Posts Tagged ‘transportation’

Lessons from New York City’s Pedestrian Renaissance

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

ASHEVILLE NC – Vaidila Satvika, formerly the Director of the NYC Plaza Program, will discuss the radical approach that is leading New York City to take back underutilized streets to make more space for people. In the densest city in the U.S., leaders are demolishing streets to build places for people to sit, for children to play, and for plants to grow. How is this possible? What lessons can we learn? And what is causing cities everywhere to think more seriously about the transportation paradigm?

The NYC example is rebalancing streets through a multimodal effort that has brought about bus rapid transit, a drastically expanded bicycle program, and renewed focus on the pedestrian experience throughout all of the city’s five boroughs, most notably at the center of Manhattan’s Times Square. The 180-degree turn for the Department of Transportation took effect because of a change of leadership. Although the city was ripe for pedestrian and bicycle improvements for many years, the significant changes took place only after a few visionary leaders were given the authority to turn the ship around.

In cities throughout the U.S., leaders are realizing that quality of life and resilient communities depend upon having various transportation options, which in turn has led to the explosion of bike share programs and efforts to consider pedestrians in planning streets and neighborhoods. Asheville is no different: bike lanes are few and sidewalks disappear and reappear throughout the city, but the streets are beginning to change. How can this city more fully awaken to the pedestrian and bicycle renaissance? What are Asheville’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to human-powered transport? What factors are determining whether the city is progressing at a reasonable rate? What can you do to be a part of Asheville’s transportation transformation?

Date: 02/09/2015

Time: 6:30 pm – 8:00pm

Place: St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Asheville NC

For more information, visit http://www.transitionasheville. org/events.

Oct 25 Symposium Transportation Planning

Friday, October 10th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Everyone needs to get around. That’s the simple idea behind Asheville In Motion, an evolving and exciting community-based initiative designed to increase access to all forms of transportation.

On October 25, the public is encouraged to participate in a symposium on Asheville’s transportation future. The event will feature a panel discussion, community exercises and opportunities to let the community know your biggest priorities for mobility in Asheville.

Input and information will become part of the city’s AIM mobility plan, which will meet Asheville’s growth and transportation needs by changing how we think about getting around.

“In the past, we have thought of sidewalks, bicycle infrastructure and streets as being in different silos,” says Transportation Manager Mariate Echeverry. “The best way to build a mobility network that gives attention to all forms of transportation is to examine them in a holistic, interconnected way.”

Better mobility means easier access to jobs, better neighborhood connectivity, a boost to business, and a safe, healthy, sustainable transportation system. Help Asheville take AIM at the future of mobility by attending this exciting event.

The Asheville In Motion symposium will take place Saturday, October 25 in the U.S. Cellular Center Banquet Hall from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Find more information about Asheville In Motion here.

Big Changes Coming to the ART

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Beginning January 1, 2015, Asheville Redefines Transit will begin offering service on Sundays and improved service to the Emma and Oakley sections of Asheville.

“Sunday service is at the top of our list for enhancements to the system, and was included as a high priority in the Transit Master Plan,” said Transportation Manager Mariate Echeverry. “This will provide riders more options to get to their workplace and to make needed trips on Sunday.”

Sunday service earned the highest scores in a 2008 Rider Survey and in a follow up survey conducted in 2013. The addition of Sunday service means that ART will operate every day of the year except Christmas, Thanksgiving Day and Easter.

Asheville City Council approved funding for the change in the 2014/2015 budget and the step meets the city’s goals of constant improvement and excellent service as well as Council’s Strategic Goal of supporting multimodal transportation.

“The City’s commitment to increased service will make a major impact on the daily lives of thousands of people,” said Adam Charnack, Vice-Chair of Asheville’s Transit Committee. “Investments like these attract even more riders and we look forward to building on this momentum.”

As part of the implementation of these changes, the City of Asheville will host a public meeting to receive comments and feedback on Wednesday, August 20 from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. in the 4th Floor Training Room of the Municipal Building, 100 Court Plaza.  The meeting will be a drop-in format to take public comment on the most effective times and routes for these improvements.

The meeting will also address changes in response to rider requests that the ART operate direct routes from downtown to the Oakley and Emma areas.

The public can weigh in on changes to the ART system at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ART14 or submit comments by August 25, 2014, to iride@ashevillenc.gov or mail to Mariate Echeverry, Transportation Planning Manager, City of Asheville, P.O. Box 7148, Asheville NC 28802.

