Bicycle & Pedestrian Services
Bicycling and walking are rapidly becoming realistic modes of transportation as traffic congestion and environmental concern become more evident. Sidewalks, bike lanes, and bike paths play an important role in providing transportation choices for people across Asheville. The city can be a great place for bicycling and walking. In addition to a mild climate, it has the ingredients that make walking and bicycling attractive to people for trips like commuting, shopping, and recreation.
The purpose of the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Services is to increase bicycle and walking opportunities to all residents - young, old and individuals with special needs. By improving bicycling and walking conditions, it helps everyone lead safe, active and healthy lives. Our vision is to inspire people to get out of their cars and onto the street.
- Map of Completed City Funded Sidewalk Projects Fiscal Years 2005-2013
- Sidewalk Overview - July 23, 2014
The city has adopted a complete streets policy. 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 www.completestreetsnc.org
What does a "complete street" look like?
There is not a single design for a complete street, each can be different. 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 http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/complete-streets
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.
If you have questions, feel free to contact Barb Mee, Pedestrian and Bicycle Coordinator, at email@example.com, or by phone at (828) 232-4540.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with questions or to sign up to help.
Bicycle Locker Locations
29 Haywood Street, 45 Wall Street, 12 Rankin Avenue and 29 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. We have several locations where bikes can be stored as listed above. The lockers are safe, convenient, and easy to use. You can sign up today for only $10.00 a month. Simply complete the form below and bring to 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. Bike Locker Application
Comprehensive Bicycle Plan
The City of Asheville and the North Carolina Department of Transportation have jointly funded a bicycle transportation plan. The Toole Design Group assisted by Livable Streets, Inc., was contracted to create the plan with guidance from a steering committee and the public. First, there was a public open house in March 2007 that was attended by over 100 people. That was followed by an online survey, which more than 800 people completed. Armed with that information, research of area conditions, steering committee member insight and their considerable professional expertise, the consultants proposed draft recommendations. The recommendations were presented to the steering committee and then to about 75 members of the public at a meeting on July 26, 2007, where they shared their thoughts and insights. From that meeting, Toole Design Group personnel improved and refined the plan. A draft of that plan was posted on the City's website for additional public comments. After taking those comments under consideration, the following plan was adopted on Feb. 26, 2008: Comprehensive Bicycle Plan
This Plan builds on existing assets in the City, including a vibrant and engaged bicycle community, diverse range of bicyclists, existing bicycle facilities and an emerging greenway network. It attempts to address challenges that bicyclists face, such as access, connectivity, and safety. It strives 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.
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.
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Chapter 9, Maps
From the PCR:
- PCR Sidewalk Inventory North
- PCR Sidewalk Inventory East
- PCR Sidewalk Inventory West
- PCR Sidewalk Inventory South
- PCR Sidewalk Inventory Central
- PCR ADA Compliance
- Priority Criteria Summary Areas
- Priority Criteria: Zoning
- Priority Criteria: Pedestrian Access to Community Destinations
- Priority Criteria: Transit
Greenway Master Plan:
- Sidewalk Needed Linkages*
- Needed Linkage Priority Consideration:
- Needed Linkage Priority Consideration: Hilliard
- Needed Linkage Priority Consideration: Livingston
- * Appendix 1 Sidewalk Ordinance
- * Appendix 2 Pedestrian Accident Report
- * Appendix 3 NCDOT Policy
- * Priority Cost Estimates
*Needed Linkages indicate key sidewalk segments or strategic corridors where sidewalks do not exist, exist but are in poor condition or are non-compliant, or along roads which have sidewalk on only one side of the road where it is important to have it on both. The Needed Linkage shapefile was developed from the PCR data, comments from the Asheville Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force, Walkability Assessments conducted by volunteers for Healthy Buncombe, and information included in the 1999 Pedestrian Thoroughfare Plan. This map has both planning and regulatory implications. It targets major thoroughfares and gaps in the pedestrian network which should be built out to provide a minimum of citywide connectivity. It also updates the “Needed Linkages” data cited in the UDO Sidewalk Regulations that dictate where fee-in-lieu of sidewalks may not be paid. In other words, new development along designated Needed Linkage segments must include sidewalk construction. In these designated areas, the sidewalk regulations will not be met by a payment or fee-in-lieu of construction.
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
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:
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.