2017 Asheville City Council Candidate Q&A

What do our 2017 candidates have to say about multimodal transportation in Asheville?

Asheville on Bikes sent a survey to the four mayoral candidates and twelve city council candidate on the primary ballot for 2017, asking for their thoughts on multimodal transportation in Asheville. We have shared the answers of all who responded. Thirteen candidates responded, three have not. Click on a name to read what each candidate who responded to the survey had to say.

City Council Candidate

Mayoral Candidates

No response received

  • Pratik Bhakta (City Council candidate)
  • Andrew Fletcher (City Council candidate)
  • Jonathan Austin Glover (Mayoral candidate)

Cecil Bothwell, City Council Candidate

Cecil Bothwell

Will you participate in “Step Right Up,” AoB’s primary candidate forum on Monday, Sept. 25th at Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St.?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

If you participate in the general election, will you participate in “Get There AVL,” AoB’s general candidate forum on Thursday, Oct. 26th at the Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

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

Car, walk, bike

Please identify one way in which you’ve worked to make Asheville safer for pedestrians, transit users, and / or cyclists. Share the outcome for the community and what you learned.

I have consistently supported funding for greenways, sidewalks, bike lanes, expansion of the transit routes and hours, and pressed for safer crosswalks during my years on Council.

What are your thoughts regarding the Asheville In Motion Plan (AIM)? Identify one strength and one weakness of the plan.

Strength: suggests not adding much parking downtown. Weakness: Like most such plans it is big on broad concepts and lacking in meaningfully specific suggestions.

Rank these five projects in order from most important to least important (order below reflects candidate ranking, with 1 being the highest priority):

  1. Fare Free Transit Zones
  2. Protected bicycle facilities on Lyman St
  3. Livingston St complete street treatment
  4. Additional Downtown Parking
  5. Beaucatcher greenway

Elaborate on your prioritization list. Explain your ranking.

We need to get people out of their cars to reduce carbon emissions per capita, enhance affordable living, and reduce parking demand. Making Lyman a better commuter route helps that, as will the Livingston improvements. The driverless car revolution is about to collapse parking demand, and Beaucatcher is a path to nowhere – it is completely useful as it is for people who want to take a walk in the woods and the $5 million would be much better spent on other greenways.


Jeremy Goldstein, City Council Candidate

Jeremy Goldstein

Will you participate in “Step Right Up,” AoB’s primary candidate forum on Monday, Sept. 25th at Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St.?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

If you participate in the general election, will you participate in “Get There AVL,” AoB’s general candidate forum on Thursday, Oct. 26th at the Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

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

Car. My family lives in East Asheville and there are no shoulders or sidewalks in our area. I also have four sons that attend Asheville City Schools but do not have bus service to our home. On my way to work downtown each day this past year, I dropped off at Jones Elementary, Asheville Middle and Asheville High. At least I get quality time in the morning with the boys!

Please identify one way in which you’ve worked to make Asheville safer for pedestrians, transit users, and / or cyclists. Share the outcome for the community and what you learned.

During my six years on Asheville’s Planning and Zoning Commission, the last four as Chair, we consistently strive to go above and beyond minimum compliance by encouraging connectivity, sidewalk construction, bicycle parking and pedestrian safety. We can, and have, made a difference on nearly every project that comes before us.

What are your thoughts regarding the Asheville In Motion Plan (AIM)? Identify one strength and one weakness of the plan.

It’s a thoughtful, comprehensive plan. Strength: Coalesces all prior plans into a single, compelling and understandable document. Weakness: Funding is not identified nor is a clear pathway to implementation.

Rank these five projects in order from most important to least important (order below reflects candidate ranking, with 1 being the highest priority):

  1. Protected bicycle facilities on Lyman St
  2. Livingston St complete street treatment
  3. Additional Downtown Parking
  4. Fare Free Transit Zones
  5. Beaucatcher greenway

Elaborate on your prioritization list. Explain your ranking.

