AoB Welcomes AVL’s First Bike Corral w/ City of Asheville & NCDOT

Haywoodbikecorralsuletalks

Over the last year, The City of Asheville, North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), West Asheville Business Association (WABA), and AoB partnered to explore the option of providing a bicycle corral somewhere along the Haywood corridor. A bicycle corral is a series of on-street bicycle racks that can provide parking for fifteen or more bicycles.  

In the summer of 2014 AoB’s director, Mike Sule and Barb Mee, the city’s pedestrian and bicycle coordinator, presented the concept of a bike corral to WABA since Haywood Rd has some of the highest bicycle counts in city. “Following the presentation, everyone supported the addition of a  bike corral. Frankly, I was a little taken back that the entire room was ready to move forward with the corral. Generally, there are a few skeptics. It just goes to show, there is  tremendous support for advancing active transportation throughout the business community,” says Sule.

Once WABA had endorsed the corral, the city was required to secure an encroachment agreement from NCDOT because Haywood Rd is an NCDOT maintained highway. “NCDOT was pleased to have worked collaboratively with the community on the bike corral project, we understand that this is a project of local importance. We were pleased to provide the encroachment agreement,” states Kristina Solberg, NCDOT Division 13 Planning Engineer.   

“NCDOT, Asheville’s transportation department, and the business community were incredible to work with. Each agency understood the value and worked diligently to respond to the need. The bike corral is a clear example that Asheville is a community that knows how to work well together. I appreciate the spirit of cooperation and inclusion throughout this project. I’m also ready to celebrate,” says Sule

First day on the job & a full house.

First day on the job & a full house.

Vice-Mayor Gwen Wisler, who is a bike commuter, herself, and has been active in Asheville’s cycling advocacy will serve as the city’s dignitary at the ribbon cutting. We are excited for the addition of our first on-street bike corral – installing multimodal infrastructure like this is one is a step toward meeting Council’s vision of a well-planned and livable community, and of transportation and accessibility. The City is also thrilled to have business support of this project,” states Wisler.

On Thursday, April 28th the community is welcome to participate in the ribbon cutting to welcome Asheville’s first bicycle corral. The event begins at 6pm. Representatives from each of the partnering organizations will say a few words at the ribbon cutting.

Following the ceremony, Westville Pub welcomes all to continue the celebration with music by DJ Jut Rut and a portion of New Belgium Brewing and Catawba Brewing Co. sales dedicated to support Asheville on Bikes.

Haywood Corral Ribbon Cutting:

6pm – 6:30pm     Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

6:30 – 8:00pm     Westville Pub Bike Corral Celebration

Haywood Rd Ribbon Cutting Event 

Asheville Citizen Times covers bike corral ribbon cutting.

                                    

AoB Encourages You to Support the Beaucatcher Greenway

beaugreen

photo credit: AshevilleGreenways.com

The City of Asheville is currently taking public comment on the proposed Beaucatcher greenway and community input is essential to the success of this project. There is no guarantee that there are enough votes on city council to approve this plan. If you support expanding

Approx. location of greenway, relative to downtown along Beaucatcher ridge.

Approx. location of greenway, relative to downtown along Beaucatcher ridge.

Asheville’s greenway system along the Beaucatcher ridge, please be sure to voice your support through Open City Hall,  the city’s online public input platform before Sunday, April 3rd.

AoB director, Mike Sule, sent the following letter to city council and encourages supports to reference AoB’s support for the Beaucatcher greenway.


Asheville City Council
70 Court Plaza
Asheville, NC 28801

Asheville on Bikes (AoB) supports approval and construction of the Beaucatcher greenway because: greenways are a valuable public asset, our community has demonstrated overwhelming public support for their expansion, and this project helps our city achieve the goals established in Asheville City Council’s 2036 Vision.  On Tuesday, April 12th you’ll have the opportunity to advance our community’s investment in greenways. On behalf of Asheville on Bikes, I encourage you to approve the Beaucatcher greenway.

