This project brings forth a new design for sections of College Street and Patton Avenue in the core of Downtown Asheville with the goal of improving safety, accessibility, and equity for all users of our City’s transportation network. 

Implementation of the project design would make improvements to approximately .5 miles of College Street and Patton Avenue combined by adding the following: 

  • Buffered bike lanes on College Street between Spruce Street and Pritchard Park and on Patton Avenue between Pritchard Park and Biltmore Avenue that will provide dedicated space for bicyclists and a critical east-west connection in the City’s bicycle network
  • High-visibility crosswalks to enhance pedestrian safety
  • Additional dedicated space for delivery vehicles which is expected to reduce the need for delivery trucks to double-park in the street, improving safety for all and mitigating congestion

College Street and Patton Avenue are the main and only east-west streets through Downtown and provide key connections to east and West Asheville. These bike lanes will connect to existing bike lanes and future bike lanes in downtown and beyond. This project will utilize methods to produce a “quick” build, low-cost, high-value bicycle facility.

Happening Now




Project Timeline


Project Background

Asheville consistently ranks as one of the top cities in North Carolina for bicycle and pedestrian fatalities. Building dedicated facilities for these vulnerable users is one of the most effective ways to reduce fatalities.

The addition of bicycle facilities in Asheville’s urban core is consistent with adopted City plans and policies to improve multimodal transportation, particularly in Downtown. Plan alignment includes the 2009 Downtown Master Plan, the 2012 Complete Streets Policy, the 2016 Asheville in Motion Mobility Plan and the 2018 Living Asheville Comprehensive Plan.

This project also aligns with City Council’s 2036 Vision for transportation and accessibility: “Whether you drive a car, take the bus, ride a bike or walk, getting around Asheville is easy. Public transportation is widespread, frequent, and reliable. Sidewalks, greenways, and bike facilities get us where we want to go safely and keep us active and healthy. It is easy to live in Asheville without a car and still enjoy economic, academic, and social success.”

Several other factors and existing conditions align with the addition of buffered bike lanes on College Street and Patton Avenue:

  • Increasing bike use supports City climate, resilience, community health, and affordability goals. Transportation costs are typically the 2nd largest household expense behind housing costs (rent/mortgage, utilities, etc.). Improving affordability in Asheville is therefore more than just providing more affordable housing but also working to decrease transportation costs by providing alternatives to vehicle ownership.
  • COVID-19 helped us reimagine use of public space (shared streets, parklets).
  • Electric bike use is growing (as well as other e-mobility devices).
  • A better connected bicycle network would better facilitate a potential future City bike share program.
  • College and Patton are the main east-west streets through downtown and connect to east and west Asheville. 
  • These bike lanes would connect to existing bike lanes and future bike lanes in downtown and beyond.
  • A better connected bicycle network increases options for downtown workers and visitors.
  • Providing other options to get downtown will help reduce parking demand.

Project Design

College and Patton are one-way streets in the core of Downtown. The City and its project team analyzed whether a bike lane should be installed on the left side of the street or the right side of the street. This analysis revealed that a bike lane on the left side of the street would result in a lower number of potential conflicts between a bicycle user and other vehicles using the roadway including cars, transit, and delivery trucks. Left-side bike lanes also tend to present fewer conflicts with right-turning vehicles than traditional right-side bike lanes.

At the August 22, 2023 City Council meeting, City staff presented the final project design plan  for bike lane infrastructure improvements along Patton Avenue and College Street. Input from the public engagement efforts listed below was taken into consideration and incorporated to the extent possible in the design plan. As part of the engagement, a survey was widely promoted. The survey closed on June 3, 2023 and a report of the results is available here.

The renderings below show what left-side bike lanes on College Street and Patton Avenue in Downtown would generally look like.

Project Opportunities and Concerns


Concern Response

 Not enough loading areas, delivery trucks block lanes

  • Approximately 130’ of new loading area is proposed to be added with the project
  • No loading zones are being removed

 Parking loss, parking is unavailable

  • 17 metered parking spaces are proposed to be removed
    • 9 of these will be converted to loading zone area
  • No ADA parking spaces are being removed
  • Rankin, Harrah’s, and Coxe Ave. parking garages are all within 0.1 miles

 Traffic congestion will increase

  • Existing volumes average 4,000 – 6,000 vehicles per day.
  • These daily volumes are well within thresholds for single lane streets.
  • Comparisons to volumes on other single-lane roadways:
    • Haywood Rd. volumes are approx. 2 x greater
    • Biltmore Ave. volumes are approx. 2 x greater
    • Charlotte St. volumes are approx. 2-3 x greater
    • Merrimon Ave. volumes are approx. 3-4 x greater

 Fire and Police won’t be able to get through

  • Asheville Fire Dept. has indicated that they do not have concerns with the project.
  • The bike lane is wide enough that emergency vehicles can use it if the regular traffic lane is blocked. 
  • The delineators are designed for emergency vehicles to run over.