1 – The Lyman Street project is essentially shovel ready—low hanging fruit.
2 – No bids were received because the project was too speculative. City needs to prioritize water line improvements so we can solicit bids and implement.
3 – Leverage our funds by incentivizing private developers to incorporate public parking into new downtown projects in exchange for increased density and affordable housing. This will not only alleviate parking problems and provide more space for people to live and work but increase our tax base so we can expand our transit system and fund pedestrian and bicycle improvements.
4 – Start with RAD to Asheville Mall via Civic Center, Pritchard Park, and Pack Place Park.
5 – Not used by local commuters. Purely recreational. Expensive. Prime candidate for TDA funding.


Vijay Kapoor, City Council Candidate

Vijay Kapoor

Will you participate in “Step Right Up,” AoB’s primary candidate forum on Monday, Sept. 25th at Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St.?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

If you participate in the general election, will you participate in “Get There AVL,” AoB’s general candidate forum on Thursday, Oct. 26th at the Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

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

Unfortunately, living in an area of South Asheville where there are no sidewalks (off Sweeten Creek Road), where it’s dangerous to bike and where there are few transit options, I am stuck most often getting around in my car. Where I lived previously, I would either get around by biking, walking or using public transportation – and would usually bike to work. I am relocating my office from Downtown to South Asheville at the end of the year to reduce commute time and to experiment with biking to work.

Please identify one way in which you’ve worked to make Asheville safer for pedestrians, transit users, and / or cyclists. Share the outcome for the community and what you learned.

Last year, as part of a compromise between a developer and a group of residents who I led opposing a development at the notoriously bad intersection of Sweeten Creek and Mills Gap Roads, I insisted that the developer extend a sidewalk over railroad tracks on Gerber Road so that pedestrians could safely walk to grocery stores and other amenities on Hendersonville Road. The developer agreed to do so. That compromise also included adding an additional turn lane at the intersection which will improve traffic flow.

What I learned is that residents and the City have leverage to insist on improvements for pedestrians, transit users and cyclists when dealing with development. With limited funds, we need to ensure that new developments improve safety for pedestrians, transit users and cyclists.

What are your thoughts regarding the Asheville In Motion Plan (AIM)? Identify one strength and one weakness of the plan.

Having worked with local governments essentially my entire career, I’d first note that the fact that Asheville even has a mobility plan and strategy is rare and positive in itself. One significant strength of the plan is that it is comprehensive and covers transit, biking, walking and greenways. So often in government generally, people tend to get siloed and focus on only one area. This comprehensive focus helps make sure that policy makers consider all forms of mobility which is key. A second strength is that the plan also notes specific projects (pages 138, 140 and 142). Too often, plans are high-level and do not offer specific recommendations. You should know that communities along Sweeten Creek Road have formed a group called the “Sweeten Creek Association of Neighborhoods” or “SCAN” in part to advocate for these neighborhoods when Sweeten Creek Road will be widened. In conversations with the NCDOT, we have often advocated for and referenced the AIM plan’s complete streets recommendations on pages 157 and 158 for Sweeten Creek Road.

One weakness of the plan is with implementation of the strategy and the recommended projects. It’s up to policy makers to implement them based on the resources available. That weakness is no fault of the plan itself, but rather the reality of the local government process.

Rank these five projects in order from most important to least important (order below reflects candidate ranking, with 1 being the highest priority):

  1. Beaucatcher greenway
  2. Livingston St complete street treatment
  3. Protected bicycle facilities on Lyman St
  4. Fare Free Transit Zones
  5. Additional Downtown Parking

Elaborate on your prioritization list. Explain your ranking.

These type of ranking questions are always difficult and I appreciate the opportunity to be able to explain the prioritization. I ranked Beaucatcher greenway first because that project appears ready to implemented (as compared to the others listed) and I am very supportive of greenways throughout the City. I ranked Livingston St. complete streets second as I strongly believe that the City needs to focus on the needs of its residents and neighborhoods – particularly those in underserved communities. I’ve been very critical of the City’s recent handling of the RADTIP project, especially the fact that the Livingston Street complete street treatment did not receive any bids despite it really being the impetus for the RADTIP project in the first place.