A small number of individuals have criticized the Beaucatcher greenway for not providing essential transportation connectivity to goods and services. These people have argued that the funds for Beaucatcher greenway should be invested in other more critical projects. However, the TDA funds for this greenway are dedicated solely for this project: We either use these funds or lose them.  Additionally, many on city council have advocated for TDA funds to be invested in Asheville’s infrastructure. What message does it send if city council refuses the money for expanding our greenways? This is an opportunity to build momentum through a project that increases our citizens’ access to greenways, increases quality of life, and promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Furthermore, a greenway that rolls through the natural world and connects to a park is just as valuable as one that connects to goods and services. Transportation systems should connect people to beautiful settings.  Our greenway system needs to reflect the values of sustainability by connecting people to both services and the natural world. To pit one against the other is to misunderstand the value of greenways.

It’s sometimes easy to forget the costs associated with accessing the natural world. It’s expensive. Unless you’re a very fit hiker or cyclist,  access to Bent Creek, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the majority of other trails and parks requires an automobile. Despite our city’s location, many in our community have very limited access to the natural world. The Beaucatcher greenway opens up new possibilities for our citizens to experience nature and engage in healthy lifestyle habits.

I encourage all members of city council to review Asheville City Council’s 2036 Vision and consider the positive impacts of Beaucatcher greenway on our community. If council is committed to advancing the 2036 Vision it should recognize  that the Beaucatcher greenway promotes the following elements of the 2036 vision:

  1. A DIVERSE COMMUNITY, by providing access to healthy transportation and the opportunity for all people to participate in the natural world.
  2. A WELL-PLANNED AND LIVABLE COMMUNITY, by increasing the abundance of open spaces, parks and greenways.
  3. TRANSPORTATION AND ACCESSIBILITY, by providing  greenways and bike facilities to get people where they want to go safely and keep them active and healthy.   

Let’s continue to work together to build a greenway system that moves all kinds of people to a variety of destinations.

Respectfully,

Mike Sule
Asheville on Bikes

HOW CAN I HELP?

You can respond by either supporting Asheville on Bikes’ letter of support or you can include your own comments, here.
CLICK TO DOWNLOAD THIS LETTER

Additionally, you can contact your council representatives directly and/or sign the petition in support of Beaucatcher greenway.

Asheville City Council can be reached:
Mayor Esther E. Manheimer – esthermanheimer@avlcouncil.com
Vice Mayor Gwen Wisler – gwenwisler@avlcouncil.com
Councilman Cecil Bothwell – cecil@braveulysses.com
Councilman Brian Haynes – brianhaynes@avlcouncil.com
Councilwoman Julie Mayfield – juliemayfield@avlcouncil.com
Councilman Gordon Smith – gordonsmith@avlcouncil.com
Councilman Keith Young – keithyoung@avlcouncil.com

Path of proposed greenway, running from Memorial Stadium, above McCormick Field, through Beaucatcher Overlook Park and ending near Helen's Bridge and Beaumont St.

Path of proposed greenway, running from Memorial Stadium, above McCormick Field, through Beaucatcher Overlook Park and ending near Helen’s Bridge and Beaumont St.

10th Anniversary of Bike of the Irish

Bike of Irish

On Sunday, March 20th, the 10th annual Bike of the Irish rolls through the streets of Asheville and culminates at Kolo Bike Park located on the Crowne Plaza Resort.

Each spring, the Asheville on Bikes community celebrates the return of spring with an its annual festive ride. Participants decorate themselves and their bikes in green as they ride the city.

The event is free and open to the public, but AoB does ask that you consider making a donation to the organization, renew a membership, or purchase a few tickets to the raffle. Membership, donations, and raffle tickets can be purchased in advance through AoB’s Eventbrite page.

This year’s route is eight miles, includes five hundred feet of climbing, and rolls through downtown, Montford, and West Asheville before ending at Kolo Bike Park. This is a perfect ride to invite the reluctant cyclists in your life as it’s fun, easy paced, and festive.

BikeLove2016Once at Kolo, the festivities will continue with mountain biking, Oskar Blues, food trucks and a chance to win an Chris King wheel set. 100% of all Oskar Blues products sold at Bike of Irish support Asheville on Bikes.