 Adding a bike lane here is unsafe for riders, pedestrians and vehicles

  • Providing bicycle facilities can mitigate or prevent interactions, conflicts, and crashes between bicyclists and motor vehicles, and create a network of safer road ways for bicycling.

 Businesses will lose money

  • Many studies find that businesses adjacent to bike facilities benefit financially.

 The “bicycle advocates” are the only ones pushing this project

  • The City has long-standing policies supporting additional bike infrastructure.
  • The City’s Multimodal Commission has voted in favor of the project.


Through the City’s project outreach, the City has heard concerns related to loading zone space, traffic congestion, emergency response, and impacts to corridor businesses. 

The project team refined the project’s design to reflect input received from nearby businesses on how to optimize curb space for loading zones, particularly around Pritchard Park. The final design includes an overall net gain of approximately 125 feet of loading zone space with no net loss of loading zone space in the Pritchard Park area. Additional loading zone space will create more space for delivery vehicles and is expected to reduce the need for delivery trucks to double-park in the street. 

The Asheville Police Department and Asheville Fire Department have reviewed the project design, including lane widths and configurations, to ensure that emergency vehicle access is not negatively impacted. The “curb to curb” distance is not being changed, and therefore, the same amount of space will be available for emergency access. 

While additional congestion may be experienced briefly during peak periods, the project balances the safety and mobility needs of all users by enhancing access to multimodal transportation options and providing dedicated and separated space for bicyclists and vehicles.  

Business owners have also raised concerns about the bicycle facilities potentially impacting their business operations and revenue potential. Numerous studies have shown that adding bicycle facilities has no negative, and in many cases, a positive impact, on businesses. A sample of these are linked below.

Timeline of Public Outreach Completed Thus Far

2022 Engagement 

  • February 16Letters sent to property owners in the corridor with engagement opportunities info and link to project website
  • February 24 & 25Flyers delivered to businesses 
  • March 2 – Two Virtual stakeholder meetings – Morning and Evening
  • March 11Press Release by City of Asheville
  • March 11Email sent to stakeholders notifying them of public engagement opportunities
  • March 11Downtown Commission meeting, presentation and concept design
  • March 17 – Afternoon in-person walking tour with stakeholders
  • March 19 – Sat. in-person walking tour with stakeholders
  • March 23Multimodal Transportation Commission meeting, presentation and concept design review, voted 6-1 in support of the project
  • March 24 – Two Virtual stakeholder meetings – Morning and Evening
  • June 10Downtown Commission meeting, discuss public input
  • June 22Multimodal Transportation Commission meeting, discuss public input
  • September 13Manager’s Report to City CouncilDuring this presentation, staff was asked to conduct additional engagement to ensure the broader community was aware of the project and had an opportunity to provide feedback prior to design finalization. 
  • October – November – additional meetings with direct stakeholders
  • November 16 – Public Space Management Committee meeting
  • December 9Downtown Commission meeting, voted 6-3 in support of the project

2023 Engagement 

  • January 24 – Mayor and staff met with business owners, agreed to hold one more public meeting
  • April 19 – Public Open House and meeting with direct stakeholders at the Collider
  • April 19 – June 5Public online survey – 642 participants
  • May 3  – Email invitation to participate in survey sent to Organizations and people who identify as BIPOC, Youth, Seniors, Interested in Transportation, and LGBTQ+
  • May 17 – “What’s Up, AVL” radio interview at WRES (Youtube)
  • May 27/28 – Grindfest – table with surveys and flyers
  • June 9 – Emailed survey results to stakeholders and posted to project website
  • July 18 – Loading Zone Walking Tour with businesses to discuss revisions made based on feedback received from business owners 

Cost and Budget

Non-profit partners, Asheville on Bikes and Connect Buncombe, funded the initial designs through local donations. The initial designs were completed by a local consulting firm, Traffic Planning and Design, in cooperation with the City of Asheville and were refined based on public feedback the City received.

$100,000 in the City budget is already programmed in the City of Asheville’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for implementation, including costs for:

  • Pavement markings
  • Vertical delineators
  • Signage
  • Traffic control during installation

Supporting Documents

Examples of Left-Side Bike Lanes in Other Cities

Living Asheville: A Comprehensive Plan For Our Future (2018) 

Asheville in Motion Mobility Plan (2017) 

City of Asheville Complete Streets Policy (2012) 

City of Asheville Comprehensive Bicycle Plan (2008 – superseded by Asheville in Motion Plan)

Related Projects

Downtown Patton Avenue Corridor Feasibility Study

Patton Avenue Sidewalk Accessibility Improvements

Pack Square Plaza Visioning

Contact Information

Jessica Morriss, Assistant Director of Transportation

Anna Sexton, Urban Planner II 

Related Services

Learn how to safely and securely bicycle in Asheville

Related Departments

Sunset through the mountains


The City of Asheville’s Transportation Department is dedicated to providing for the safety, health, mobility, and quality of life for Asheville citizens and guests through the administration of engineering, infrastructure and transportation related projects.