I ranked the protected bike facilities on Lyman Street next because as a biker myself, I’m concerned about the safety on that road. Many people who are not accustomed to driving with bikes on the road will use Lyman Street. I placed the fare free transit zones next because I think the biggest driver for improving transit usage is better service and I’m not quite convinced that going fare free will get us there although I think it’s an idea worth studying more.

I placed additional downtown parking at the end, not because I do not think that it’s important (many residents who I’ve spoken with say they don’t come downtown because of parking), but because there are additional parking facilities coming online such as at the new Buncombe County human services building. I’d like to see what the impact on parking will be after those facilities are operational.


Jan Howard Kubiniec, City Council Candidate

Jan Howard Kubiniec

Will you participate in “Step Right Up,” AoB’s primary candidate forum on Monday, Sept. 25th at Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St.?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

If you participate in the general election, will you participate in “Get There AVL,” AoB’s general candidate forum on Thursday, Oct. 26th at the Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

Tell us something about your transportation habits. How do you most often get around Asheville?
I drive a car.

Please identify one way in which you’ve worked to make Asheville safer for pedestrians, transit users, and / or cyclists. Share the outcome for the community and what you learned.

I served on the pedestrian awareness committee in Kenilworth. I drive five feet around cyclists.

What are your thoughts regarding the Asheville In Motion Plan (AIM)? Identify one strength and one weakness of the plan.

Weakness is cost. strength is increased functionality of our city.

Rank these five projects in order from most important to least important (order below reflects candidate ranking, with 1 being the highest priority):

  1. Protected bicycle facilities on Lyman St
  2. Livingston St complete street treatment
  3. Additional Downtown Parking
  4. Fare Free Transit Zones
  5. Beaucatcher greenway

Elaborate on your prioritization list. Explain your ranking.

Beaucatcher greenway is lowest because it is not cost effective and because of the extreme crime problems next to it. Livingston complete streets is high priority because it is a large under-served population that needs the connectivity. Additional parking is low priority because that is a greatly addressed issue. Free fare zones are ranked there because it works with the template but are necessary because they keep additional vehicular traffic off the congested corridors. Protected bike lanes on Lyman because they are pretty, functional, increase connectivity and have been promised a long time.


Rich Lee, City Council Candidate

Rich Lee

Will you participate in “Step Right Up,” AoB’s primary candidate forum on Monday, Sept. 25th at Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St.?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

If you participate in the general election, will you participate in “Get There AVL,” AoB’s general candidate forum on Thursday, Oct. 26th at the Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

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

Car, bus and walking

Please identify one way in which you’ve worked to make Asheville safer for pedestrians, transit users, and / or cyclists. Share the outcome for the community and what you learned.

I led a successful campaign to restart Asheville’s traffic calming program. The result was slower auto traffic on Riverview Drive and other cut-through streets. I learned how to navigate projects through city departments and organize neighbors around needed improvements.

What are your thoughts regarding the Asheville In Motion Plan (AIM)? Identify one strength and one weakness of the plan.

As someone who participated a lot in the public input and drafting of the plan, then sat on the AIM Implementation Task Force until it was disbanded this year, I came away more convinced than ever that all transportation modes need to be be considered in any road project, but also frustrated that the plan was essentially shelved. A strength is that we’re getting a couple needed policy fixes out of it, especially around volunteer-built greenways. The city’s next transportation safety initiative, Vision Zero, is also one of the plan’s recommendations. But on the negative side, it seems to me that the plan was too big, general and comprehensive to easily pull next actions out of, leaving the city struggling to figure out how to “implement” it. We might have done better with smaller, narrower planning around a few key needed improvements.

Rank these five projects in order from most important to least important (order below reflects candidate ranking, with 1 being the highest priority):

  1. Protected bicycle facilities on Lyman St
  2. Livingston St complete street treatment
  3. Additional Downtown Parking
  4. Fare Free Transit Zones
  5. Beaucatcher greenway

Elaborate on your prioritization list. Explain your ranking.

