The French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization (FBRMPO) is studying a 5.4 mile stretch of Hendersonville Rd. This is our opportunity to advance active transportation along this corridor. As we’ve learned from past success, in order to be effective, YOU have to respond.
The FBRMPO’s website reads:
The Hendersonville Road Corridor Study will examine this roadway and propose strategies relating to congestion, pedestrian and cyclist safety, and connectivity along and across the road. To accomplish this, the project team will be collaborating closely with the City of Asheville, the French Broad River MPO, Buncombe County, NCDOT, as well as representatives of the communities and institutions along Hendersonville Road. In order to make this plan the biggest success it can be, we will call on the community, the residents, students, and workers who live near or travel on Hendersonville Road every day to participate in the planning process.
The mention of “congestion” before “pedestrian and cyclist safety” catches our eye. When NCDOT hears congestion, the solution has historically been a road widening as opposed to multi-modal investments. Asheville continues to rank as one of the most dangerous cities in North Carolina for pedestrians and cyclists. If you value roads that prioritize the safe movement of all people moving by a variety of modes, you should respond.
Example of current biking and walking conditions on this corridor
Before reading further, consider this map made from NCDOT data that shows the study corridor, overlaid with bicycle and pedestrian crashes, along with fatal crashes of all types. People are biking and walking on this corridor, particularly in the Gerber Village area.
Other projects and key connectors in this area
NCDOT has previously published an extensive redesign of Sweeten Creek Road, project U-2801A, which parallels this section of Hendersonville Road. You can read our 2018 public comment on that not-yet-built project here. The Sweeten Creek Road corridor includes a multi-use path, separated from traffic, alongside Sweeten Creek Road, planned to run from the Blue Ridge Parkway to the intersection of Sweeten Creek Road and Hendersonville Road. Rather than supplanting the need for a more bikable, walkable Hendersonville Road, those changes will result in more people riding bikes and trying to connect over to and across the corridor being studied in this survey.
Additionally, several local road bike rides make use of this area, even though the area is ill-suited to the needs of most bicycle riders. You can easily see the bicycle use on Strava’s Global Heatmap. This portion of Hendersonville Road is part of the larger problem in south Asheville where we are missing safe north-south routes as well as safe east-west connections across this part of the City. At least four connections that are used by cyclists stand out today: the Blue Ridge Parkway, Mills Gap Road, Glen Bridge Road, and Christ School Road.
AoB Guidance for completing this survey
Go here to take the survey, “Hendersonville Road Corridor Study: Survey 1,” after considering:
Question 2 & 6: Identify yourself as a bicyclist.
Question 8: Note that retail shops aren’t included as an option. Gas stations are but what about retail? Or offices?
Question 9: Select “providing for all modes of transportation” as the highest priority.
Question 10: Identify “Hard to get around on foot and bike” as the biggest transportation concern.
Question 11: Rank active transportation (bike, pedestrian, transit, greenway and trails as the as the most important considerations.
Question 13: Identify all types of mixed use development as a priority.
Question 15: State your dissatisfaction with existing active transportation facilities.
Question 15 continued: State your satisfaction with motorist facilities.
Additional comments. Respond to the need for NCDOT to design Hendersonville Rd in accordance with its Complete Street and Vision Zero policies. It’s always constructive to reference NACTO design standards.
Here’s the link again, to take the survey: Hendersonville Road Corridor Study