Transit plan in transit

Change is afoot as the Asheville Transit System moves closer to completing a Transit Master Plan. On Thursday, April 2, consultants from HDR Engineering will present recommendations based on the public input gathered since January concerning potential transit improvements.

On the dock: more frequent service on Patton Avenue, Haywood Road and Tunnel Road and a route that connects east and west Asheville.

The suggestions come on the heels of a groundswell of public comment collected via a well-attended input session, online and print surveys, and e-mails that keep coming even though the deadline has passed, Marketing Coordinator Paul Van Heden reports.

That kind of response is important, he says, because the transit system’s success ultimately depends on customer satisfaction. “This is one of those times when public comment is absolutely critical,” Van Heden declares. “Without public comment, we are dead in the water.”

The April 2 forum is just the next step in the process, he notes. Once a draft plan is written, it will still need tweaking before it comes before City Council for consideration sometime this summer.

The event will also give residents another chance to push for changes in the city’s bus service.

“The hope is that the public will point out shortfalls in the overall plan before the report is complete,” interim Transit Manager Mariate Echeverry said in an e-mail. That seems likely, considering the public’s substantial and critical response to another evolving document: the Downtown Master Plan.
Preliminary recommendations for the Transit Master Plan will be presented Thursday, April 2, from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Asheville Civic Center’s Banquet Hall.

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