Beaucatcher Greenway is potentially too expensive to ever build out as designed. The focus should be on low-cost erosion controls and some volunteer-built terrain fixes to address problems on the existing trail. The current fare-free zone is little used and confusing. I’m not clear how expanding it will make it more useful, and most low-income riders seem to have passes anyway.

Though I don’t like the idea of the city subsidizing a lot more parking, city garages downtown are, at the very least, cash-flow positive, and they’re an easy way to support local independent businesses. We need at least one more deck downtown, going by the parking study, and that should be coupled with surge pricing on the new smart parking meters and disincentives to property owners keeping surface parking lots. Livingston Street fulfills a commitment to an underserved community. It should be done. Protected bike lanes on Lyman *will* be done in some fashion. I’m a little concerned about initial plans right now, but I think they can be fixed easily enough.


Kim Roney, City Council Candidate

Kim Roney

Will you participate in “Step Right Up,” AoB’s primary candidate forum on Monday, Sept. 25th at Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St.?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

If you participate in the general election, will you participate in “Get There AVL,” AoB’s general candidate forum on Thursday, Oct. 26th at the Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

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

My husband and I donated our car to charity 9 years ago in an effort to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. As a car-free family, we bike, bus, and walk to get where we’re going, and Nathanael skateboards.

Please identify one way in which you’ve worked to make Asheville safer for pedestrians, transit users, and / or cyclists. Share the outcome for the community and what you learned.

Choosing a car-free lifestyle, I’m utilizing my experience advocating for everyday people on Asheville’s Multi-Modal Transportation Commission (MMTC) and Transit Committee, also serving on the AIM Implementation Task Force. I have learned a great deal about the limitations we face in prioritizing infrastructure, especially in regards to funding, but I have also seen the impact made when community members come together to advocate for specific needs.

One recent example is the RADTIP project South of the old 12 Bones, where I made the motion for the MMTC to support Option 1 after hearing public comment, including endorsement from Mike Sule of Asheville on Bikes, as well as feedback from the community and an endorsement from the Greenways Committee. The outcome should be an example of how our community values multi-modal infrastructure, especially along a road that will meet up with future NCDOT projects, which I am hopeful will lead to a positive collaborations with the state.

What are your thoughts regarding the Asheville In Motion Plan (AIM)? Identify one strength and one weakness of the plan.

As the only seated MMTC member who did not vote to endorse the AIM plan as it was presented, I still have several, addressable issues with it. In spite of it’s frustrating lack of measurables, which is in my opinion its greatest weakness, it does have multiple mentions and an entire page dedicated to Vision Zero, which may be used as its greatest strength.

Rank these five projects in order from most important to least important (order below reflects candidate ranking, with 1 being the highest priority):

  1. Fare Free Transit Zones
  2. Protected bicycle facilities on Lyman St
  3. Beaucatcher greenway
  4. Livingston St complete street treatment
  5. Additional Downtown Parking

Elaborate on your prioritization list. Explain your ranking.

Our bus transit system provides necessary access to jobs, housing, childcare, education, and groceries for the people of Asheville. More than just “zones” a fare-free transit system means we will stop subsidizing the bus on the backs of poor, elder, and working people who rely on it. Anticipated increase in ridership will have a positive impact on traffic and parking, and will prioritize an environmentally-friendly commute.

I’ve already mentioned why meeting NCDOT roads with bike lanes on Lyman will show our community values and intent. This project and the Beaucatcher Greenway have been through the planning process and community input phases and are ready to move forward. The Livingston St. project is lacking bids, but more importantly, I hear from the community that the City needs to revisit the input process, using an equity lens, to ensure we have engagement and support for this project.

Recognizing that parking is a #1 priority for downtown business owners, it ranks last for me on this list because several of these projects will promote our community values to not prioritize vehicular transportation. This is especially true of a more efficient, fare-free transit system, which has been realized in Boone and Chapel Hill, and will have a positive impact on parking. We have to value the needs and desires of our community first, because it will result in a healthier, more resilient city that benefits our tourist and business economy too.


