Bicycle and Pedestrian Services

Bicycling and walking are transportation modes that offer benefits beyond just getting from one place to another.  Active transportation modes not only get you where you are going, but offer additional benefits like improved health, a cleaner environment, and a healthier economy.    

The city can be a great place for bicycling and walking. In addition to a mild climate, it has the ingredients and desire to make walking and bicycling attractive to people for trips like commuting, shopping, and recreation.  Asheville has been recognized as both a silver level Walk Friendly Community and bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community.

The purpose of the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Services is to increase bicycle and walking opportunities for all residents of all ages and abilities. By improving bicycling, walking and rolling conditions, it helps everyone lead safe, active and healthy lives.

The following sections on this page contain additional information and weblinks to various resources that align with the bicycling and pedestrian services provided within the City’s Transportation Department.

Complete Streets

2022 GAP Plan

2016 Asheville In Motion Mobility Plan

2008 Comprehensive Bicycle Plan

2005 Pedestrian Plan

Neighborhood Sidewalk Policy

Pedestrian and Bicycle Counts

Bike Locker Locations

NCDOT Pedestrian & Bicycle Road Safety Audits

Get Involved

 

If you would like additional information about bicycle planning, pedestrian planning and/or related policies in the City of Asheville please contact:

Anna Sexton, Urban Planner 

asexton@ashevillenc.gov

828-232-4540

 


Complete Streets

The City adopted a complete streets policy in 2012.  You can review the policy here.

What are Complete Streets?

Complete streets are streets for everyone. They are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Complete streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work. They allow buses to run on time and make it safe for people to walk to and from transit stops.

By adopting a Complete Streets Policy, Asheville’s City Council directed city planners and engineers to routinely design, maintain, and operate streets to enable safe access for all users, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation. This means that with every transportation project we seek to make the street network better and safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and motor vehicle drivers and passengers.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has also adopted a complete streets policy. You can read about that at  completestreetsnc.org.

What does a “complete street” look like?

There is not a single design for a complete street; each can be different and should be context sensitive based on the unique conditions and needs of the community. Examples of complete streets in Asheville include College Street near City Hall and Central Avenue. The elements of complete streets may include sidewalks, bicycle facilities, comfortable and accessible public transportation stops, frequent and safe crossing opportunities, median islands, accessible pedestrian signals, curb extensions, narrower travel lanes, roundabouts and more but some streets, especially low volume residential streets with a sidewalk and safe crossings are probably already “complete.”

Where can I learn more about complete streets?

More information is available from the National Coalition for Complete Streets at Smart Growth America

 


2022 GAP Plan

The City of Asheville is in the midst of a large project to update its Greenway Plan (G), ADA Transition Plan* (A), and Pedestrian Plan (P) (*By ADA transition we are specifically looking at accessibility improvements within the rights-of-way on our street network).

The planning process, known as the Close the GAP, identifies a network of the pedestrian, greenway, and accessibility networks for our community as well as programs and policies to support it. We combined these plans because the pedestrian network will be a stronger one if the three aspects:  greenways, ADA transitions, and pedestrian networks are planned at the same time.

Once adopted, the GAP Plan will replace the City’s Neighborhood Sidewalk Policy that was previously adopted in 2015 for prioritizing construction of neighborhood sidewalks. The prioritization methodology developed for the GAP Plan combines a destination score, an equity score, a connectivity score, and a safety score to aid in overall project development and prioritization.

 

 


2016 Asheville In Motion Mobility Plan

The City adopted its Asheville In Motion (AIM) Mobility Plan in 2016. 

AIM is designed to provide a cohesive strategy and method to prioritize transportation projects, with a goal of improving multimodal connections. This plan aligns the City’s existing pedestrian, bicycle, and transit plans and provides frameworks to consider as incremental decisions are made regarding Asheville’s transportation network.

Through this planning process, the City endeavored to create an effective and progressive plan that encourages health-oriented and sustainable transportation, reduces barriers to access transportation, and connects residents and visitors with the places they want and need to go with improved safety, efficiency and accessibility. The AIM Plan was an important community-driven step to absorb and enhance growth in a way that balances travel needs and creates true choices among the City’s mobility options. 

 


2008 Comprehensive Bicycle Plan

In 2007, the City of Asheville and the North Carolina Department of Transportation jointly funded the city’s first comprehensive bicycle transportation plan. The Toole Design Group assisted by Livable Streets, Inc., created the plan with guidance from a steering committee and the public. The plan was adopted by the Asheville City Council on February 26, 2008.

The plan built on existing assets in the City, including a vibrant and engaged bicycle community, diverse range of bicyclists, existing bicycle facilities and what was then an emerging greenway network. It attempted to address challenges that bicyclists face, such as access, connectivity, and safety. It strove to improve bicycle conditions on all roads, including large commercial arterial roads, while also addressing issues such education and awareness, driver behavior, and maintenance of bicycle facilities.

This plan was updated by the bicycle framework chapter (page 66) in the  Asheville in Motion (AIM) Plan, but there are still valuable recommendations in the 2008 bicycle plan.

 


2005 Pedestrian Plan

On May 25, 1999, the Asheville City Council adopted the City of Asheville Pedestrian Thoroughfare Plan. The Plan was designed to prioritize capital improvement and maintenance projects for the city with special consideration for addressing Americans with Disabilities Act compliance issues and for addressing critical pedestrian transportation and safety.

