Step Right Up // Rich Lee Answers AoB’s Candidate Forum Questionnaire

Tell us something about your transportation habits. How do you get around Asheville?

My family is fortunate to live in West Asheville within walking distance of downtown, parks and shopping. I walked my daughter to Asheville City Preschool this morning. For as long as we’ve been involved in Asheville, going back to my wife’s first apartment in Montford twenty years ago, walking and riding the bus have been an important part of our experience of the city. It helped us afford to live here when we were broke and struggling. Our first five years back in town after the Peace Corps, we were a one-car family. I rode the bus to work every day. I still ride with my kids at least once a week so they’ll grow up comfortable using the system, even if they don’t have to. I’m moving my office in September to be on the bus routes that run past my house (W1 & W2), so I can use them more.

What do you consider to be the most significant transportation advancement in Asheville and what impact does it have on our community?

I’m tempted to do a Letterman-style Top 10 list: Bike lanes in West Asheville, finally funding traffic calming again, finally investing some money (though still not enough) in neighborhood sidewalks. The big sidewalk projects coming to New Leicester Highway and Hendersonville Road. A stoplight at the Merrimon intersection where a pedestrian was struck and killed last year. The Nextbus mobile app, which everyone should use.

But the biggest move, both in dollars and lasting impact on the city, has to be the huge city-led project to overhaul Riverside Drive over the next few years. I know it’s somewhat controversial, but I’m a believer in RADTIP. Yes, it will mean a safer, more beautiful, signature parkway for Asheville, the thing we show off on postcards and spend our weekends on. It will completely change the way people think about the riverfront from Woodfin to Swannanoa and beyond. But more importantly, I think it’s a laboratory for serious long-range thinking about how we get around as a bigger, busier city. All the partnerships with the county and state agencies, all the grant experience, all the ideas tested, from protected bike lanes to sustainable building in floodways, will percolate out to every area of the city, and to other regional cities, too. I sincerely believe that when the major redesigns of Tunnel Road and our other problem roads are happening, as they have to happen soon, they’ll be using the ideas and insights gleaned from RADTIP.

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Step Right Up // Brian Haynes Answers AoB’s Candidate Forum Questionnaire

Tell us something about your transportation habits. How do you get around Asheville?

My wife and I own and electric car and a hybrid car. We use the electric car for all our transportation around town. We use the hybrid for longer trips. We also live in the river arts district, so we walk downtown and sometimes to West Asheville. We would ride our bikes to work at Habitat except the strip of road from Lyman to Meadow it far too dangerous.

What do you consider to be the most significant transportation advancement in Asheville and what impact does it have on our community?

The most significant advancement is the willingness of people choose alternatives to driving their gas powered vehicles, such as walking, bicycling, and using public transportation. The use of hybrid buses is an important step in a more eco-friendly transportation system.

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Step Right Up // Ken Michalove Answers AoB’s Candidate Forum Questionnaire

Tell us something about your transportation habits. How do you get around Asheville?

I travel by car various times of the day.

What do you consider to be the most significant transportation advancement in Asheville and what impact does it have on our community?

In the past 2 years – better bus services, helps those without other forms of transportation get to work, play and services. In years past, the cross town expressway and the widening of major streets in all directions. Street signage improvements and major destiny signage.

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Step Right Up // Joe Grady Answers AoB’s Candidate Forum Questionnaire

Tell us something about your transportation habits. How do you get around Asheville?

My mode of transportation in the city is my automobile, more commonly named the “Puppy Mobile”. I originally purchased it to transport both therapy dogs and Golden Retriever rescues. Since we travel frequently together to opposite ends of the city, county, and region many times, this is our main mode of transportation. Sorry, but I haven’t found an easy way to transport a 70 pound Golden Retriever on a bike or scooter!

When we are at home in South Asheville though, our mode of transportation is our two legs and four legs, and we try to get in at least 2-3 miles of walking per day. It’s our way of relaxing and enjoying the mountains

What do you consider to be the most significant transportation advancement in Asheville and what impact does it have on our community?

I think the most significant transportation advancement in Asheville is Project SOAR, the 64 million dollar Asheville Airport construction project building a new runway that will last for the next 50 years. This is the largest and most significant project since the airport was built in 1961. The current runway, built five decades ago, has outlived its life. The new project began in 2014 and is scheduled for completion in 2018. Sixty-four million dollars is a significant expenditure. What’s really nice about this project is that the airport is not funded by local taxpayers, so no local tax funds are involved in this project. Rather, it is being underwritten by the FAA and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), thru grants and airport funds. More importantly for the citizens of Asheville, it will sustain itself for another five decades, long after many of us are gone.

The significant impact of this transportation project is greater than any other transportation effort undertaken in years. Why do I feel this is the most significant project? First, the project will meet the growing air service needs and will carry both Asheville and Western North Carolina into the future. Secondly, the airport contributes a major impact in the economic growth of the City of Asheville, and as our air service grows, so does the economic impact to the area. And finally, the airport is the Gateway to Asheville and Western North Carolina. It is the first place many business travelers and tourists see upon touching down here for the first time. Now that is a plan with a long-range impact!

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Step Right Up // LaVonda Payne Answers AoB’s Candidate Forum Questionnaire

Tell us something about your transportation habits. How do you get around Asheville?

My car.

What do you consider to be the most significant transportation advancement in Asheville and what impact does it have on our community?

I’d say the buses but … That’s a joke. Try taking a bus and getting somewhere on time …

Please identify one way in which you’ve worked to make Asheville safer for pedestrians, transit users, and / or cyclists. What did you learn from this experience?

Pay attention…

What do you consider to be Asheville’s primary transportation challenge and how do you propose to fix it?

I can do anything, its a we thing …
But if it was up to me id say go talk tot he actual people that rely on the bus everyday

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Step Right Up // Dee Williams Answers AoB’s Candidate Forum Questionnaire

Tell us something about your transportation habits. How do you get around Asheville?

I usually have to drive out of Asheville to Greenville-Spartanburg, SC as well around other cities to work. Anywhere else that I have to go locally, I have to drive because the bus system does not adequately connect. If you do not want to spend most of your time away from work on week-ends at home in Asheville, you are forced to drive a car. Buses are not a preferred way to get around, because of limited week-end scheduling, not on time, etc.

What do you consider to be the most significant transportation advancement in Asheville and what impact does it have on our community?

All that have been initiated by the FHWA/USDOT/NCDOT, like the Interstate Highway System and now the FBRMPO Long-Range Transportation Plan in 2013 and the FBRMPO Comprehensive Plan in 2008. Some of the plans destroyed neighborhoods, created systems which allowed no other modes of companion transportation, until Muti-modal transportation which includes pedestrian sidewalks, bike lanes greenways, mass transit,etc which reduce carbon footprint and promote healthier lifestyles.

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