Sheneika Smith, City Council Candidate

Sheneika Smith

Will you participate in “Step Right Up,” AoB’s primary candidate forum on Monday, Sept. 25th at Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St.?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

If you participate in the general election, will you participate in “Get There AVL,” AoB’s general candidate forum on Thursday, Oct. 26th at the Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

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

Shortly after returning to Asheville in 2011 I was a transit rider for sometime. Because I didn’t navigate this system alone, I had a two year old and newborn in tow, I know the importance of effective transportation systems and innovation. Currently, I own a car and it is my primary source.

Please identify one way in which you’ve worked to make Asheville safer for pedestrians, transit users, and / or cyclists. Share the outcome for the community and what you learned.

I work at Green Opportunities as an instructor. I teach soft skills. I often assist clients in coming up with a plan for being punctual; a plan primarily for motorist to ensure they arrive 15 minutes early without rushing. This might sound simple, but it promotes safety for drivers, other motorists, pedestrians, transit users and cyclists.

What are your thoughts regarding the Asheville In Motion Plan (AIM)? Identify one strength and one weakness of the plan.

The strategies prioritize transportation projects in order to improve multimodal connections. That’s great, but it doesn’t talk explicitly about accessibility guidelines and considerations within each feature. It can be a bit more inclusive to neighbors and visitors with disabilities.

Rank these five projects in order from most important to least important (order below reflects candidate ranking, with 1 being the highest priority):

  1. Fare Free Transit Zones
  2. Additional Downtown Parking
  3. Beaucatcher greenway
  4. Livingston St complete street treatment
  5. Protected bicycle facilities on Lyman St

Elaborate on your prioritization list. Explain your ranking.

Economic opportunity and upward mobility are directly related to transportation infrastructure and public transit services. Fare free transit, my opinion, is the one project priority that is most beneficial to a wide range of residents with a direct effect on the overall quality of life.


Adrian Vassallo, City Council Candidate

Adrian Vassallo

Will you participate in “Step Right Up,” AoB’s primary candidate forum on Monday, Sept. 25th at Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St.?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

If you participate in the general election, will you participate in “Get There AVL,” AoB’s general candidate forum on Thursday, Oct. 26th at the Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

Tell us something about your transportation habits. How do you most often get around Asheville?
Most often by car.

Please identify one way in which you’ve worked to make Asheville safer for pedestrians, transit users, and / or cyclists. Share the outcome for the community and what you learned.

In my role with the Asheville Downtown Association, we championed two walkability studies that addressed the pedestrian issues in the Central Business District. I’ve also participated in Strive Not to Drive and the annual pedestrian and cyclist counts. We have so many needs to address, but focusing on pedestrian access and walkability in our neighborhoods should be the highest priority. When we create more walkable communities throughout Asheville, we increase quality of life and support our small businesses.

What are your thoughts regarding the Asheville In Motion Plan (AIM)? Identify one strength and one weakness of the plan.

The strength I observe is that it puts pedestrians first. The weakness is that there may be areas of Asheville where bike lanes just will not work (Patton Avenue).

Rank these five projects in order from most important to least important (order below reflects candidate ranking, with 1 being the highest priority):

  1. Additional Downtown Parking
  2. Fare Free Transit Zones
  3. Protected bicycle facilities on Lyman St
  4. Livingston St complete street treatment
  5. Beaucatcher greenway

Elaborate on your prioritization list. Explain your ranking.

I’ve advocated for additional Downtown parking for years. Our small business community needs this, especially on the South Slope. We’ve seen dramatic increases in economic development where decks have been built, most notably in the most recent deck at 51 Biltmore Avenue.


