Funding now in place for Asheville greenway projects will pave the way for spring 2020 construction.
These shovel-ready projects are funded in part by state and federal transportation money administered through the French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). They include:
French Broad River West: This 1-mile greenway will fill a greenway gap between the half-mile section of the greenway on New Belgium’s property at Craven Street and the French Broad River Park (near the dog park area). It will be built on land leased from Duke Energy, currently closed to the public in preparation of the construction project. Construction should begin in the Spring of 2020.
Town Branch Greenway: This ¾-mile-long greenway starts at the Dr. Wesley Grant, Sr. Southside Center on
Depot and Livingston streets and terminates at Phifer Street near the McDowell and Southside intersection. This greenway lies on flat terrain along the banks of the creek called Town Branch. It will be an important East/West connection in the greenway network. This greenway will feature a series of interpretive signs about the devastating impact of the razing of the Southside Community, a historically African American community, due to urban renewal. Look for more engagement with the community on these interpretive signs soon.
Also, we are excited to announce that N.C. Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green will be working with youth from Word on the Street to create a poem that will be installed on the pedestrian bridge off of S. French Broad Avenue; Sept. 28 will be the first work session.
French Broad River Greenway East: The northern section of greenway from north of the I-240 Bridge to 14 Riverside Drive Arts and Cultural Center is paved. This is part of the River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project (RADTIP), a major 2.2-mile road transportation project along the east side of the French Broad River in the River Arts District. Besides greenways, the project re-builds roads, adds two roundabouts (one of them completed this year) for better traffic flow, incorporates wide sidewalks and includes installation of stormwater drainage systems. Additional parking and local public art will be incorporated. Multiple grants, including Federal and Tourism Development Authority funding have helped make this project possible. Begun in 2018, the RADTIP project is expected to be completed in 2020.
Visit ashevillenc.gov/river to find out more.
Other projects in the planning phase
City staff expect to hold an October public meeting on the Greenway Connectors project. This one is a little hard to explain but basically these will be on-road projects designed to direct greenway visitors from one greenway trailhead to another, safely and easily. This initiative is a wayfinding project. Look for more information on this soon.
North RADTIP Greenway Design Project: The City received a grant to conduct engineering designs for a greenway along the French Broad River and Riverside Drive from Hill Street to the intersection of Riverside and Broadway. This one-mile stretch is the missing gap of greenway between the RADTIP project which is currently under construction and the Town of Woodfin’s greenway that will start at the intersection of Broadway and Riverside Drive and head north through the Town of Woodfin to the MSD Headquarter Offices at Highway 251 and Elk Mountain Road. Currently, the NCDOT is reviewing the City’s request for a consultant. Once approved, the City will send out a call for consultants to work with the City on the greenway project of what has become affectionately known as “the Missing Mile.”
Transportation bond funded projects
To date, the City of Asheville has two projects funded through the Neighborhood Greenway Connectors funds. These funds are part of the Transportation Bond funds. The projects are:
Elsie’s Bridge: Technically not a greenway, it is a walkway in the Depot Street area that could use some beautification, so will be transformed into a community container garden in the spring. This program will be administered by the Office of Sustainability. Bountiful Cities has a contract with the City to manage community gardens. Please contact Isa Whitaker by email or phone at 828-257-4000 with Bountiful Cities for more information on how to participate.
Reed Creek Greenway extension: With development going on in this area, the City has an opportunity to partner with developers so that this greenway will extend to the just under the Chestnut Street Bridge. The timeline is to be announced.
Swannanoa River Greenway: The City is working on greenway plans for a portion of the Swannanoa River Greenway between Biltmore Avenue and the Azalea Park complex in East Asheville. Currently, there are many factors that need to be decided in order for decisions to be made about the greenway alignment. This includes our partner, NCDOT’s Swannanoa River Road project that is happening at the same time. The NCDOT is conducting a hydrology study in the western side of the project area. This will be completed by the end of 2019. Once the hydrology study is complete, the City should be able to determine where the greenway should go.
Where to find existing greenways
Fall is a great time of the year to get outside and enjoy a walk through our beautiful city! Visit the City of Asheville’s Greenways locator map at ashvillenc.gov/enjoygreenways.