Billing the event as a “Sidewalk Summit,” East Asheville residents are holding a community meeting to make the case for pedestrian improvements in their neighborhoods. The public gathering will be held at Bell Elementary School on Monday, April 19, at 7 p.m.
City staff from the Asheville Planning and Transportation departments as well as representatives from the N.C. Dept. of Transportation will be on hand to hear residents’ concerns.
“The point is to make the case to them that we’ve got a real need in the community,” says Chris Pelly, President of the Haw Creek Community Association. “The thinking here is we’ve got to get their attention.” According to Pelly, local residents are particularly concerned with a section of Tunnel Road east of I-240 that’s currently lacking sidewalks. “People walking in a five-lane road is not a safe situation,” he says.
While Pelly acknowledges that Asheville’s Pedestrian Master Plan already calls for improvements, he feels the meeting is needed to help “get the wheels in motion. We’ve only gotten a small portion of what we actually need,” he says.
According to Pelly, just 7 percent of the city’s sidewalks are currently located in East Asheville, while North Asheville has 42 percent, West Asheville has 28 percent, and South Asheville has 23 percent.
The meeting is sponsored by homeowners’ associations from Beverly Hills, Haw Creek, Parkway Forest, Redwood Forest and View Pointe.