Step Right Up // Lindsey Simerly Answers AoB’s Candidate Forum Questionnaire

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

Our personal transportation choices impact our environment, our traffic congestion, and our quality of life. Throughout my 13 years in Asheville I have used a variety of forms of transportation. I have relied on a bicycle as my primary transportation. I rode a fuel-efficient motorcycle. I drove a heavy-duty biodiesel truck when I worked construction. I walked and rode the bus for a time.

Currently, raising a toddler, I drive more often than I used to. Knowing that I was going to be driving with my child, I selected an environmentally responsible car in my price range, a Toyota Prius. My family and I plan ahead so we can limit car trips, carpool, and walk whenever possible.

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

Over the last several years Asheville has increased investment in transportation choice, which increases opportunity, affordability, and sustainability. We got 9 new hybrid buses. We added miles of greenways and bike lanes. We added Sunday bus service and increased the number of buses that run on 30-minute routes.

Each improvement is very good on its own, but the combination was intentional and it is this multimodal approach that is the most significant advancement. Recognizing that our transportation options are interconnected is critical and is the basis for the complete streets concept. The reality is that some people will drive cars. Some people will ride bikes. Some people will ride the bus. Others will walk. When we expand our transportation options we create more opportunities for people who can’t drive due to their age, health, or income; we allow people to choose lower-cost alternatives for getting around; and we reduce our CO2 emissions (by reducing dependence on cars).

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Step Right Up // Grant Millin Answers AoB’s Candidate Forum Questionnaire

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

I hike/walk, but I live in Oteen. The variability of ART bus timing and a range of reasons makes automobile the best way to reach downtown and other points in the area if you live in Oteen.

It will be interesting to see what more the community team can do with multimodal innovation based on current factors when it comes to basics like where things are happening folks want to get to in contrast to where people live in Asheville.

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

I am sure there is a great list of multimodal innovations that have taking place over the years here. For me personally and I think for many others, passenger rail to Asheville would be an epoch in multimodal innovation.

There are all kinds of probably reasons why and what not passenger rail to Asheville hasn’t happened. But the last study on the matter is 15 years old now. Without a feasibility study and environmental impact statement, we don’t have choices because we don’t have good information on passenger rail to Asheville questions.

I developed a package solution in this article.

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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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