Asheville City Council preview: tobacco, bees, and streets

Streets are front and center for Asheville City Council at its meeting tonight, as the august governing body will consider both a “complete streets policy” and a traffic study for the Charlotte Street corridor. They’ll also tackle a tobacco ban at Bele Chere and whether Asheville should become the Inaugural Bee City, USA.

The Complete Streets policy would provide guidelines for the city to pursue future development and ordinance changes “to consider the needs of pedestrians, motorized and non-motorized vehicle users on every project” especially when it upgrades streets or sidewalks in a given area.

Council will also vote on a traffic engineering study for the Charlotte Street corridor, analyzing the area to see what improvements are necessary to make it more multi-modal. Reducing part of the street from four lanes to three is one option that’s been considered in the past, though neither staff or the city are currently committed to it. Previous studies have met with concerns from some local business owners about the effects of possible change in the area.

Also on the agenda is a vote on banning tobacco sponsors at the Bele Chere festival. Project ASSIST, a Buncombe County Health Department initiative, has pushed the idea, specifically as Camel cigarettes have had advertising at previous festivals.

As if all that weren’t enough, Council will consider whether Asheville should be designated as the Inaugural Bee (no, there’s not an “r” missing there) City, USA, “promoting healthy and sustainable habitats for honeybees and other pollinators.”

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