Asheville City Council approves Transit Master Plan (Citizen-reported via Twitter)

Asheville City Council voted this evening to approve the Transit Master Plan, without yet voting how to implement it. The following twitter-based report of the proceedings, by @ashevillebus, records much of the debate. However, readers should be aware @ashevillebus represents a group that has been advocating that Council approve the master plan. (A couple tweets were sent by Xpress reporter Brian Postelle, who was at the meeting also; his tweets are identified as coming from him).

Immediately after considering the master plan, Council discussed and voted unanimously to postpone for one week the cancellation of Asheville’s bus route serving Weaverville.

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Total cost of Asheville’s Transit Master Plan is $6.1 million, with the city being asked to provide $1.2 million. The price tag for Sun service alone is $200K 6:57 pm

Gene Bell, Asheville Housing Authority director, calls TMP most thorough project he’s ever been involved in. 6:57 pm

Consultant Robert Bush gives TMP highlights: He says both Sunday service and increased frequency figure prominently. 6:58 pm

Bush says the natural recommendation would be to double existing service, but the plan was crafted to be cost-efficient. 6:59 pm

Asheville resident Tom Tomlin, speaking in support of Grove Park Inn workers, calls the elimination of Saturday service to the resort a mistake. 7:40 pm

Paul VanHeden, of “Get There Asheville,” says TMP is not perfect, but he asks Council to approve it unchanged. 7:41 pm

VanHeden cites a study showing every dollar spent on transit will produce $3 in increased tax base. 7:42 pm

Newman moves to approve TMP with a provision that council would retain overview of fee changes. 7:44 pm

VanHeden asks for more service on US Highway 70; basic service to Carrier Park; an improved transit center; and a marketing budget. 7:44 pm

Jan Davis worries that supporters will interpret vote to approve the TMP as actual implementation. 7:45 pm

Newman clarifies the plan funding would be considered during the budget process. 7:45 pm

Mumpower warns that he’s about to stick his finger in the punchbowl. 7:46 pm

Kelly Miller says economic development (and federal funding) requires a robust multimodal plan. 7:46 pm

Mumpower says, “We’re stepping beyond all points of realism, and I will speak strongly against the legitimacy of the plan.” 7:48 pm

Newman says consultants’ report contradicts Mumpower; that there’s been a 110 percent annual ridership increase for last five years. 7:50 pm

Bellamy suggests an implementation committee should help council make tough decisions about route specifics 7:50 pm

Asheville City Council votes 6-1 to accept Transit Master Plan, reports Xpress reporter Brian Postell. Council will hear implementation options at its January retreat. 7:50 pm

Transit changes will not happen wholesale, tweets Xpress reporter Brian Postelle. They will be in parts, as opportunities and funding emerge. There’s talk of creating new committee to take on these issues. 7:52 pm

“OK, TMP fans,” tweets an ebullient @ashevillebus, “It’s time to start lobbying council to find the money to fund the plan.” 7:53 pm

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About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism.

4 thoughts on “Asheville City Council approves Transit Master Plan (Citizen-reported via Twitter)

  1. Jeff Fobes

    October 30th at Asheville Green Drinks
    – A Transit Vision for Asheville and Buncombe County
    Building on the Transit Master Plan discussions AVL Green Drinks has been having David and Joachim will be discussing the future of transit for Buncombe County. Many of you know David from his articles in the Mountain Xpress including his article about Trams vs. Trolleys:http://www.mountainx.com/features/2009/082609the_green_scene.

    David Johnson:
    Professor Emeritus of Planning, The University of Tennessee.; Fellow, American Institute of Certified Planners; PhD, Regional Planning, Cornell University, MCP and BA, Yale University. Resident of Asheville since 2000.

    Joachim Bruder:
    Independent Designer and Consultant specializing in Solar Passive Houses, Green Buildings, and Interior Design. Dipl.-Ing. in Architecture (equivalent to Master of Architecture) at the TUD, University of Darmstadt (Germany). He was also a non-degree student at the Ecole d’Architecture, Nancy (France). Co-founder of his architecture firm, he worked for 16 years as an architect in Germany. Resident of Asheville since 2008

  2. GoodGrief

    Did anyone actually get a picture of Mumpower sticking his finger in the punch bowl??
    I would have loved to have seen that.

  3. Piffy!

    i’ve got one of him sticking it somewhere else. it involves brownie newman, a goat, shad marsh, and bill clinton.

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