RADTIP Design Firm Presentation on New Belgium Truck Route, Protected Bike Lanes on Riverside

21 Nov

1. Presented by CDM Smith at the Asheville Area Riverfront Redevelopment Commission Nov. 13th, 2014 meeting1

 

2. Some preliminary stuff. RADTIP is a project to turn 2.5 miles of Riverside Drive into a showcase boulevard with sidewalks, greenways, art and new development. (click to enlarge)

2 3 4 5

 

3. As part of a combined effort by neighbors, New Belgium, and city government, the design firm was directed to look at ways to make RADTIP suitable for New Belgium trucks (and note: “Other projects planned in within RAD”, meaning other possible upcoming industrial developments.) 6

 

4. Potential New Belgium truck route/RADTIP in red. Initial main route (Haywood Rd.) in orange, designated secondary route (Amboy Rd.) in yellow.7

 

5. Problem #1: This bridge is too low:

8

 

6. The CDM Smith team created a 3D model of the railroad bridge

9 10

 

7. Using auger holes, they found the road under the bridge can be lowered up to two feet without damaging its structure, and the road re-graded to improve drainage there. Permission from Norfolk Southern would be needed for this.11

 

8. Problem #2: the intersection of Craven Street and Riverside Drive is too tight for trucks to turn (plus the other bullet points below)12 13

 

9. Engineering a wide enough turn. A roundabout at the intersection is ruled out as too unwieldy, requiring too much city-claimed property, and not in keeping with the character of the road. A signalized intersection is favored. The Planters Tobacco barn, being in a floodway, cannot be repurposed and is expected to be demolished.
14

 

10. One idea is to widen the existing bridge by building new structure off of it to the tobacco barn side, adding a turning lane, 10 foot bike and walking path on one side, and 5′ 6″ sidewalk on the other. This would cost about $4 million.15

 

11. The other idea is to build a second bridge to the north (tobacco barn side) of the existing bridge, turning the current bridge into two lanes going toward Riverside. The new bridge would have one lane coming toward West Asheville, plus a 10′ bike lane and 10′ pedestrian walkway, side-by-side. This idea would cost about $2.6 million. This idea is technically and financially preferable, and the direction the city is pursuing. Plus it’s a better multimodal connection.16

 

12. CDM Smith’s analysis says a second bridge would tie in okay with the new road work on the West Asheville/New Belgium side.17

 

13. This ties in with plans to create a trailhead and major river parking/access at the corner of Craven Street and Emma Road, next to New Belgium.

18 19

 

14. The other part of the presentation concerned a proposal by Asheville on Bikes to create protected bike lanes on Riverside Drive20

 

15. Protected bike lanes are separated from traffic by space, parked cars, and/or posts.21

 

16. Like this.22

 

17. A major issue raised was whether these would move the roadway outside of the area covered in the Federal Environmental Impact Study, a very hard document to get and update.23

 

18. Some discussion on where to place a pedestrian bridge over the river.24

 

19. The likeliest locations are right next to Amboy Road (in its shadow, hydrologically speaking) or across from Riverview Station.25

 

20. A Riverview Station bridge would have to be raised on ramps well above the floodway, costing $1.5 to $15 million dollars, depending on how fancy.

26

 

21. Next steps. Plans expected at City Council in January, Public Input in February.27

 

22. The end.28

Haywood Road Sidewalk Art Project

15 Nov

1. In 2013, as a way of addressing potential problems from traffic caused by the New Belgium brewery being built on Craven Street in East West Asheville, the City of Asheville agreed to a project (partially funded through a grant from New Belgium) to create bike lanes and complete sidewalks on the uphill side of Haywood Road, coming from the river. The new bike lane has been painted, and six-foot sidewalks are scheduled to be poured in early 2015.EWANA-Haywood-sidewalk.001

2. Most of Haywood Road climbing the hill from the river will look like this:
EWANA-Haywood-sidewalk.002

3. As the project was being designed, neighborhood residents asked if artistic or decorative elements could be added to the sidewalk as it was being built or immediately after (Think Riverwalk in Austin). The idea was to represent West Asheville art, culture, and history; and to enliven the walk up the hill from the River Arts District. With the city’s permission, a committee began looking at possible motifs drawing on local architecture — especially the old West Asheville Fire Department, now A Touch of Glass in East West Asheville, which was also the inspiration for the West Asheville sign about 25 years ago:EWANA-Haywood-sidewalk.003

4. The committee landed on the idea of using a keystone design drawn from the Fire Dept. windows, a sort of frame which could be filled in with references to the history, culture and art of our neighborhood, and eventually replicated throughout West Asheville:EWANA-Haywood-sidewalk.004

5. One possible variant would orient the keystones to compass directions, so as the sidewalk curved up the hill, it would orient pedestrians to the area and point West into West Asheville:EWANA-Haywood-sidewalk.005

