Letter: Don’t turn Charlotte Street into Charlotte

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I have lived on Cherokee Road for more than 20 years and access Charlotte Street several times each day. As the Asheville area continues to grow, I can’t help but notice an increase in Charlotte Street/Chestnut Street traffic, especially in the last five to seven years. It only makes sense that the traffic has dramatically increased because of tourism and a growing population in North Asheville, including Reynolds Mountain, Woodfin and Weaverville.

With the Fuddruckers and 101 Charlotte St. proposals combined, traffic usage will minimally increase by an additional 4,700 car trips each day or nearly 2 million additional trips per year.
Please consider the following points:

• It is critical that City Council looks at the most current traffic data on Charlotte Street before making any judgments. It is my understanding that data presented to Council by the developers was gathered during 2020, while we were in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both local travel and tourism-based travel were well below normal during that 12- to 15-month window. I am sure you would all agree the data provided does not represent the normal traffic reality today on the Charlotte Street/Chestnut Street intersections. The April-July 2021 data would be a more realistic representation of normal usage and would certainly reflect more realistically the problems caused when considering the additional traffic demands that would be incurred with the new development projects being considered.

• Adding these proposed projects will not only increase the traffic congestion, but the increased traffic will increase the discharge of polluting exhaust fumes affecting the neighborhoods close to Charlotte Street.

• Business growth to the Merrimon Avenue corridor continues to put increased traffic pressure on Kimberly Avenue and other neighborhood streets as drivers try to avoid Merrimon Avenue backups going in and out of North Asheville. The natural result of this is to only add more traffic onto Charlotte Street, further complicating an already overtraveled corridor.

• There are several businesses on the Charlotte Street/Chestnut Street corridor, including some new ones. If the traffic issue gets worse, potential customers for all of these businesses are going to avoid stopping on Charlotte Street to shop or, worse yet, avoid the area altogether. That is not good for those businesses that have invested in the area. Additionally, both new projects plan to add several new businesses. Increasing the traffic may sound like a good idea, but if it becomes more of a hassle to travel into the neighborhood, then all the business will have trouble being successful.

• The increased backup of cars due to increased traffic flow will force many drivers to use the adjacent neighborhood streets to avoid getting stuck in the traffic. Many of these streets are residential and narrow, creating a hazard to families and children in those areas. We already have issues with cars speeding through our neighborhoods, hence current signs everywhere asking motorists to slow down.

• As tourism continues to grow in the Asheville area, traffic has also increased due to the added facilities and activities at the Grove Park Inn. Charlotte Street is the main corridor to Macon Avenue and the Omni resort, which will increase traffic and places a lot of stress on Charlotte Street.

• Assuming both the 101 Charlotte St. and the Fuddruckers property will be simultaneously under construction for a two- to three-year period, imagine what problems will be incurred by the surrounding neighborhoods during this period.

I urge City Council to take the time to review its decisions before making a huge mistake that will affect our neighborhoods for years to come. We need Council’s help controlling the growth of our neighborhoods.

— Ann McMartin

Editor’s note: A traffic impact analysis for the project (avl.mx/abx) indicates that “COVID factor calculations” were made to adjust for reduced traffic because of the pandemic.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

8 thoughts on “Letter: Don’t turn Charlotte Street into Charlotte

  1. luther blissett

    I’m now inclined towards a different proposal: build a large wall around that part of Asheville with a northern and southern gatehouse and 24/7 attendants to check the bona fides of people entering or exiting. This will be funded by every resident who has joined the campaign against 101 Charlotte, and will give them exactly what they want.

  2. Mike Rains

    The real opposition to 101 Charlotte (of which I claim membership) is not against “development” of that property or Fuddruckers across the street. What we are against is development at a size and scale that is totally inappropriate (and obviously detrimental) for the surrounding neighborhood and for the capacity/capability of Charlotte and connecting streets.

    A well thought out overlay development plan was developed some years back that approaches those issues appropriately. The “developers” want to ignore that work and want our city leaders to ignore that as well. Arguments/positions stated in comments above and taken to a further extreme would allow and support 100 story high rise towers on those properties. Heck, why even stop there. How about the tallest building in the world? After all, the “developers” have the right to maximize their profits, right?

    Good “development” should always balance the needs of the property owners with the needs of the existing area. The “need” of the property owners are money/profit/return on investment. When that “need” gets out of whack with the needs of the existing area, it’s rarely referred to as “greed”, but that is what it is, plain and simple.

  3. kw

    From this day forward, anyone who cavalierly calls fellow residents ‘nimbys’ for questioning out-of-scale developments must agree to have a few 5-story condos built beside them or in their own back yards.

    • luther blissett

      This is a weak argument. Nobody’s proposing to build this on Kimberly Ave or Evelyn Place, but that’s where you’ll see a bunch of “Save Charlotte Street” signs. Many of the most prominent preservationists live in nice houses on nice quiet residential streets well away from 101 Charlotte. Once you stretch the definition of “beside” to mean “anywhere within a half-mile radius” it stops being an objection to something in your own back yard.

  4. indy499

    The writer should make an effort to combine trips and not cross Charlotte St several times a day. Really generating a lot of the traffic herself.

  5. WNC

    Maybe if an extra traffic lane was added it would be helpful to the majority of citizens

  6. Wally

    It seems my take away from the debate about developments in Asheville always comes down to cars. Traffic seems to be the overwhelming concern, what if people in the city used their feet or bike instead of a motor vehicle? I’ve yet to get caught in a traffic jam when walking to and from my residence to places I frequent in and around town.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.