Asheville On Bikes

Step Right Up // John Miall Answers AoB’s Candidate Forum Questionnaire

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

I typically drive, ride my motorcycle, or walk (within a mile of home.)

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

In my lifetime, I-240 was significant in that it opened up Asheville. In more recent years the interest in multi-modal transportation has been an asset as well as a challenge.

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?

In my 30 years on staff with the City of Asheville, 15 of which were as Risk Manager I took part in numerous initiatives to improve transportation, improve pedestrian safety, and make Asheville more multi-modal friendly.

Among those initiatives I would note going back to the late 1980’s working with Julian Price and the Public Works Department to learn about pedestrian safety and how City infrastructure was not meeting those needs in many ways. Mr. Price was one of the first individuals in Asheville to see the need and bring it to the forefront.

With the advent of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) I worked extensively with every department of City government to assure compliance, and was one member of an interdisciplinary team including Public Works, Parks & Rec, and the Civic Center who created policies and funding to assure compliance.

Together with Parks & Rec I worked for over a year to secure approval, funding and underwriting approval from the City’s liability carriers to build the Skate Board Park at the intersection of Cherry St. and Broadway. Asheville was not the first City with such a facility, but I recall there were less than a dozen nationwide we could find at the time to model our plans after.

Lastly, I would note that in the course of my daily work as Risk Manager I dealt with claims for personal injury, property damage stemming from streets, sidewalks, and every form of transportation known to exist. If there were problems, I had to work with responsible departments to find solutions. Where there was not negligence of fault on the part of the City I had to work with the 3rd party adjusters, the City Attorney’s office and / or outside legal counsel to defend the public from claims that were without merit.

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

I-26 must be addressed. I know this is an unpopular stance in some quarters of the community, but I would note that the parking lot that passes presently for an interstate significantly impacts the community carbon footprint by producing more carbon from cars and trucks idling and going nowhere than if traffic were able to move expeditiously through that corridor to its destination.

Inside the City we have to find a balance in budgets to meet the competing needs for cyclists, and a crumbling street and sidewalk system. One mode of transportation cannot take priority over others, and City Council has to find the balance that over time will address all those competing needs.

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