Paper surveys are also being distributed and collected at the ART Station and in the Emma community to gather as much feedback as possible.

Since the Transit Master Plan launch in 2008, enhancements outlined in that plan have been implemented as funding is secured. Service enhancements that have been implemented include new branding, increased frequency on major corridors, holiday service, increased service on Tunnel Road, 10 new shelters, route schedule improvements and the launch of the NextBus arrival notification system.

For more information about Asheville Transit call (828) 253-5691, e-mail iride@ashevillenc.gov or visit www.ridetheart.com.

Closed Bridge on I-240 July 8-10 Concerns Local Business Owners

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – I-240 Eastbound in Asheville will be closed in several sections due to reparations of one bridge (the first of seven planned). The closing is expected 6:30 pm Friday until 6:30 am Monday from the intersection of I-40 and I-240 to the Brevard Rd exit. More weekend closures are expected through the summer season, with detours possibly directing people toward Tennessee rather than back into Asheville after the detour. Asheville citizens and business owners are concerned about delays and upsetting tourism during this busy summer season. The Department of Transportation had postponed the roadwork last fall because of the issue of disrupting tourism during the busy peak season with leaves changing in the area that draws so many visitors to Asheville and the surrounding areas.  July, however, is yet another big tourism time for businesses in Asheville, so many are wondering why the work was not done in a slower trafficked time of year. DOT reports that considerations were made not to closer roads during the July 4th weekend or during the Bele Chere festival weekend in Asheville.

Traffic Pattern Change Scheduled for area of South Lexington Avenue in Downtown Asheville

Monday, June 13th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – The City of Asheville will resurface South Lexington Avenue between Patton Avenue and Aston Street the third week in June.  The contractor will begin milling the pavement on Sunday, June 19 and the repaving will begin the week of June 20.  The project is expected to be complete by Thursday, June 23, weather permitting.  Intermittent street and sidewalk closures between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. will be required to complete the resurfacing process.

Once the work is complete, there will be a bicycle lane on the east side of the street, and the right turn lane to Patton Avenue will be removed.  This will separate slower moving bicycles going up the hill from the faster moving motor vehicle traffic.  Bicycles and motor vehicles will merge to share the lane on Lexington Avenue beyond Patton Avenue, and on the downhill side of South Lexington Avenue.  The goal of the project is to reduce traffic conflicts and make South Lexington Avenue safer for all travelers.

Questions or comments can be directed to Neighborhood Coordinator Marsha Stickford at mstickford@ashevillenc.gov or 828.259.5506.

Strive Not to Drive Kicks off with Free Bus Fares

Thursday, May 12th, 2011
ASHEVILLE, NC – The City of Asheville will waive bus fares on all Asheville Transit routes May 16-20 in support of Strive Not to Drive week. The free fare week is geared toward encouraging Asheville residents to seek out alternative forms of transportation and introducing new riders to the city’s transit system.

“We want to make it easier for people to give transit a try,” said Transportation Planning Manager Mariate Echeverry. “Strive Not to Drive week is a great time to join others in the community in leaving the car at home and seeking out new ways to get around.”

Past promotions have indicated that waiving fares is an effective way to get more people to board the bus. In 2007, the City of Asheville conducted a three-month free-fare period that resulted in a 23 percent increase in ridership over the course of the promotion. Asheville Transit is currently examining even more strategies for bringing more people onto the bus.

Read more of this story on the City of Asheville’s blog at http://coablog.ashevillenc.gov/.

Asheville Regional Airport Wins Award for Best General Aviation Project

Friday, April 29th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) was awarded the General Aviation Project of the Year by the Southeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives at their annual meeting in Mobile, Ala. last week.

AVL was recognized for its creative use of a regional partnership to efficiently, effectively and safely conduct a major fill project that created 15 usable acres of aeronautical use land on the airport campus, on the north side near Interstate 26. The fill project combined the resources and talents of multiple organizations to design and undertake an EPA-encouraged beneficial use program utilizing coal combustion by-products (called CCBs) for engineered-fill material. The project allowed the airport to import 840,000 cubic yards of CCBs from the nearby Progress Energy electric generating plant. This eliminated the need to utilize the earth’s natural resources while creating the additional acres of buildable land – all at a significant cost savings to the airport.

In the process of generating electricity, coal-fired power plants such as Progress Energy’s Asheville Plant, generate CCBs. As part of Progress Energy’s commitment to the environment, the company seeks to reuse the by-products in a safe and responsible manner. The airport’s fill project – which not only provided a location for the CCBs, but also did so while exceeding recommended environmental and engineering requirements – was a perfect match for the reuse of the material.