Dee Williams, City Council Candidate

Dee Williams

Will you participate in “Step Right Up,” AoB’s primary candidate forum on Monday, Sept. 25th at Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St.?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

If you participate in the general election, will you participate in “Get There AVL,” AoB’s general candidate forum on Thursday, Oct. 26th at the Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

Tell us something about your transportation habits. How do you most often get around Asheville?
I drive my car because I am self-employed and I have more than one small business or non-profit with which I contract. I travel to Greenville/Spartanburg on some week days and most weekends. I have been unable to find suitable employment, so I work for myself to earn the kind of money that I need to, to afford my house in Kenilworth, taxes, health insurance and upkeep, since my husband is disabled (totally) and I am the primary money maker.

Please identify one way in which you’ve worked to make Asheville safer for pedestrians, transit users, and / or cyclists. Share the outcome for the community and what you learned.

I have had to engage Transportation folks to upgrade intersections with cross walks, signage, stop signs, etc., particularly in poor and minority neighborhoods like Southside, where there is a lack in some places. I have also installed curb cuts, truncated domes and wheel chair ramps, as a contractor for the City if Asheville and the N.C.D.O.T. The result was the installation of cross walks and safety features. I learned that if communities are not engaged, they have fewer public accommodations.

What are your thoughts regarding the Asheville In Motion Plan (AIM)? Identify one strength and one weakness of the plan.

One strength is the thought process in which all forms of mobility were considered in Asheville. The weaknesses appeared the lack of connectivity of land use or corridors of land use to transportation connectivity. There was no planning from a County or regional level. There was no wholly dedicated source of funding to guarantee revenue streams for infusion or federal match. There was some reference to a “Champion”. This needs a portion of sales tax revenue dedicated like a cent, and call it a Transportation Bank. It could be correlated also to protection/development of green space, health, and preservation of green space. I have other ideas about, specifically, transit and revenue enhancement for that, also.

Rank these five projects in order from most important to least important (order below reflects candidate ranking, with 1 being the highest priority):

  1. Protected bicycle facilities on Lyman St
  2. Livingston St complete street treatment
  3. Beaucatcher greenway
  4. Fare Free Transit Zones
  5. Additional Downtown Parking

Elaborate on your prioritization list. Explain your ranking.

The Lyman Protected Bike Lanes are Phase 1 of the RAD Project and will escalate in cost and are critical to the connectivity of the project. Livingston Streets should be Phase 2 of RAD. This will address equity issues and the fact that RADTIP funding was packaged and acquired using Census Tract IX’s demographic data. It must have water lines installed first, and the other Projects on Livingston, which is “Complete Streets” (also a priority) needs to happen, as cost will escalate for this project.

The Beaucatcher Greenway was not on the bond list of Parks & Recreation improvements. A funding stream for this greenway needs to be developed since the petition and some funding has been dedicated to its construction. Fare free funding zones need to be subsidized, or a cost benefit analysis needs to be done, since folks may not ride the buses (non-captive), if the buses are not on time, and ways need to be devised to “police” the system against abuse.

Downtown parking is a low priority, since vehicle use is the focus of decks and the primary users are usually from out of town. Accommodations fees may need to be considered to fund these types of tourism-oriented impacts/demand for infrastructure. If locals are using these decks, then employers are allowed to contribute up to $230 per month for employee transportation and perhaps “park and ride” lots need to be explored as well as transportation in the CBD near major employers like banks, hotels, etc. in the downtown area.


Gwen Wisler, City Council Candidate

Gwen Wisler

Will you participate in “Step Right Up,” AoB’s primary candidate forum on Monday, Sept. 25th at Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St.?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

If you participate in the general election, will you participate in “Get There AVL,” AoB’s general candidate forum on Thursday, Oct. 26th at the Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

Tell us something about your transportation habits. How do you most often get around Asheville?
I walk, ride my bike and use my car. I use transit infrequently.

Please identify one way in which you’ve worked to make Asheville safer for pedestrians, transit users, and / or cyclists. Share the outcome for the community and what you learned.

I am a bicycle safety instructor. I teach people in connection with Blue Ridge Bike Club, Asheville on Bikes, Buncombe Bike Ed and bike rodeos. Through this teaching, I’ve seen people become more confident riding in traffic. This has opened up transportation choices for people.

