Letter: Bikes shouldn’t drive Charlotte Street revamp

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Every five years or so, the idiotic idea to reduce Charlotte Street to three lanes rears its head. This time, one of the arguments is that that by slowing (stalling) traffic, it will ultimately reduce the volume of cars. I don’t see less people moving here, so where exactly is this traffic avoiding Charlotte Street going?

Chestnut Street is already a challenge, and that is before a proposed five-story residential building at the Fuddruckers site. Or, as in Atlanta, will these cars simply cut through other residential side streets? Those of us who live in the neighborhood and constantly use Charlotte Street already know how three lanes function; we see it every time there is a water-main break or some other infrastructure problem that causes a lane closure — immediate traffic backup.

I am also struggling with how a single turn lane accessing both sides of the street would work. Unlike Hendersonville Road, which has many strip malls with common parking, thus allowing a single turn-lane access to multiple businesses, Charlotte Street has dense businesses, usually with individual parking. They can’t all have turn lanes, so wouldn’t this result in a lot of U-turn situations? If so, that would be truly horrible.

I get that Charlotte Street is not the most bike-friendly but would also bet that only one in a thousand vehicles on Charlotte is a bicycle; therefore, taking a car lane to create two bike lanes is like a pug tail wagging a Saint Bernard. Unlike cars, bicycles can use back neighborhood roads with little impact. I often take my scooter downtown and use different routes than when driving my car, so why can’t bikes?

— Steve Woolum
Asheville

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21 thoughts on “Letter: Bikes shouldn’t drive Charlotte Street revamp

  1. Jay Reese

    The correct term is cyclist. The reason cyclist want to take the direct route the same as an automobile is because their bicycle is a vehicle with same rights as a car. Why should a cyclist be forced to use side streets to avoid automobile when a simple redesign makes room for all vehicles? Street designs work best when built around the pedestrian and cyclist. The automobile has proven to be a burden to our neighborhoods and so it’s use must be reduced if we are to maintain an acceptable quality of life. By making it harder to drive a car while simultaneously providing alternative means of transportation the streets will once again belong to the people since the purpose of the street is to move people not just cars.

    Like it or not we are in the process of a transportation revolution that is slowly replacing the gas guzzling single occupant vehicle with more sustainable modes of active transit. It’s time for drivers to change their windshield perspective by getting out of their cars to see the world more clearly.

    • Lulz

      LOL nothing says idiocracy like that. Let’s say one day gas is replaced with hydrogen and cars are carbon neutral. Do you still make it hard for people to commute?

      • Jay Reese

        A single occupant car no matter the fuel source is a bane to our city’s transportation system.

        It’s already hard to commute due to too many single occupant vehicles on the road. Putting 25 people on a bus is 25 less cars clogging the streets

    • Ismael

      Dang it must be lonly up there on that high horse. Its easy to preach when one can be self serving. With geography like asheville, most people cant ride bikes and the transit system is and will always be run poorly. Very few people ride the bus because they want to. Half the neighborhoods cant even get bus service to them because aize of the streets.

      • Jay Reese

        Never said everyone needs to ride. All we are advocating for is safe access for those who can ride and walk.

  2. jason

    Bicycle lanes should be incorporated into ANY new road work within city limits. Not everyone owns cars, and this number will continue to dwindle as they are not important to millennials.

      • Curious

        Do cyclists pay a license fee, which contributes to road maintenance?

        • Jay Reese

          No but many cyclist also own cars and we all pay taxes into the general fund which subsidies infrastructure development due to the government under charging people for driving

      • Jay Reese

        We already do pay taxes. This is a bs argument and highlights the ignorance of those who try to use it as a argument against bike lanes. No one pays the full cost of their mode choice but since the bicycle causes the least amount of damages to the infrastructure it would seem cycling is the most sustainable form

    • Big Al

      Millennials will be driving cars too when their new friend Art Ritis meets them about age 40.

