Burton Street neighbors consider I-26 options: the Twitter report

A packed church in West Asheville’s Burton Street neighborhood signaled strong interest in Asheville’s planned I-26 connector — which, depending on what alternative is ultimately chosen, may take part of that neighborhood as roadway/right of way.

The March 9 meeting, held at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, was covered as it took place by two people: Xpress Multimedia Editor Jason Sandford (identified below as “mountainxpress”) and citizen reporter Jim Barton (“SmithMillCreek”).

The meeting was hosted by three groups: the Burton Street Neighborhood Association, the WNC Alliance and the Asheville Design Center. The ADC advocates alternate 4-b, which would minimize impacts on Burton Street.

Here’s the coverage, as it unfolded via Twitter, in 140-character tweets, on mountainx.com’s MXNOW citizen news feed:

mountainxpress: group of about 75 people took a sun-splashed tour of burton st. area.  6:34pm
mountainxpress: vivian conley led burton st tour, telling personal stories of many homes.  6:36pm
mountainxpress: inside st. paul’s church, about 100 people are listening to avl design center talk.  6:37pm
SmithMillCreek: Pews hold 110 people, 15 standing. Minicozzi giving slideshow 6:35pm 6:38pm
mountainxpress: the 100 or so people attending burton st. presentation crave up-to-date info.  6:38pm
SmithMillCreek: Joe Minicozzi says NCDOT ignores total life-cycle cost of bridge designs: land use, tax base, housing 6:47pm
mountainxpress: david gantt, chmn of buncombe county commissioners, is listening to burton st. presentation.  7:09pm
SmithMillCreek: 3rd spkr is Doug Ruley eco-lawyer evokes shouts from audience to fight for alt. 4b over 3 7:10pm
mountainxpress:former avl mayor leni sitnick urges people to make voices heard re burton st.  7:25pm
mountainxpress: petition is circulating, asking buncombe commissioners to revote on i-26 connector issue.  7:27pm
mountainxpress: burton st resident vivian conley says road discussion is taking emotional toll.  7:29pm
mountainxpress: vivian conley: if they can bail out wall street, they can bail out burton street.  7:30pm
SmithMillCreek: Gantt: “Fat lady hasn’t sung.” 7:42pm
mountainxpress: david gantt says he thinks dot misled commissioners about i-26 connector project.  7:42pm
mountainxpress: david gantt urges burton st. to work the gov and work new dot board memeber.  7:43pm
mountainxpress: avl mayor terry bellamy to address burton st crowd.  7:48pm
SmithMillCreek: Mayor Bellamy: “sounds like you all are on the ball. I’m here to answer questions.” 7:54pm
mountainxpress: the montford community will talk about the i-26 project impact on tues night.  7:59pm
mountainxpress: i-26 connector meeting will be 7 pm tuesday night at montford cmty center.  8:03pm
mountainxpress: hillcrest residents say they want an informational meeting on i-26.  8:06pm
mountainxpress: mayor terry bellamy urges burton st residents to contact dot engineers.  8:10pm
mountainxpress: mayor terry bellamy: we need more ashevillians on statewide boards.  8:11pm
mountainxpress: mayor bellamy: we need more civic engagement from asheville residents.  8:13pm
SmithMillCreek: Meeting about to adjourn. WNCA Dir. Julie Mayfield: “This is NOT a done deal. Need to keep at this.” 8:17pm


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8 thoughts on “Burton Street neighbors consider I-26 options: the Twitter report

  1. tatuaje

    I hope this isn’t going to be the extent of your coverage of this meeting. Twitter’s the hot item these days and all, but come on ya’ll, stop jumping on bandwagons and report the damn news…and the byline is attributed to ‘Anonymous’? Really? I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen that particular byline in any paper of note….

    This is a really important story to many people. It should be handled with a little bit more journalistic integrity. If you’re in a rush to get the story out and don’t have time to type up a proper article, I would rather see an unedited video of the meeting posted instead.

  2. Jeff Fobes

    Whoa, wait till you try the bandwagon. Some ride!

    Sorry about the “anonymous” byline. I had no idea it would show up like that. But to continue responding …

    I wrote the intro to this blog post in a flurry, while I set aside my dinner, because I was excited by the sort of triple-base, line drive that had just happened: the meeting coverage of, like you say, an important issue; using Twitter to get the word out as it happened; and Xpress’ first professional/amateur news-reporting collaboration. Not bad, I think; but I’ll take your passionate and quick comments as a sign that people care and expect a lot from Xpress.

    The reporting credits were duly identified as going to Jason Sandford and Jim Barton. I should have stood up to take the lumps for the opening remarks.

    And I’m figuring that there’ll be a story from Jason Sandford, who’ll file his story more on an”old-school journalism” schedule: tomorrow.

  3. As someone who desperately wanted to attend, but had obligations that precede community action, it was awesome to get up to date insights as if I was there. Especially reading it from two points of views (and even more would have been appreciated). I’m certainly no twitterholic & I recognize the value of a well researched report, but I enjoy the benefit of this instant journalist technique. It is proving to be quite useful & insightful.

  4. tatuaje

    Thanks, Jeff….

    Came across a little harsh in my response, but my basic premise stays the same in the harsh light of day.

    It’s true: I do care about and expect a lot from the Xpress. It has become THE publication of note for the area so I will hold ya’ll up to higher standards than, say, the ACT. (Which, admittedly, isn’t saying much, but…)

    I just hope that, while embracing this new technology, the Xpress doesn’t place too much reliance on it. It can serve a purpose, as JBo pointed out, and I did somewhat follow the Twitter sidebar during the meeting, but, and obviously this is just one man’s opinion, it is no replacement for a well written article or video documentation. It is too easy to take these little ‘tweets’ out of context or, because the ‘reporter’ is tweeting, to miss an important point altogether.

    I look forward to reading the complete acccount of the meeting. Because, like I said before, this is an important story for the area. I hope I haven’t distracted anyone from it.

  5. Jake

    tatuaje, I would characterize your first post as “rash” more than “harsh,” but rash is not good. I would appreciate it if we’d all give one another a little more consideration as we take on the entrenched interests of NCDOT and the A/B Chamber of Commerce. Lashing out at MtnX for twittering last night’s event simply does not make any sense at all.

    In fact, what we’re looking for in the whole I-26 discussion is more reason and thoughfulness, because that should lead to the conclusion that 4B is the way to go. So let’s support one another here, okay?

  6. William W.Dodge, III

    One of the most important parts of the well designed Alternate 4B is the separation of of local traffic from highway traffic. BILL DODGE

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