What are your thoughts regarding the Asheville In Motion Plan (AIM)? Identify one strength and one weakness of the plan.

Public input was extensive = strength
Lack of prioritization and funding = weakness

Rank these five projects in order from most important to least important (order below reflects candidate ranking, with 1 being the highest priority):

  1. Livingston St complete street treatment
  2. Additional Downtown Parking
  3. Protected bicycle facilities on Lyman St
  4. Beaucatcher greenway
  5. Fare Free Transit Zones

Elaborate on your prioritization list. Explain your ranking.

So many of these have caveats, I’m not clear that the Living St complete street treatment has been fully vetted by the community, Beaucatcher is very expensive so I’m not sure how feasible it is under its current plan. The reason I ranked downtown parking 2 is that it seems to be a high priority issue for downtown businesses but I think that will be relieved by the addition of the Buncombe County parking deck and some of the new facilities that are currently planned. I would like to explore free or reduced transit for residents of Asheville.


Esther Manheimer, Candidate for Mayor

Esther Manheimer (current Mayor)

Will you participate in “Step Right Up,” AoB’s primary candidate forum on Monday, Sept. 25th at Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St.?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

If you participate in the general election, will you participate in “Get There AVL,” AoB’s general candidate forum on Thursday, Oct. 26th at the Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

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

Drive and walk.

Please identify one way in which you’ve worked to make Asheville safer for pedestrians, transit users, and / or cyclists. Share the outcome for the community and what you learned.

Funded transit, transportation, sidewalk, greenway, bike lane and street improvements.

What are your thoughts regarding the Asheville In Motion Plan (AIM)? Identify one strength and one weakness of the plan.

Planning is the first step to realizing needed improvements. The strength of AIM is the integration of the different modes of transportation. The weakness is always a need for more funding.

Rank these five projects in order from most important to least important (order below reflects candidate ranking, with 1 being the highest priority):

  1. Protected bicycle facilities on Lyman St
  2. Livingston St complete street treatment
  3. Fare Free Transit Zones
  4. Beaucatcher greenway
  5. Additional Downtown Parking

Elaborate on your prioritization list. Explain your ranking.

The Lyman Street plan is slated as a top priority for city funding. Livingston Street is equally important but needed water system enhancements in the area have delayed a start of construction date. Fare free transit is of interest to council, but the planning and funding must be addressed before consideration, Beaucatcher greenway has already been put out to bid but costs are too high and portions must be reengineered and additional grant funding sought before construction can begin, and the construction of an additional parking deck is probably the most challenging item on this list from a land acquisition, funding, council and community support perspective.


Martin Ramsey, Candidate for Mayor

Martin Ramsey

Will you participate in “Step Right Up,” AoB’s primary candidate forum on Monday, Sept. 25th at Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St.?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

If you participate in the general election, will you participate in “Get There AVL,” AoB’s general candidate forum on Thursday, Oct. 26th at the Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St?

Assuming I advance through the primary, I will attend.

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

My family does commute by car often. I regularly use the city bus system to commute to work. I cycle for pleasure.

Please identify one way in which you’ve worked to make Asheville safer for pedestrians, transit users, and / or cyclists. Share the outcome for the community and what you learned.

Honestly, as an activist, transit has not been a specific focus of mine. While I am supporter and user of the bus system and bicycle infrastructure, the focus of my community work, writing, and activism has largely been economic justice rather than advocating for cycling.

What are your thoughts regarding the Asheville In Motion Plan (AIM)? Identify one strength and one weakness of the plan.

Generally, I support AIM. I think that one of the strengths of the plan is including social equity into the process. Asheville’s black communities have been underserved in regards to transit infrastructure of all kinds and it is a matter of basic justice to see that poorer areas of our city are allocated resources to improve bus service, walkability and separate facilities for cycling similarly to tourist heavy or wealthier neighborhoods.

One of the weaknesses of the plan is in considering ‘community vibrance’. While improving infrastructure of all kinds, transit and multimodal included, we as a community and city need to check the speculation on land value that tends to accompany it to make sure that the most vulnerable citizens are not priced out of the places they call home.