      • Lulz

        In the meantime they should continue to walk down the death trap known as Coxe. Nothing says promoting the flow of traffic like planters in the road, streets so narrow that open car doors protrude into the lane, and a bunch of alcohol fueled nitwits. Not one dimwit took into consideration that delivery trucks, semi trucks, and cars use it. And that many of the larger vehicles now block one lane when they make their stops.

        Good job Asheville morons. You people are up there with Einstein in terms of brilliance. But we be progressive LOL. Naw, you people are showing yourselves to be totally out of touch with reality.

  3. Mike

    It’s the wrong target/fight to pick. The original letter writer is correct that there are perfectly viable alternatives to Charlotte for bike and pedestrian traffic. A vast majority of the county (Everything east of the tunnel. Almost everything north of Beaver Lake.Everything west of Haywood. Leicester. Fairview. Skyland. Arden.) has NO or very few viable alternatives for cyclists and pedestrians. Advocates, IMO, might consider focusing on these car islands- increasing public transit routes, bike lanes or greenways to link the more remote parts of the county to downtown and each other, etc. Doing this, btw, would also provide access to the more affordable housing that is often available in more remote parts of the county but people cannot choose because they don’t own a car.

  4. Slim

    Instead of increasing the size of the very small sidwalks on Charlotte St., they have to put in a bike lane for the minority. Seems like AOB and the city are self serving when it come to the real needs of the people who live in the Charlotte St neigborhoods. Cant even get a wheel chair down parts of the sidewalks due to size and the fact there is power pole in the center of the sidewalk every couple hundered feet. But again bike lanes for the small monority that can actually commute.
    I have an idea, bikes should pay a license fee and tax in thier bikes to help pay for these bikes lanes. Exactly what cars have to. Bet a few tunes would change fast, if they had to pay for what they want!!

    • Jay Reese

      How is it that the Councul is self serving when It was the people in this neighborhood who advocated for the changes to allow safe access for all users. The council members represent the majority and we want a balanced transportation system designed around moving people not just cars. Hopefully you’ll read the link Luther supplied showing drivers don’t pay the full cost of their mode choice.

      I agree the sidewalks need fixed and not sure why it’s not being redesigned with the rest of the project. It may be part of another project and separate funding source

      • Citizen

        Sidewalks are not being expanded because there isn’t enough room with the bike lanes. Fuel taxes definitely need to go up to meet inflation but its still more then money from cars then bikes. I don’t think the majority of people vote, they represent those who care. I mean if your not a bleeding heart liberal, or a lawyer or you ran a non profit, you would never get elected in Asheville.

        • Lulz

          Amen. That’s why their views and reality often conflict with reality. These people have never had a real job. They live in a bubble of endless money that they neither sacrificed for or had to compete to get. Raise taxes for stupid projects? No problem because to them it’s a numbers game. But they fail to see what those increases do to those that actually pay them. And here’s a clue, if you work for the government, non-profit, or any entity that is paid with tax money, YOU DON”T PAY A DIME IN TAXES. Your income is FROM them. Period. If you are associated with government for your income, you should lose the ability to vote until you no longer are.

      • Lulz

        What majority? What are you talking about? Majority didn’t vote for your insanity. It’s the minority of people who push council into this crap. Did anyone go up and down Coxe Ave asking the people who are ACTUALLY there if they wanted half the street closed off? No, but you AOB goons went in front of some dimwit in council to get you way.

        • Jay Reese

          LOLZ A majority of those who voted chose the members we have now. These elected council members surveyed the citizens of Asheville on their views concerning transportation and development. A majority of the respondents wanted safe and effective access for all mode choices. This includes increased bus service, bike lanes and sidewalks. This is a fact that cant be altered by your asinine opinion.

          AOB did reach out to the business owners concerning this project. Signs were out up to explain the reason for the design changes in an attempt to educate the uniformed line yourself. I deleted my FB account because I grew weary of debating these common sense issue with people like yourself . I guess now I will have to stop reading this mag also. Please stop with your nonsense

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