6. The WEST could be emphasized or incorporated to varying degrees:
EWANA-Haywood-sidewalk.006

7. And the interior of the “frame” could be filled in any number of ways. At the November EWANA meeting, attendees agreed a committee should start to hash out details and identify possible art or design to include in the “frames”:EWANA-Haywood-sidewalk.007

8. Some details: The icons will start at Craven Street intersection and run up the uphill side of Haywood to Beechum’s Curve (where the daycare was). There will initially be about 25 frames, or one every 100 feet from the river. They will be done in road paint rather than concrete stain, so as to include icons on the current existing sections of sidewalk, and will be done by stencil by city crews. After the stenciling, neighbors will be responsible for designs, identifying artists, and upkeep. If the icons are tagged, the city has said it will treat them like any other graffiti and erase them. The whole project must be ADA compliant.

So that’s all good. Now the tough part:

9. Initially, part of the art project included adding a stripe along the edge of the sidewalk:

EWANA-Haywood-sidewalk.008

10. The point (besides being pretty) was to demarcate the edge of the walk through long areas of continuous curb cut (i.e., areas without a real curb, where cars can pull in at any point, which is dangerous to bicyclists and pedestrians.)

EWANA-Haywood-sidewalk.009

11. NCDOT maintains Haywood Road along its whole length. It has a set of standards for marking things like bike lanes where there are intersections or possible car crossings:EWANA-Haywood-sidewalk.010

12. For the new sidewalk the standards are less clear. Should the edge be marked by a broken line where cars can cross — and in what color? These are important questions that won’t be resolved soon. We’re requesting volunteers that can help interpret DOT’s standards and work with the state and city to get this important thing done.
EWANA-Haywood-sidewalk.011

So we’re looking for ideas, inspiration, and participation. If you’re interested, please follow East West Asheville Neighborhood Association on Facebook or contact us one of these ways. We’ll be coming back to the community for ideas and input as the process moves forward. Thanks for being part of something cool, unique to our city, artistic, and lasting for years to come! Cheers.

EWANA 4th Qtr Neighborhood Meeting Minutes

14 Nov
November 11, 2014

Hall Fletcher Elementary (6-8p)

Attending: Approximately 22 total 

Meeting Moderated by Joshua Martin, Chair of EWANA

ewana-november

1) Welcome, Sign-in and Agenda

2) Treasury Report, Rich Lee
Raised $450 at Auction Fundraiser in July
-$3 checkbook
-$50 CAN 
$397 Current Balance
3) Sidewalk Art, Alice Oglesby and Ted Figura (see expanded discussion here)
-In Spring, the City is putting in new sidewalks along Haywood Road from the River to Beechum’s Curve
-EWANA proposed sidewalk art and created ad-hoc Sidewalk Art Committee
-3 Icons were displayed:
EWANA-Haywood-sidewalk.005
  • The design will get placed when the new sidewalk is put down
  • Using Paint instead of stain. EWANA will be responsible for maintaining (approximately every 5yrs or so)
  • The icon will be placed approx every 100ft (estimated 20- 25 icons placed along that corridor)
  • Different artists or sayings can go inside. Up to EWANA, committee to be formed.
EWANA-Haywood-sidewalk.007
Limitations to what can go inside the icons:
  • Must be ADA Compliant
  • No businesses or commercial info
  • If Graffiti’d, the city will treat like all others and remove it
-Sidewalk Art Committee will determine:
  • Which of 3 icon choices to use
  • Exact location of each icon
  • How to govern what will go inside each one
-Polled Audience:
  • No one opposed the 3 icon choices
  • No one opposed the Long Term goal of this project for EWANA
4A) Updates, Joshua Martin
-You can no longer make a left turn onto Craven Street from Waynesville Ave, but you can now turn right onto Craven St from Waynesville Ave out to Haywood Road.
-Riverlink surveyed the area and decided to propose naming the creek between Waynesville Ave/Deaver St down to the NBB Site. They propose “Penland Creek”, named after a Family that used to own property in the area.
  • EWANA proposed sending a formal letter of approval for the name.
  • Polled Audience, No Opposed.
4B) Asheville on Bikes, Mike Sule
Goal is to create more on-street parking for bicycles.
1. Temporary bike corrals, similar to valet parking. When you park your bike, you’re given a ticket to turn in when you’re ready to pick up your bike. (Parked > 3,000 bikes in 2013!)
2. Permanent Bike Corrals: 1 car space can park up to 15 bikes.
-Polled Audience:
  • Mike wants EWANA to write a letter of support for his Parking Ideas, a few comments from Audience:
  • Can we ask DOT to do research on how many parking corrals would be effective for our area so we don’t risk giving up too many car parking spaces?
  • Can his group come back to the neighborhood before placing the corrals? {Mike said yes, thats his goal and makes the best sense for the neighborhood to collaborate}
  • Can they be placed in areas that car spaces block a line of sight for drivers trying to turn onto Haywood Road?
  • Could GasUp place bike corrals where the gas pumps will be removed?
 From Poll response, Joshua Martin will draft a letter and EWANA board will approve before sending.
4C) New Belgium Brewing Updates, Susanne Hackett
  • On November 12, the Pile Drivers will be back until the end of next week (Approx Nov 21) and then they will be done.
  • On November 14, they will be pouring active concrete from 7am for 12hours
  • Early next year, the tanks will arrive. Its expected to take a few days.
 4D) Updates, Rich Lee
  • -The City is coming out to measure the effectiveness of the Speed Cushions on Riverview Dr
-Greenway Updates: Town Branch Greenway from Soapy Dog to Choctaw
and Clingman Forest Greenway will include a 15ft Treetop Walk with < 5% grade!
  •  Duke Energy donated 48 acres continuously for this project from the River and along the parks
  •  There will be a public input session TBD, hopefully we can help fundraise projects for the greenway like: lighting along paths, edible plants, benches etc.
  •  Sept 2016 deadline
-NBB Truck Routes: Part of the City’s Project, RADTIP, may include improving Riverside Drive and Craven St Bridge so trucks can drive that route.
  •  The next steps will be deciding between designs: Widen Craven St Bridge or have a double bridge.
  •  Hurdles Include: The bridge is currently DOT owned and the Engineering over the French Broad River
  •  Thursday Nov 13, 4pm at Chamber of Commerce: There will be a Riverfront Monthly Meeting. If EWANA has enough presence, perhaps we can be asked to speak about our opinions for the Craven St Bridge improvements.
  •  Jan/Feb City Council will look to move forward with the project
  •  Susanne Hackett announced that NBB is still looking into using shorter trucks during the interim period until the improvements can be made, so they can use the neighborhood’s preferred truck method.
5) Proposed Changes to the EWANA Bylaws, Adam Chase
 
