Riverfront redevelopment, transportation improvement dovetail to enhance RAD

Cars travel through a narrow section of Riverside Drive in the River Arts District.

More public engagement coming in February

Did you know that the roads in Asheville along the river were originally built over 100 years ago? The River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project (RADTIP) is designed to rebuild Riverside Drive and Lyman Street to modern standards. The RADTIP project will:

  • Increase access and safety for automobile, pedestrian and bike travelers.
  • Install a 2-mile-long stormwater management system and three constructed wetlands to protect the French Broad River.
  • Provide new opportunities for recreation along the riverfront greenway.

It is the City of Asheville’s biggest riverfront redevelopment project.

The RADTIP project implements many of the recommendations from the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Master Plan and other plans created in tandem with the community, like the Greenways Master Plan.

Opportunities for the public to provide input (through citizen surveys, meetings and site visits) in order to help shape public art and placemaking on the project will occur in February 2016.

Riverfront redevelopment enhancements, timeline

But the City’s Riverfront Redevelopment program goes beyond the RADTIP. River recreation enthusiasts will be happy to hear that three public river accesses will be completed around the time of the RADTIP construction. A partnership with the Wildlife Resources Commission will reconstruct the boat put-in at Jean Webb Park, and build a new boat ramp with parking just south of Craven Street. The City is also partnering with RiverLink to add another step access at Amboy Road River Park just upstream.

Supporters of arts and culture might like to know that an old building at 14 Riverside Drive is being renovated by the City. The project will be under construction in summer 2016 and applications to lease the building for an arts and culture use will be accepted in the fall.

And river area bicycle and pedestrian improvements aren’t limited to Riverside Drive and Lyman Street (RADTIP) either. Livingston Street and the south section of Depot Street will be rebuilt to include bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and additional greenway linkages on the west side of the French Broad River and in the Southside and WECAN/South French Broad neighborhoods will create a network that connects downtown, the RAD and West Asheville.

At the moment, City staff is continuing work with engineering consultants to develop final construction plans for the riverfront projects. Plans for current projects are expected to be complete between March and June of 2016, and the majority of the construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2017. The City is currently working to acquire all of the necessary right of way for this transformative project.

Details about next steps in the projects, like the public art and placemaking meetings, will be posted to Asheville City Source, the RADTIP project page, and the City’s Facebook and Twitter feeds when it is available.

Related coverage:
Riverfront redevelopment video update
US Transportation Secretary announced $14.6M grant for East of Riverway multimodal project