Please consider volunteering for Bike of the Irish as several volunteers are needed. If you’re interested on a volunteer position, simply respond to the Bike of Irish Volunteer Form. There are several times and tasks available. Once your sign-up an AoB agent will contact you with details.  

Join AoB on Sunday, March 20th for the 10th annual Bike of the Irish.

 

Bike of the Irish Details:

1:30pm  – Gather at Packs Park

2:00pm – The ride begins

3:00pm – Culminate at Kolo Bike Park w/ Oskar Blues  

 

BoIRouteThings to Consider:

Review the route before the ride.  

Know the weather before you ride.

Pack an extra layer, a warm afternoon cools quickly.

Spending money is a good idea.

Food trucks will be at Kolo.

A variety of beverages will be available, not just beer.

Cars can be dropped at either Crowne Plaza or Westgate parking lot.

 

 

From the Wreckage Can Come Change

By guest writer Luke Heller, RUSA Organizer

BikeWreckFour randonneuring friends were admitted to Wake Med ED on Saturday 2/20 nearing the end of a 200km ride on quiet country roads East of Raleigh after being plowed down by an inattentive driver. There were no skid marks suggesting that the driver attempted to stop. The four bikes were in a single file paceline in the order of Mike Dayton, Lynn Lashley, Joel Lawrence, and Chris Graham. The cyclists were struck from back to front with Chris taking flight and landing approximately 10 feet from the impact. The injuries sustained by these friends are numerous and gut wrenching.

I had the duty of picking up the mangled bikes from the wrecker service that arrived at the scene the night of the wreck. Seeing the condition of my friend’s bicycles was only the buildup of visiting them in the ICU. Out of respect for my friends, I won’t recount the depth and specifics of each person’s injuries; the road to recovery will undoubtedly be longer for some than others. The NC Randonneuring cycling community and cyclists far and near will be pulling for these tough individuals. It’s hard to rattle a randonneur as they’re known to go out for unsupported long distance rides in the worst of weather. We’re all turning the pedals to carry that spirit on for their recovery.

How to cover yourself:
It is highly unlikely that this driver has adequate insurance to cover even the medical bills one might face after a crash like this. And your own health insurance will step to the front of the line to recover their costs first. If you drive, your own uninsured or under-insured coverage picks up where the driver’s insurance stops – check your policy and ensure you have uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) auto insurance. Non-driving members of your household are also covered by your auto policy. Yes, your own medical insurance will cover medical expenses (at some percentage, and with some out-of-pocket max) and hopefully now, we all have medical insurance. But there is so much not covered by medical insurance. So this is my advice to those of you wondering now what else can you do to protect yourself.

The community has gathered support for these cycling comrades by starting a GoFundMe page to help shoulder the financial burden created by this crash that the driver’s insurance will fall short of. If you’d like to support our friends and their families, you can send a donation of any amount via this Go Fund Me Page.

Next Steps:
This is the head scratcher. What happens next? The driver has been charged with 4 misdemeanor traffic charges for an “accident” that has changed four people’s lives forever. How can we make our roads safer? Where is the accountability? Operating a motor vehicle is not a right, it is a privilege. Yes, the repercussions for such negligence and endangerment seem to be all but absent. Keep turning the pedals for safer roads and for a strong recovery for our cycling comrades.

SafePassing
Driving Tip:
When asked for a cause to her actions, the driver in question said simply “I didn’t know what to do.” When you are behind and preparing to overtake cyclists, treat them as the vehicle that they are.
1 – Slow down, this is sharing the road.
2 – Patiently wait for a passing opportunity. No oncoming traffic and a clear line of sight.
3 – Pass with clearance, using passing lanes, as if passing a car.

Write by 12/29 to Shape Cycling Safety Laws

BikeLanesAlertNCDOT has released a draft report of recommendations for the H232 Bicycle Safety Law Study. The draft report includes recommendations that differ substantially from the recommendations of the H232 committee. For instance, the NCDOT report recommends legislation limiting riding abreast (the committee voted unanimously against such legislation) and recommends legislation requiring bicyclists to ride on the right side of marked travel lane.

