealth Datathon

English: Logo for the Virginia Department of C...
English: Logo for the Virginia Department of Corrections (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 ~ Teams from Virginia’s agencies will compete over 48 hours to create new and innovative applications ~

RICHMOND– Governor Terry McAuliffe today launched the first ever Commonwealth Datathon Challenge, a competition pitting teams from Virginia agencies against one another as they create new applications that streamline government, better serve citizens, and jumpstart business opportunities.  From August 21st to 22nd, agency teams will assemble at the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond  to build apps from scratch that make use of Commonwealth data that is publicly available

Speaking on the first of its kind event, Governor McAuliffe said: “Now, more than ever, it is critical that we work together to build a new Virginia economy. And we can’t have an innovative economy without an innovative government. That’s why I’m starting right here with my own administration. For the next 48 hours, I’m challenging our agencies to think outside the box and push both the technology we use and their own creativity to the limits. Getting all these folks in a room together and asking them to build something new will encourage better collaboration within our government, foster a culture of inventiveness, and prove that Virginia is the number one place for fresh ideas and entrepreneurial spirit.”

Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson took the opportunity to expand the challenge to the general public: “The data our agencies will be using to build their apps is open to the public through our So if you’re a developer or entrepreneur and think you can make something even better that uses our data, we want to hear about it!”

Virginia agencies participating in this week’s Datathon include Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control, Virginia Department of Corrections, Virginia Information Technologies Agency, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

After completing the bulk of their work from August 21st to August 22nd, agency teams will deliver final project presentations during a special session held at the Commonwealth of Virginia Innovative Technology Symposium (COVITS) on September 3rd in Richmond. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to vote for a Crowd Favorite Award while a panel of judges from both state government and the private sector will deliver a Judges’ Choice Award to the most outstanding agency team.

More information can be accessed at the Commonwealth’s data portal     

Friday, August 1, 2014

Gloucester, VA Ernest Lane Gate?

Ernest Lane is scheduled for road pavement, at least this is the present plan as shown in the recent agenda before the Board of Supervisors for this coming Tuesday night, August 5th, 2014.  At present Ernest Lane is for the most part a dirt road.  So why is this road of concern that it should be considered for pavement?  Well we decided to find out and what we have uncovered is rather interesting.  It looks like the taxpayers are once again being asked to fund a project that will only benefit a few at the expense of the many.

  Above is a Google Maps picture of Ernest Lane.  How old it is we have no idea.  We will be going out to the area very soon to take updated pictures to show you other information we have found in our research.  But in the mean time, let's take a look at the actual information found in the Board of Supervisor's agenda for August 5th, 2014.

Gloucester. VA Earnest Lane VDOT Project Information, 2014 from Chuck Thompson

Another area of interest in the above?  It is stated that everyone of concern in the area has been notified of this information.  Well when we checked with just one resident who will be affected by this, he knew nothing about it in any way.  But he does now thanks to the question.

Look at paragraph 2 above.  WHEREAS, any such road must be located in a low-density development area and have no more than 1500 VDP;

Okay, what the heck is VDP?  We tried to look up VDP and found 169 acronyms.  The closest thing we could find for what it might mean is Variety Development Project.  Trying to identify what that means?  Unidentified category is what came back.  So in other words it pretty much means nothing except whatever the folks using it want it to mean.

  Either way, this is a VDOT project which means that all taxpayers in the state are paying for this.  Not just local taxpayers.  But should the taxpayers be funding this?  We have to ask that question based on other statements in the above agenda document and what our findings have shown.

  On the south side of Earnest lane, but not fronting Ernest Lane is Bedford Falls development managed by Epstein Corporation of Yorktown, Virginia.  Now who is the Epstein Corporation?  Well with research on that information, what we were able to come up with, they have ties to some local folks, specifically Breckenridge Ingles as well as Adrian Rider Cook.  The same folks who are behind the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust with whom Ashley Chriscoe, Board of Supervisor, Gloucester County, happens to sit on the board at the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust with Mr Ingles.  Isn't that just some interesting coincidences?

  Why is that even important?  Well, when you look at some of the development plans for the Bedford Falls real estate development, they have in their plans to put a road from Bedford Falls to Ernest Lane.

Now the above map comes straight from Gloucester County's website and is a tax map.  Take a look at the road already named, Songbird Path.  Now let's once again go back to the document above that is part of the agenda for the Board of Supervisors and look at a statement on there.  It clearly states on the document that the Board of Supervisors are unaware of any pending development that will significantly affect "EXISTING" traffic on this road.  Really?  No one looked at this tax map or is it that no one expected anyone else to look at this tax map?