“The partnership between the Airport and Progress Energy was beneficial for us both. Progress Energy found an environmentally-sound way to reuse the coal combustion by-product, and the Airport saved millions of dollars in costs that traditional fill methods would have required,” said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., Airport Director. “The airport industry recognized that our project was a creative solution for all involved, and I am pleased with their recognition of our project.”

The Southeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives consists of over 450 members from 12 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The association is guided by a nine-member Board of Directors, and is committed to promoting the professionalism and financial stability in the administration of airports.

Asheville Airport Announces Non-stop Flights to Philadelphia

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – Asheville Regional Airport Authority (ARAA) is pleased to announce new non-stop service on US Airways to Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) beginning May 8, 2011.

The flight will operate on Sundays, with varying departure times—all morning flights.

This will be the third destination offered by US Airways, which currently operates several flights a day to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT), and one daily flight to LaGuardia International Airport (LGA).

Also in May, AirTran will return its non-stop flight to Tampa International Airport (TPA), and will offer the flight four days each week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 3:20 p.m. and Sundays at 2:37 p.m. The Tampa flight, previously a seasonal service, is now scheduled as a year-round service, and joins Orlando as the second non-stop destination provided by AirTran.

On June 9, American Airlines returns its seasonal flight from Asheville Regional Airport to Dallas Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW). The service will be daily, with a 4:30 p.m. departure time.

City to Present Hybrid Bus at Meeting for People with Impaired Vision

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – The Transportation Department and the Asheville Low Vision Support Group are working together to give people with impaired vision an opportunity to become familiar with the city’s new hybrid diesel-electric buses.

The Asheville Low Vision Support Group is sponsored by Mission Hospitals and is the largest group of its kind in the city.

A hybrid bus will be presented to its members at their next monthly meeting, set for 11:30 a.m. Friday at First Baptist Church, 5 Oak St.

The meeting is an opportunity for people who are blind or who have low vision to hear how the new buses sound in operation and at the bus stop. Members will also be able to board and familiarize themselves with the inside of the vehicle.

“Hybrid cars can be a problem for people who listen for traffic rather than see it,” said Barb Mee, transportation planner for the city’s pedestrian and bicycle services. “The idea of buses that use hybrid technology made some people fearful that they wouldn’t be able to hear them, either. I wanted to give people a chance to get to know the new buses in a low-stress environment. I’m grateful to the Asheville Low Vision Support Group for hosting this event and to our transit system managers for making the hybrid available.”

Norman C. Schenck, general manager of Asheville Transit, said his staff wants to do its part to help all members of the community feel comfortable riding the bus.

“This outreach is an effort to make sure that questions about the new bus can be answered in a positive, hands-on way, without worrying about the bus having to take off on its route,” he said.

City Launches “Asheville Redefines Transit” Campaign

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – The City of Asheville is making changes to the transit system over the next few months, based on recommendations from transit riders, business leaders and citizens.

The changes are part the “Asheville Redefines Transit” campaign and will be shared with the community at a public forum from 4-7 p.m. March 28 in the Municipal Building, located at 100 Court Plaza, downtown.

The meeting will be in the 4th floor training room. It will be organized as a drop-in, so that people can come at any time to receive information about the campaign, which is being undertaken in four stages:

  1. Listening to the community
  2. Focusing on sustainability
  3. Providing more frequent and reliable service
  4. Supplying more and better information

Stage 1, “Listening to the community,” will be kicked off at the March 28 meeting.

Staff will collect residents’ feedback on the following proposed changes:

Increased frequency on main corridors:

  • Haywood Road
  • Tunnel Road
  • Merrimon Avenue
  • Biltmore Avenue
  • Patton Avenue
  • Improved route performance
  • Reduced number of deviations
  • Elimination of Dial-a-Rides
  • Changes to all routes and bus stops
  • Combining day and evening service
  • Adding more transfer points outside of downtown
  • Two cross-town routes
  • New service areas: ABCCM and Land of Sky Region Council

Attendees will also be able to view new draft maps and the Asheville Redefines Transit campaign website.

This meeting is a continuation of the Transit Master Plan process begun in 2009-2010, which included three public meetings and the completion of more than 800 resident surveys. City Council approved the changes recommended in the plan in October 2009.

The full Transit Master Plan can be viewed at www.ashevilletransit.com.

To receive Transit email updates, send a request to iride@ashevillenc.gov.