It is hardly news: the citizens of Asheville want sidewalks in their communities.
Beginning as far back as 1998, petitions were begun in south Asheville for sidewalks. Since that time, south Asheville has seen a huge increase in development. But development must be balanced with livability. We have had plenty of the first but little of the second.
South Asheville has waited long enough for sidewalks. In an effort to jump-start progress, at least 10 south Asheville neighborhoods are hosting a “Walk South Asheville” public hearing at Carolina Day School, Monday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. City and state transportation officials have been invited to hear firsthand the reality of walking in south Asheville in 2011.
Currently, along the 2.5 miles of Hendersonville Road from Long Shoals Road to the Blue Ridge Parkway, approximately 40 percent has existing sidewalks on one side or the other.
Many of the pedestrians walking along Hendersonville Road are trying to get to or from a bus stop. Others are using their only available form of transportation (walking) to get to the grocery store, drugstore or their place of employment. There is a need for crosswalks at all stoplights and a continuous sidewalk from Long Shoals Road to I-40.
A few days ago, a young mother was seen pushing a baby stroller with one hand and holding the hand of a toddler with the other while they walked along Hendersonville Road near Earth Fare. As the sidewalk ended they were forced to walk along the edge of the road.
There are hundreds of residences and several residential neighborhoods less than a mile from four public schools in south Asheville and yet no safe way for students to walk. A crosswalk was installed at the intersection of Springside and Overlook roads, but little to no sidewalks to use after crossing.
Sidewalks are expensive, but when planning for the future, providing citizens with an economical, healthy and safe way to travel seems more prudent today than ever.
Be aware of what issues are important to the city representative that you elect. No matter what side of Asheville you live in, come support south Asheville’s request for walkability at the “Walk South Asheville” meeting.
— Molly Pritchard, Biltmore Park; Janna Forst, Oak Forest; Steve Montagna, Pebble Creek; Mack Cox, Crowfields
Tom Rightmyer, Deerfield; Richard Shaw, Devonshire
Kateena Simmons, Carson Creek; Barbara Wallk, Racquet Club; Dianne Clinton, Deerwood; Terry Van Duyn, Biltmore Forest; Norma Baines, Shiloh