Asheville – Citizens can use an online survey to give input into the City of Asheville’s ongoing study of Biltmore Avenue and McDowell Street corridors, which link Downtown Asheville with Biltmore Village.
The two pedestrian-oriented commercial districts are within blocks of each other. But there is heavy congestion of traffic between them, which city officials hope to lessen to better connect the two areas.
This means varying McDowell Street and Biltmore Avenue, to better streamline transportation and to expand on modes of travel along those routes. The N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) maintains the roads. Thus, NCDOT, the city, other agencies and a consulting team are reviewing optional road variations and improvements.
The study is targeted to conclude this summer.
A prime aim is to “accommodate all transportation users including motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians and transit riders,” according to a city memo. Specifically, this means making it safer to bicycle or walk along the corridor — such as with wide bike lanes and wider sidewalk.
Upgraded bus service along Biltmore Avenue is another major objective — to “accommodate development, and enhance multi-modal access to major employment centers.” Dense development is sought, along with affordable housing.
These aforementioned goals are already in related land-use plans for areas around Biltmore Avenue, such as the Asheville Transit Master Plan and Asheville in Motion, and are anticipated to extend into the corridor study.
The corridor has affluent Biltmore Village at the southern end, by the Biltmore Estate major tourist attraction. The north edge has South Slope with art galleries, breweries, and multi-family residential developments as well as The Asheville Tourists’ McCormick Field and the Lee Walker Heights neighborhood.
Mission Hospital and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College are among landmarks, and what the study terms “community destinations.”
Survey input is sought from “residents and other stakeholders, that will inform recommendations for transportation improvements to the corridors.”
The survey has four main questions, after asking where the survey taker lives and before space for comments and an option to give one’s name.
The first main question is about the person’s typical, pre-pandemic use of the two corridors. The eight optional responses include daily commute, to reach Mission Health or medical offices near it, to go to restaurants or ballgames, mid-day lunch or errands there, to go through the corridors to other destinations, to go on foot or on a bike, to take public transit.
Next is choosing the top three “transportation issues” for Biltmore Avenue from Hilliard to All Souls Crescent streets. The eight choices are about traffic congestion, “Safety: Speeding, narrow lanes, visibility”; “Wayfinding, street trees and streetscape design,” the railroad crossing near Biltmore Village, flooding especially in Biltmore Village near the Swannanoa River, lack of bus shelters and infrequent bus service, and separate issues for bicyclists and pedestrians.
The question after that the same eight choices (plus “other”) as top three transportations issues —along Asheland/McDowell streets, and again from Hilliard to All Souls Crescent.
The fourth question is simpler. “If you think of the Biltmore Ave. and McDowell St. corridor today (downtown to Biltmore Village), what is a phrase or a couple of words that come to mind?” To take the survey: https://publicinput.com/F7111