Five years later, city staff developed this revision to keep the City Pedestrian Plan current and useful to the city and the public and to expand funding approaches. This version of the Pedestrian Plan is designed to provide city staff and elected officials with good, technical information to make decisions on where to invest limited resources and how to improve policies and procedures that improve pedestrian safety and infrastructure.

With this version of the Pedestrian Plan, the city continues its ongoing commitment to improve the quality of life for all its citizens through improved access, inter-modal transportation and effective stewardship of our city’s pedestrian infrastructure and financial resources.

The City of Asheville Pedestrian Plan

 

 


Neighborhood Sidewalk Policy

In 2014, Asheville City Council allotted funding specifically for building new sidewalks in neighborhoods. On October 13, 2015, the council adopted a Neighborhood Sidewalk Policy for prioritizing construction of neighborhood sidewalks. The policy states which streets will be considered for new neighborhood sidewalks, and what makes one neighborhood sidewalk a priority over another. The policy includes initial considerations like proximity to a transit stop, to community destinations like parks, schools, libraries and grocery stores, whether the zoning is low or high density, whether there are concentrations of low income households or households without a motor vehicle, and safety. These criteria are applied to all potential neighborhood sidewalk projects to create the lists referred to below. There is also a set of secondary criteria that are applied to the top-ranking projects from the initial consideration. These things must be evaluated in the field, like the availability of existing or donated space to build a sidewalk, whether the sidewalk would connect to the larger transportation network, whether there is already a sidewalk on one side of the street, and whether the estimated project cost will fit within the money available.

You can find out how your street ranks after the initial criteria have been applied by checking the list of scores in Ranked Scores or the list of scores in Alphabetical Scores. The potential project names might vary a bit from your street name, but should be clear. You can search the documents by using your “find” feature (usually CTRL-F) in the document to open a search box. There are also two maps showing the potential projects, one map with the project names Potential Proj Map and one map with surrounding street names Potential Proj Map (2). You can zoom in and out within the map to look closely.

 


Pedestrian and Bicycle Counts

Data matters. When we know how many people are walking and bicycling, we are better prepared to provide facilities to support those activities. Working with volunteers from the Asheville Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force, the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club, Asheville on Bikes, and other interested members of the community, we conduct pedestrian and bicycle user counts in Asheville each September. Pedestrians and bicyclists are tallied during two-hour periods, usually from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday in mid-September. You can see the 2017 report here, which includes a listing of the counts since we began, and the report from the 2018 count here.

Volunteers are the backbone of this effort, it will not happen unless we have volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, the commitment is approximately three hours over two days. Training is required, but no special skills are needed. Email till.dohse@gmail.com or asexton@ashevillenc.gov with questions or to sign up to help.

 


Bicycle Locker Locations

45 Wall Street

12 Rankin Avenue

68 Rankin Avenue

The City of Asheville has several locations where you can safely secure your bike while you shop, work, or even if you live downtown. The City offers several locations, as listed above, where bikes can be stored. The lockers are safe, convenient, and easy to use. You can sign up today for only $10.00 a month. Simply complete the Bike Locker Application form and bring it to the Parking Services Office located at 45 Wall Street in Downtown Asheville. Call us for a tour of the locations, or stop by at the above listed locations and see them for yourself. If you have any questions, call us at 828-259-5792. 

 


NCDOT Pedestrian & Bicycle Road Safety Audits

The City of Asheville was identified as one of the cities with higher rates of pedestrian/motor vehicle crashes in the document entitled “North Carolina Pedestrian Facts 2008-2012” that was published in 2014.  As a result of that distinction, the North Carolina Department of Transportation initiated a project in 2015 with the following goals and objectives:

  • Identify potential strategies to improve the pedestrian and bicycle environment.
  • Review pedestrian and bicycle crashes between 2005 and 2014 (10 years) to identify contributing factors, trends and patterns.
  • Conduct three Road Safety Audits (based on the review) to identify potential safety counter-measures.

Pedestrian and bicycle-focused road safety audits (RSA) were conducted by independent, multidisciplinary teams along three identified corridors and the reports can be found at the following links:

Tunnel Road North

Patton Avenue

Merrimon Avenue/Broadway/Biltmore Avenue

The local North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and the City of Asheville recently formed a Pedestrian & Bicycle Work Group that meets on a regular basis to review and address pedestrian and bicycle issues in Asheville and Buncombe County.  We will be working together to find ways to implement the recommendations from the road safety audits as funds become available.  In addition, we will conduct road safety audits on the other identified corridors and we will be reviewing all pedestrian and bicycle needs on a case-by-case basis with the overall goal of improving the pedestrian and bicycle environment.

 


Get Involved!

Much of the work of the program only happens because people volunteer.  Our annual bicycle and pedestrian counts, and completing the Walk Friendly Community application and the Bicycle Friendly Community application when due are examples of volunteer activities.  These are usually coordinated through the Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force or the City’s Multimodal Transportation Commission

To be added to the Task Force meeting mailing list, email your request to Anna Sexton

To be added to the Multimodal Transportation Commission’s mailing list, email your request to Janet Georgemurr.

 


Contact Information

Janet Georgemurr, Business Services Specialist

 

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