  Here is how this game is played folks.  Go back to the picture at the top or look at the one now below.

  In the highlighted yellow section above, Songbird Path is just waiting to be built which the plans above show will lead right out to Ernest Lane which WILL significantly affect present road traffic.  It gives the developers a second path in and out of Bedford Falls.  This would increase the value to those who live there as well as increase the value of the homes to be sold in this development.  Now if the folks at Epstein Corp had already built Songbird Path, then it would be up to the developers to pave Ernest Lane.  But since they have not yet built that road and it's only pending, then all the developers have to do is wait until VDOT paves it at taxpayer expense and it's an automatic profits increase to Epstein Corp because now they will not have to pave that road and now get the extra profits from increased values all at your expense.

  Isn't that a nice plan?  Again, you have to love all the wording in the above agenda.  It's very very slick and they can claim it means whatever they want it to mean.  The VDP of 1500 can mean 1,500 residences as a low-density term.  So what is high density then? 1,501?  Oh but it gets better folks.  Let's now look at some of the tax information we came across as we were researching all of this.

Can someone please to explain to us how 8.8 acres in this area is only worth a lousy $100.00?  We would like to offer them a chance to triple their money.  We will gladly pay them $300.00 for this 8.8 acre parcel of land.  Right now that is a wooded area right to the left hand side of where Songbird Path is planned for development.  But is this just a mistake?  No, there are more just like this.

Here is another parcel only worth a mere $100.00.  Now why are these folks not paying the proper taxes on this land the same as others have to?  Why are the local taxpayers having to pay extra because these folks are not paying their share?

Now this area has not yet been subdivided and is where the circle presently is and where Songbird Path will move in and out from.  This area is presently at a value of $133, 000.00.  Once subdivided for more houses, it will go up much more.

Another area only worth a lousy $100.00 for 3.27 acres?  Are they kidding?  Who comes up with these values?

Now let's look across the street at county owned property, (questionable as to real ownership and to be covered in a future article) and look at what the county has values set for county property.

Now isn't the above just interesting?  1.41 acres valued at $55,000.00 and another .5 acres valued at $58,000.00.  Where the county got these properties is going to be covered very heavily in the near future.  In the mean time, it really does not matter what the county values any property it owns as it does not pay taxes on it anyway but the point is about why the county values land in the area so high except in the development area is valued so low.  Anyone ever see the prices of the houses in Bedford Falls?  They start at $230,000.00 at the lowest end.

Now here is a GIS map from Gloucester County's own information.  One can clearly see that there is going to be a road put in named Songbird Path which will in fact significantly impact present traffic on Ernest Lane.  Just look at all those houses already planned out.  We can only imagine that there is another set of plans that will later be filed to add houses to Shyan Way circle above as well as Songbird Path.  Why would any developer waste so much land that can be developed?  Might it take the project well beyond or just beyond the meaning for rural development and no expectation of planned development that will change present traffic?  Well we already know that is BS based on what we see and in our own opinion.

  Now some questions.  Did Ashley Chriscoe, on behalf of his ties to Mr Ingles, put in the request for this rural development project here on Ernest Lane as it will benefit Bedford Falls and the profits of the Epstein Corporation?  Will Ashley Chriscoe somehow get business out of this that could make this a conflict of interest?  With Ashley Chriscoe's ties to sitting on the Board of the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust with Mr Ingles in itself be a conflict of interest if Mr Chriscoe was in fact the one who made such request?  We do not know.  We are only asking the obvious tough questions and we think everyone should be asking these questions.

Here is yet another GIS map showing Bedford Falls and how it will impact Ernest Lane.

Now does anyone have any questions as to the potential impact on Ernest Lane from Bedford Falls?   Would anyone say this qualifies for low density?

Now, looking at the website for Bedford Falls, which most of it is still under construction, (Lousy web developers?) shows that Shyan Way will have houses on it.  Not shown in the GIS maps above.

The above picture is used under Federal Fair Use laws and comes off the Bedford Falls website.  So it looks like we were right about a part of this not having been filed yet with the county or the county has not put up those filings yet in regards to houses on Shyan Way circle.  Again, just look above.  Visit the Bedford Falls website.

Interesting to say the least.

Last minute update.  VPD not VDP is Vehicles Per Day and is a transportation term.  So the 1,500 Vehicles Per Day is what is being defined as low density for this project.  Well under those terms, we would agree that it will remain low density, but we still have to ask the question, why the expense to the taxpayers instead of the expense to the developer when it's the development that will benefit the most?