City Council adopts Close the GAP Plan during October 25, 2022 meeting

Press release from city of Asheville:

Asheville City Council at the October 25, 2022 meeting, adopted the Close the GAP Plans.  There are 3 plans, done at the same time in order to strengthen the pedestrian network. The plans are the City of Asheville’s existing Greenway (G), ADA Transition (A), and Pedestrian (P) plans.  The planning process began in 2019 and was led by the Transportation Department.

The plans create a pathway forward to address the 2036 Vision Priorities below:

  • An equitable and diverse community
  • A well-planned and livable community
  • Transportation and accessibility
  • A connected and engaged community.

The Plan’s vision is to make Asheville a place where vibrant, safe, and comfortable streets and greenways give everyone the opportunity to walk to their destinations and to enjoy the convenience and health benefits of walking. Close the GAP has 10 goals and 56 recommended action items to complete the vision. The City of Asheville will utilize this plan to prioritize and seek funding for future projects.

Community engagement made these plans possible. Preferences and project ideas were identified by residents, community members, visitors, and local interest groups. While COVID-19 limited the amount of face-to-face interaction the team was able to work through limitations and shift the approach to achieve broad feedback and engagement.  Input was received through surveys, virtual public meetings, and media campaigns. Additional engagement was implemented to reach the Spanish speaking community and legacy neighborhoods.

The Greenway Plan (G)  introduces two new types of greenways: Neighborhood Greenways, which will use various techniques to enhance pedestrian safety on neighborhood streets; and natural surface trails for recreation and quicker links in neighborhoods.

The ADA Transition Plan (A) aligns projects with needed improvements to make Asheville ADA accessible.  This includes improvements to crosswalks, curb ramps, push buttons, and access to bus stops.  The implementation of the ADA Transition Plan will include an annual report that will show the City’s implementation progress and spending within a 5-year period that will correspond with the City’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).

The Pedestrian Plan (P) introduces a method to prioritize construction through a scoring system based on 4 criteria:

  1. Destination & Equity
  2. Safety
  3. Connectivity
  4. Public Input.

The scores determine the need for new sidewalks and ADA repairs. The Pedestrian Plan focuses on new sidewalks and accessibility facilities.

Thank you to our team of consultants from Traffic Planning and Design, Inc; Accessible Design for the Blind; Melissa Anderson, PE; and Equinox Environmental who helped develop the plans.

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