Following its “Sidewalk Summit” last month, east Asheville pedestrian advocacy group Sidewalks for Safety is planning a Saturday, May 22, demonstration to draw attention to its cause of getting more sidewalks installed in its neighborhoods. Studies by the organization show east Asheville has only 7 percent of the city’s sidewalks.
The march will take participants along a stretch of Tunnel Road known as the “Goat Trail,” where local veterans have worn down the grass along the side of the road walking between the Veterans Restoration Quarters and the VA Medical Center.
“This stretch is a particularly dangerous area,” says organizer Chris Pelly, president of the Haw Creek Community Association. “It’s a stretch that’s being used by pedestrians everyday — the goat trails attest to that. However, other than in front of the VA Medical Center and the Ingles, there’s virtually no sidewalk.”
To help demonstrate the issue, Pelly points to a video the group made of vets walking the trail:
Pelly says the group hopes the march will help put pressure on city officials to make installing sidewalks in east Asheville a higher priority.
“The idea is to put out there for the greater community and to the political leadership, the depth of feeling regarding this issue,” he says. “We think people are ready to have this discussion about how we improve sidewalks in Asheville. That’s a heartening thing.”
The public march will begin at 9 a.m. at the Groce Methodist Church at 954 Tunnel Road.