  • Defining Leadership Roles
  • Defining Committees
-Polled the Audience:
  • Suggestion: Change “co-leader” to “vice chair”
  • Suggestion: Correct a few grammatical errors
  • Suggestion: Add “outreach” to the Standing Event Committee
  • No objections to the proposed changes to the Bylaws.
6) New Board Positions, Joshua Martin
  • Gave ShortStreet Cupcakes to Tom Burnet and Ava Carr for their great work serving on the Board!
  • Announced Joshua Martin and Rich Lee are up for renewal of a 2nd Term on the Board
  • Announced 2 New Positions Open
  • Steven Edge and Jason Mann decided to join the board!
-Polled Audience for 4 Members: Joshua Martin, Rich Lee, Steven Edge and Jason Mann. Term is 2yrs
-No objections
7) EWANA passed cards for everyone to list what they want EWANA to work on in the upcoming year. Collected by Kirk Weir, Board Member.
 
—End

EWANA Fall General Meeting Nov. 11th, 6-8pm

11 Oct

Tuesday, November 11 at Hall Fletcher Elementary Little Auditorium

This is East West Asheville Neighborhood Association’s 2nd annual business meeting. We will have two vacancies on the EWANA board to fill, updates to our bylaws, and committee formation and assignments.

Board members serve up to two 2-year terms. Current bylaws are here. Updates will be posted before the meeting.

We will have updates and seek input on a first-of-its-kind community art project happening in East West Asheville, plus updates on our work on the New Belgium Truck Route, greenway and traffic calming progress, and more.

In our second year as an organized neighborhood EWANA has:

  1. Seen the construction of the bike lane on Haywood Road we negotiated with the city in 2013, with sidewalk construction beginning in early 2015
  2. Made progress on the New Belgium truck issue
  3. Successfully advocated to minimize New Belgium construction traffic on Haywood Road
  4. Been approved for traffic calming speed humps on Riverview Drive, with construction expected in October
  5. Organized a unique community art project, to be announced at this meeting
  6. Successfully advocated for a greenway on the Duke Energy property between the dog park and Haywood Road. All 48 acres of the land were donated to the city of Asheville, with construction to begin in 2015
  7. Coordinated neighborhood-watch forming meetings
  8. Hosted a meeting with NC Dept. of Transportation attended by many neighbors affected by the proposed I-26 expansion
  9. Represented the diverse viewpoints of the neighborhood with a survey on short-term rental opinions at the Planning & Zoning Commission
  10. Applied for East West Asheville to adopt East-West of Haywood Rd and Hanover St. through the DOT Adopt-a-Highway program
  11. Raised $250 for Children First at their “Are You Smarter Than an Elementary Student?” fundraiser
  12. Connected another 200-plus community members through Facebook page and email list
  13. Hosted second annual neighborhood picnic with more than 60 neighbors attending
  14. Joined the Coalition of Asheville neighborhoods, and carried East West Asheville’s concerns to the city’s Neighborhood Advisory Council

It’s been a busy year and we have more to come. Please join in participating in the good stuff happening here and thanking our departing board members for their work. Please come prepared to volunteer, especially neighbors in the Westwood or State St./Hanover areas! We need your representation! Thanks.