Rank these five projects in order from most important to least important (order below reflects candidate ranking, with 1 being the highest priority):

  1. Livingston St complete street treatment
  2. Fare Free Transit Zones
  3. Protected bicycle facilities on Lyman St
  4. Beaucatcher greenway
  5. Additional Downtown Parking

Elaborate on your prioritization list. Explain your ranking.

As a first step in reparation to the black citizens of Asheville, we need to make sure that infrastructure is repaired in our poor neighborhoods instead of ignoring them. Next we need to provide public transit free at the point of delivery. Providing separated facilities for cyclists opens up using a bike for transit to families, the elderly, and basically anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable sharing roadspace with delivery trucks. Further down the list is the Beaucatcher greenway, which while a laudable project that I’d like to see funded needs to be considered in context with these other issues.

As far as parking in downtown, expanding parking in that area is a subsidy to car makers and owners. Valuable, centrally located, transit accessible property in downtown should not be utilized to store cars. As some one who cares for the future of our shared environment, car infrastructure should be de-prioritized in favor of mass transit and a walkable livable city and future.


Jonathan Wainscott, Candidate for Mayor

Jonathan Wainscott

Will you participate in “Step Right Up,” AoB’s primary candidate forum on Monday, Sept. 25th at Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St.?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

If you participate in the general election, will you participate in “Get There AVL,” AoB’s general candidate forum on Thursday, Oct. 26th at the Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

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

I have been using my truck for all purposes of driving, working an playing, sometimes festooned with gold Bastet (Egyptian goddess) statues, but I have since added a 6-speed manual Toyota Celica GTS that is obnoxious yellow to haul my twin Leo cubs around in Hotwheels fashion that’s fun for 7 year old boys and their 46 year old dad who is tired of driving El Pickup everywhere. Sometimes we use El Pickup as a stage to play music in any parking space that will have us, or use it to carry our canoe up the French Broad River, or load up on building materials from Lowes.

Please identify one way in which you’ve worked to make Asheville safer for pedestrians, transit users, and / or cyclists. Share the outcome for the community and what you learned.

I have taken a weed-eater to remove some of the overgrowth of vegetation that creates sight impediments to traffic in my neighborhood, but that’s like manage a flood with a tablespoon.

What are your thoughts regarding the Asheville In Motion Plan (AIM)? Identify one strength and one weakness of the plan.

My thoughts are that a 172 page plan (at least that’s what my computer is trying to download right now) is a lot of words to address the problem of crumbling streets that are overgrown with vegetation, and neighborhoods that are poorly connected to major thoroughfares because the street easements have been neglected for so long that sidewalk construction has become an unbelievably Herculean task. Make the streets smooth. Bring sidewalks to the neighborhoods. That is what is most needed to encourage use of bikes and our mass transit system. The barriers to bike safety and bus usage begin at the curbs (if you have one) in front of our home. Maybe we should spend more time with hedge trimmers and shovels in our hands than crafting 172 page plans.

Rank these five projects in order from most important to least important (order below reflects candidate ranking, with 1 being the highest priority):

  1. Livingston St complete street treatment
  2. Protected bicycle facilities on Lyman St
  3. Beaucatcher greenway
  4. Additional Downtown Parking
  5. Fare Free Transit Zones

Elaborate on your prioritization list. Explain your ranking.

A dollar is more than a fair price to pay for receiving the service of a bus ride. If I could provide something free to the citizens of Asheville it would be water. It’s a more fundamental requirement of life. That’s why fare-free transit is at the bottom of my list. Complete streets on Livingston Street will avail the residents of public housing unencumbered access to the prosperity of the booming RAD, so that’s at the top of the list. Since Lyman Street is ripe for warehouses and distribution centers that need to use the rail line and thus have access to tractor trailers as well, we’ll need protected bike lanes in that area so that’s why that’s up on the priority list. Adding parking downtown is like buying bigger pants to solve obesity.