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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
When you first biked in downtown Asheville, what did you notice? If you’re like most in our community, you probably had a hard time finding a complete bike friendly route to get to your destination.
Why? Because Asheville’s infrastructure development is only five years old. And since that first bike ride, what changes have you noticed?
Your voice, your volunteerism, and your contributions have helped make critical changes for biking in Asheville. We are so grateful for helping to make these changes possible, and as we continue to gain ground in our community, your generosity will continue to determine our success.
You are the HEART of Asheville on Bikes! You made 2015 a BIG year…
Your participation helped defeat state legislation which jeopardized the implementation of bike lanes and sidewalks on state owned roads.
You successfully advocated for Asheville’s first protected bike lane as part of the RADTIP project.
You partnered with the City of Asheville, the West Asheville Business Association, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation for the first on-street bike corral.
Your voices were heard and a 5 foot bike lane on Craven Street became reality.
Participation and the number of community rides continues to grow each year.
You created new partnerships with the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club, the University of North Carolina, and enabled Asheville to host Cycle Smart, adult bicycle education classes.
You created a transformative partnership with the Asheville City Schools Foundation to provide after school bicycle education to middle school students.
You played a meaningful role in our community by hosting Asheville city candidate forums to inform public of transportation issues and candidate positions.
Thanks to you, Asheville on Bikes continues to push the pedals to advance Asheville’s urban cycling. We’re on a roll, but to sustain this cadence, your support is needed. We’re asking you to fuel the Asheville on Bike’s engine – by donating to our operating budget with a year-end gift.
On Monday Nov. 16th, North Carolina and the Federal Highway Administration will host a public hearing on the the I-26 Connector at the Renaissance Hotel Grand Ballroom, 31 Woodfin St.
Asheville on Bikes encourages people to participate in the public hearing. The format is set up to be a drop in event to learn and discuss the connector. The public hearing format will be:
4pm – 6:30pm: Pre-Hearing Open House to answer questions and receive comments on the project.
7pm: Formal public hearing
AoB encourages people to RSVP to the public hearing and share the event with your circles.
The I-26 Connector Project, which has been organized by Mountain True, has a page which enables people to post public comment and sign on to the I-26 ConnectUs Vision principles. The I-26 Connect Us Vision principles is:
To ensure the long-term health and success of the economy, citizens, and environment of Asheville and the surrounding area, the final design and construction of the Asheville I-26 Connector should achieve:
safe travel for interstate and local traffic;
improved connections between neighborhoods and from neighborhoods to major roads for all modes of local traffic – pedestrian, bike, car and bus;
minimal destruction of neighborhoods, homes, and businesses and remediation of past highway project impacts on minority and low-wealth communities;
maximum return of land to Asheville’s tax base for the City’s use and benefit;
minimal harm to air and water quality; and
improvements that match the scale and character of Asheville.
Join us for a costumed community ride that is FREE to all. Enjoy music, food, and camaraderie. Plus, we’ll be giving away prizes to those with the most ghoulish costumes!
Asheville on Bikes presents the ninth annual Pumpkin Pedaller on Saturday, Oct. 31st. The annual costumed community ride gathers in front of City Hall at 2:30pm, and rolls forward at 3:00pm on Halloween. The nine mile ride meanders through North Asheville, climbs Sunset Trail, and circles Montford before rolling back into town to New Mountain for a Halloween bike festival.
The Pumpkin Pedaller is the hallmark of the Asheville Halloween experience. And, AoB is set to deliver again, this year. Each year, the ride attracts more and more participants. We’re responding by hosting a bike festival at New Mountain following the ride.
We’ll have music by Speed Square, food trucks, Michael Mooney’s bike jousting, a costume contest, and a chance to win an Industry Nine wheel set. New Belgium will also donate portion of their beer sales to Asheville on Bikes.
The Pumpkin Pedaller is free and open to the public. Participants are encouraged to RSVP at AoB’s event page, ride in costume and review the route prior to the ride.
2:30pm | Gather at City Hall
3pm | Pedal
5:30pm | Culminate at New Mountain
5:30 – 7pm | Bike Jousting!
6 – 8pm | Music
7pm | Costume Contest
Thank you to our sponsors! A portion of all New Belgium beer proceeds will support AoB.
On behalf of Asheville on Bikes, I’m excited to announce that the proposed legislation designed to curtail the expansion of bike lanes and sidewalks has been struck from HB44 and will not become law!
This summer AoB encouraged the community to contact their representatives and oppose section 7 of HB44. And the community overwhelmingly responded to the call to action. We acted, and our representatives responded to our collective voice.
Thank you all for your participation. Together we roll forward and expand access to safe and complete streets.
We’ve all worked hard over the last few month to ensure our streets continue to work for all people, moving by many modes. Today’s success calls for a celebration. Please join AoB at Catawba Brewing Company’s Rick Room on the South Slope on Thursday, Sept. 24 for Beers for Gears. At 8 pm, we’ll have a toast to celebrate our recent success. Together we roll forward.
We need you to get out there and count the pedestrians and cyclist in our city the week of Sept. 14th. Let’s continue to inform transportation policy with data. Currently, NCDOT does not conduct bike / ped counts as part of their design phase. It’s up to us to provide those numbers. And without you out there counting, we won’t have the data we need to expand active transportation.
Bike counts will be conducted on Tuesday through Saturday morning beginning on Sept. 15th.
Volunteer training sessions will be held at UNCA on the following days and times:
9/10 noon — Sherrill Center, room 402
9/10 5pm — Sherrill Center, room 402
9/14 noon — Sherrill Center, NCCHW conference room (in the NCCHW office area, not the classroom/arena side)
9/14 5pm — Sherrill Center, room 407