— Cecil Bothwell, staff writer
"The City of Asheville is asking area residents to offer ideas for making the city more bicycle-friendly. Nationally known experts on bicycle planning will be in Asheville this week to share information and gather public input at an open house Thursday, March 8 from 4-7 p.m. in the City of Asheville Public Works Building.
The city has hired consultants from Toole Design Group and Livable Streets, Inc. to prepare Asheville's first comprehensive bicycle plan. The plan, which is partially funded by the North Carolina DOT, will provide recommendations for short-term and long-term improvements for bicycle transportation. Strategies might include completing key links in the Asheville greenway system, and connecting that system to on-road improvements such as bike lanes or paved shoulders.
'We want to make it easier for bicyclists and motorists to safely share the road,' said Dan Baechtold, a transportation planner with the French Broad River MPO, who is assisting the city on this project. 'This plan will help identify priorities for making investments in bicycle transportation.'
The city is working closely with the North Carolina DOT because many of the major roads in the area are controlled by the state, and much of the funding for road and bicycle improvements flows through state government. Several years ago the NCDOT initiated a new funding source to complete bicycle plans in North Carolina cities and towns.
At Thursday's open house, bicyclists of all skill levels, motorists, and any other interested citizens are encouraged to come share their experiences, identify locations that need improvement, and offer great ideas for making Asheville a bicycle-friendly community. For more information, contact Dan Baechtold at (828) 259-5457."
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