Interest in cycling has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but funding for bike-friendly roads faces an uphill battle, both in Asheville and across the state.
Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Chair Brownie Newman lists land use policy as a top priority for the new commission, sworn in on Dec. 7. Board members will likely revisit the county’s land use plan, a document originally developed in 1998 and last updated in 2013, in response to rapid community growth.
“We’ve stressed the importance of not dismissing our medical professionals, the elderly and other such integral members of the community. Let’s not forget our fellow criminals.”
Board members will consider spending an additional $650,000 to connect the bridge to existing roads at the board’s regular meeting in Room 326 at 200 College St. Buncombe officials previously allocated $3 million in taxpayer money for the structure, which was started over four years ago and has yet to carry traffic over Hominy Creek.
Beginning next week, contractors will begin installing roadside signs and safety barriers on an approximately 18-mile stretch of Interstate 26, the first step in a $534 million project that will add multiple lanes to the heavily trafficked road. The N.C. Department of Transportation anticipates that construction will wrap up by the summer of 2024.
At least 35 bears have been struck and killed since May 2018 in the 28-mile stretch of I-40 between the Maggie Valley exit and the Foothills Parkway in Tennessee. The Pigeon River Gorge Wildlife Connectivity Project, a joint effort of at least 19 governmental and nonprofit groups, is working to bring that death rate down.
The I-26 Connector project, an almost $1 billion overhaul of the highway system in and around Asheville, is one of 37 Division 13 projects that have been changed in a new draft State Transportation Improvement Program for 2020-29. The draft STIP identifies state transportation projects that will receive funding over a 10-year timeframe.
The N.C. Department of Transportation and the city of Asheville have announced a plan to conduct a corridor study prior to planning improvements for Merrimon Avenue.
2019 prediction: Town of Biltmore Forest will greatly expand its influence in county government by allowing trees to vote.
Asheville’s human population growth has been matched by an increase in the number of vehicles on the region’s roads. Efforts to accommodate the resulting traffic — or move people around the city in different ways — were at the heart of many new developments in 2018.
To alleviate congestion and improve traffic flow, the N.C. Department of Transportation is in the early planning stages for widening Sweeten Creek Road from Rock Hill Road to Hendersonville Road.
“In a time when pollinators are in decline and environmental degradation high, surely the shredding mower can’t be that much more trouble (I hate that thing too, by the way).”
Is it possible that some engineers from the NCDOT’s Division 13 office noticed their ears were burning on the evening of Jan. 23? While neighbors met in North Asheville to plan a push opposing what they see as rushed and inappropriate plans for widening a portion of Merrimon Avenue, City Council members decried the NCDOT’s lack of engagement and directed staff to develop a statement outlining the city’s concerns.
“Is it going to take someone being killed before we can get some relief from this problem?”
“You would think you were at a drag strip sometimes the way people open the throttle on their machines. It’s dangerous, it’s noisy, and it reminds me of aggressive drivers from big cities.”
“The idea of setting up a ‘trap’ to generate revenue by dinging the citizens of Buncombe is not in keeping with what our county is about. This practice creates a major traffic hazard far beyond a vehicle entering the expressed turn lane ‘too early.'”
“I am still stunned that Council has selected the highway with the largest footprint that will take the most land away from residential and business neighborhoods.”
“Thus far, the city has been blind to the obvious — that there’s nothing that can be done to minimize the impact of this flawed project. That’s why N.C. DOT won’t develop and share with the public any human-scale visuals that enable the public to know what this entire thing will look like once built.”