Letter writer: City transportation department impresses with pedestrian support

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Triple kudos to the city’s Transportation Department! How about this awesome pedestrian support happening right here in downtown Asheville! It happened just a few minutes ago, on April 2, not April 1, so it’s really true.

Construction of the expansion and remodeling of the Buncombe County Services Building [40 Coxe Ave.] is starting this week. In preparation for the two-year long closure of the east sidewalk on Coxe Avenue, between Aston and Commerce, north of the existing Social Services Building, Transportation Planner Barb Mee invited city traffic [signal shop] staff members Joel Tweed and Gary Proffitt and downtown pedestrians to a meeting on the street to discuss pedestrian safety and how the city could improve the resulting dilemma on the northern part of Coxe.

All three specialists came up with myriad suggestions and listened to pedestrian issues and their potential solutions, including those encountered by a blind person walking the streets with a cane to and from work. We visited relevant pedestrian lights with and without cross lights, audible and not, with knobby pads and without, with lowered curbs and without, in this windy and otherwise pleasant spring afternoon air for an entire hour, observing in situ the intricacies of each existing crosswalk.

And there are a good number of crosswalks in that area, yet each of them has its own challenges for a pedestrian who is walk-impaired. Some of the difficulties could be mitigated by encouraging motorized traffic to slow down, by extending the time the walk sign is up, or by adding an acoustic signal that would help the high traffic noise from rushing vehicles.

Only in Asheville! Such a meeting is so Asheville! Actually, that’s not quite true; it was possible in Seattle many years ago as well.

And if you have a need in your area to mitigate another traffic-related situation, try contacting Barb Mee. I know she will try everything in her power to listen and help. Or, you could attend the city’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Task Force run on a monthly basis under Ms. Mee’s auspices. For meeting details, send an email to Iwalk@ashevillenc.gov.

Thank you, Barb, for making this possible!

— Inge Durre


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.

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.