Candidate Questionnaire: Asheville on Bikes

Will you participate in “Step Right Up,” AoB’s primary candidate forum on Monday, Sept. 25th at Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St.?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

If you participate in the general election, will you participate in “Get There AVL,” AoB’s general candidate forum on Thursday, Oct. 26th at the Wedge at Foundation located at 5 Foundy St?

Yes – The date is on my calendar.

Tell us something about your transportation habits. How do you most often get around Asheville?

Car, bus and walking

Please identify one way in which you’ve worked to make Asheville safer for pedestrians, transit users, and / or cyclists. Share the outcome for the community and what you learned.

I led a successful campaign to restart Asheville’s traffic calming program. The result was slower auto traffic on Riverview Drive and other cut-through streets. I learned how to navigate projects through city departments and organize neighbors around needed improvements.

What are your thoughts regarding the Asheville In Motion Plan (AIM)? Identify one strength and one weakness of the plan.

As someone who participated a lot in the public input and drafting of the plan, then sat on the AIM Implementation Task Force until it was disbanded this year, I came away more convinced than ever that all transportation modes need to be be considered in any road project, but also frustrated that the plan was essentially shelved. A strength is that we’re getting a couple needed policy fixes out of it, especially around volunteer-built greenways. The city’s next transportation safety initiative, Vision Zero, is also one of the plan’s recommendations. But on the negative side, it seems to me that the plan was too big, general and comprehensive to easily pull next actions out of, leaving the city struggling to figure out how to “implement” it. We might have done better with smaller, narrower planning around a few key needed improvements.

Rank these five projects in order from most important to least important (order below reflects candidate ranking, with 1 being the highest priority):

  1. Protected bicycle facilities on Lyman St
  2. Livingston St complete street treatment
  3. Additional Downtown Parking
  4. Fare Free Transit Zones
  5. Beaucatcher greenway

Elaborate on your prioritization list. Explain your ranking.

Beaucatcher Greenway is potentially too expensive to ever build out as designed. The focus should be on low-cost erosion controls and some volunteer-built terrain fixes to address problems on the existing trail. The current fare-free zone is little used and confusing. I’m not clear how expanding it will make it more useful, and most low-income riders seem to have passes anyway.

Though I don’t like the idea of the city subsidizing a lot more parking, city garages downtown are, at the very least, cash-flow positive, and they’re an easy way to support local independent businesses. We need at least one more deck downtown, going by the parking study, and that should be coupled with surge pricing on the new smart parking meters and disincentives to property owners keeping surface parking lots. Livingston Street fulfills a commitment to an underserved community. It should be done. Protected bike lanes on Lyman *will* be done in some fashion. I’m a little concerned about initial plans right now, but I think they can be fixed easily enough.