As part of the bond projects initiative, the City of Asheville is preparing to replace sidewalks on Vermont Avenue in West Asheville. This project focuses on pedestrian enhancements, including Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements and crosswalk improvements.
During an October meeting, residents were invited to give feedback on design options for this project. Using that feedback and keeping within budget, several design options have been drafted. Now City staff would like to bring these design options to the community for review. Please join City staff from 5:30 to 7 p.m. June 24 at Vance Elementary School, 98 Sulphur Springs Road, to review the project and design options.
This project is scheduled for construction in 2020.
Vermont Avenue is known for its vibrant Halloween celebration in which many homes are festively decorated. It’s a wider boulevard-style street lined with trees.
The sidewalk project, however, poses some challenges.
Built many years ago, the Vermont Avenue sidewalk does not conform to current ADA and City standards for width. City sidewalks are required to be a minimum of 5 feet wide. The current Vermont Avenue sidewalks are 4 feet wide. While there is limited right-of-way to build the sidewalks to current standards, there are options for creating the correct width through buffer strips and other measures.
Vermont Avenue also has large trees lining the street. Over time, the tree roots have damaged the existing sidewalks. The trees are now aging, rotting and in decline, and so must be removed. That will be a part of this project. The City cares about tree canopy and preserving neighborhood character and is looking at options for tree replacements.
There are also choices to be made in terms of whether to replace the existing sidewalk on both sides of the street, or replace sidewalk on one side of the street and extend it down to West Asheville Park for greater neighborhood connectivity. Under the bond program, $748,000 has been allocated for the Vermont sidewalk bond project. This is enough money to do either of these options but not extend the sidewalk all the way to the park on both sides.
Please join staff for a presentation and conversation about the design options. A visual preference survey will be available at the meeting for attendees to fill out. The survey will also be available online on Open City Hall Asheville, starting June 24.
About the bond projects
The $74 million in bonds approved by voters in 2016 includes projects categorized in three areas: parks ($17 million), affordable housing ($25 million) and transportation ($32 million). From planning, projects move to design process and then into construction phase. Keep up with project phase, including money spent and other details, by visiting the City’s Capital Improvement Project and Bond Dashboard at this link. Find more information about the City’s Bond initiative on the City of Asheville website, under “City Projects.” Here is a direct link.