The Draft report may be read here: http://www.bikewalknc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/H-232-report.pdf

The Draft Appendices to the report may be read here: http://www.bikewalknc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Appendices_sm.pdf

NCDOT’s page that includes committee meeting minutes is here: http://www.ncdot.gov/bikeped/lawspolicies/

BikeWalk NC and Asheville on Bikes urges cyclists in NC to review the draft report and send NCDOT comments before December 29. Together we recommend that no new legislation be promoted to restrict where a bicyclist may ride within a marked travel lane or riding abreast within a single marked travel lane.

A working group of NCDOT representative and North Carolina officials have compiled the following comments to help inform the NC Legislature on HB 232

Pros
1. Recommend that drivers be able to cross double yellow line when passing a cyclist
2. Mandate a 4 foot clearance when passing a cyclist
3. No requirement for cyclists to carry ID
4. Allow right arm indication of a right turn. Left arm indicator is often misinterpreted.
5. Bicycles would be on par with motorcycles in terms of vulnerability and liability

Cons
1. Maximum of two abreast cyclists under any circumstances, exception is an approved bike race.
2. Requirement for bright clothing
3. Cyclists to ride as far to the right of the right travel lane as possible and safe (There are no current restrictions on where cyclists position themselves, only a best practice recommendation to ride in the area where the right wheel of a motor vehicle would track.)
4. A requirement to obtain local permits for groups of 30 or more
5. No headphones or any other distracting items.

Please email questions and comments to NCDOT (at bwpoole@ncdot.gov) by 5:00 p.m. on December 29, 2015. Include “H232 Comments” in the title. Comments should be addressed to “NCDOT” or to the “Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee.” Email comments will be included as an addendum to the appendix. The final report and appendix will be sent to the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee by December 31, 2015.

Thanks to BikeWalk NC for this information.

AoB Submits Comments on I-26 Connector

Part of Asheville on Bikes’ mission is to provide guidance at a state and local level when transportation planning and bicycle infrastructure intersect. During the public comment period of the proposed Interstate 26 Connector project, we felt a strong responsibility to weigh in — not to endorse any single plan —  to simply make the priorities of our members’ known as it might apply to any proposed plan. With that in mind, Asheville on Bikes submitted the following letter to the NCDOT and the Asheville City Council.

If you feel motivated to submit comments of your own, before the December 16 deadline, feel free to reference any part of the letter below or these “5 KEY POINTS” and give your comments at https://mysidewalk.com/organizations/290199/comment-form

  1. Ensure the preferred alternative is consistent with all relevant local plans. This includes on-street bicycle infrastructure identified in the 2008 City of Asheville Comprehensive Bicycle Plan and greenway corridors in the 2013 Asheville Greenways Master Plan.
  1. Amboy Road should be reduced from a proposed four lanes to two lanes of automobile traffic. This will reduce vehicle speeds and promote the safe movement of bicyclists and pedestrians as they access the French Broad River corridor from their neighborhoods.
  1. The Haywood Road interchange design should incorporate a separated cycle track to safely move bicyclists on this popular road. A separated cycle track will reduce the potential for collisions and is needed because Haywood Road consistently receives the most bicycle traffic of any road in Asheville, as evidenced in the city’s annual bicycle traffic counts.
  1. The West Asheville Greenway should include paved access for pedestrians and bicyclists from all local roads that parallel or dead-end into the greenway corridor. This will allow users to access the greenway without traveling on major roads where safety is a greater concern.
  1. Bicycle lanes should be installed on Patton Avenue east of the Jeff Bowen Bridge to facilitate the safe movement of bicyclists into the downtown area. These bicycle lanes will provide a connection with existing bicycle lanes on Clingman Avenue, Hilliard Avenue, and other streets downtown. This request is also consistent with recommended infrastructure improvements in the 2008 City of Asheville Comprehensive Bicycle Plan.

Know the history of the I-26 Corridor Project and Asheville Design Center

AoB’s Letter to the NCDOT…

Re: I-26 Connector

Dear Mr. Joyner,

As an organization that seeks to support and enhance bicycling opportunities in the city of Asheville, we are writing today to submit I-26 comments that relate most specifically to bicycle related matters. Specific comments are listed below and organized by section.

Read more