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East West on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/375334389207146/

East West on NextDoor: https://eastwestasheville.nextdoor.com/search

East West mailing list: http://eastwestasheville.wordpress.com/contact/

REMINDER: Neighborhood Meeting with NC DOT this Tuesday

8 Sep

DOT-flier

NC Dept. of Transportation + EWANA Meeting Sept. 9th, 7-9pm

28 Aug

 

 

i-26Tuesday September 9th, 7-9pm, representatives from NC Dept. of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration will be on hand at Hall Fletcher Elementary School to present updates and neighborhood-specific information about the planned I-26 Connector project.

This long-planned project includes potentially widening I-240 to eight lanes through West Asheville, extending Amboy Road to Brevard Road across West Asheville, and many other changes that will affect the neighborhood. Learn more at I26ConnectUsProject.org and NCDOT.gov and this slightly-outdated flyover simulation video.

This meeting is organized by East West Asheville Neighborhood Association to share information and input about I-26 changes and allow neighbors to meet DOT and FHWA officials. Residents of all surrounding neighborhoods are invited to attend.

i-26b 

UPDATE: Where do things stand with the New Belgium truck issue?

24 Aug

alternatives

Click to enlarge.

Background

In early 2012, as New Belgium Brewing Co. prepared to purchase land on Craven St. in West Asheville, the City of Asheville identified five possible routes (pictured above) for tractor trailers carrying material to and from the property, of which Haywood Road through East West Asheville to I-240 was perceived as having the fewest technical issues. A promising route  (in blue) turning north onto Riverside Drive from the Craven St. bridge and entering the interstate at Hill St. near Hillcrest or Broadway was ruled out because the turn at the end of Craven St. was too tight and the yellow Norfolk Southern railroad bridge on Riverside Drive six inches too low for full-size tractor trailers.

That summer, the East West Asheville Neighborhood Association (EWANA) formed, initially to serve as a point of contact for issues surrounding the planned brewery. The expected volume of truck traffic, up to 104 truck trips per day at full production, soon emerged as a galvanizing issue for the neighborhood. As the project wound toward approval, EWANA leaders collected over 900 community members’ signatures on a petition asking the city to create an alternate route for the industrial trucks. A second traffic study and a heated debate at the Planning and Zoning Commission in January 2013 led the city, New Belgium and community groups to a possible solution: a massive infrastructure project already years in the works, known as RADTIP.

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RADTIP:

River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project. A multiyear, multimillion dollar project to rebuild and realign Riverside Drive and Lyman St into a centerpiece pedestrian- and bike-friendly boulevard lined with greenways and parks.

The City has already spent millions of dollars on the initial stages of design for RADTIP, mostly funds from a gigantic federal grant called Tiger 2. Now in process, the final design of the road and a second infusion of federal grant money, called Tiger 6, (combined with matching local funds) could be made to include changes that would allow full-size tractor trailers to use Riverside Drive to reach the interstate, either turning north and then entering the highway at Hill St. by Hillcrest or by turning south and following Lyman St to Amboy by Carrier Park, partially or totally avoiding Haywood Road. Out of negotiations with New Belgium and community groups, the City of Asheville emerged with a resolution setting the community on the path to a Riverside Drive truck route (through the RADTIP project) and addressing other safety and traffic issues in the area around the brewery. Passed by Asheville’s City Council in February 2013, the five points of the resolution were:

  • The designers of RADTIP were directed to study the two problem areas for trucks first: the turn at Craven St. bridge and the too-low Norfolk Southern trestle.
  • If funding for RADTIP was obtained, those would be the first parts of the project to be built.
  • With a $50,000 donation from New Belgium, the City of Asheville would make safety improvements to the section Haywood Road potentially impacted by brewery traffic, adding bike lanes and wide sidewalks to the uphill section of the road.
  • The City of Asheville would improve Hanover St. from the interstate exit to Haywood Road.
  • There would be an annual review of traffic impacts by City Council.

Where things stand

The plan has faced several hurdles.

1. Are the improvements to Craven Street bridge and the road under the railway trestle technically possible?

Yes. The RADTIP design firm, CDM Smith, presented a set of options to city planners in August 2014. They showed lowering the roadway under the trestle (the particulars of railway politics in general and that bridge in particular mean you can’t raise the bridge; you have to lower the road) and either widening the Craven Street bridge or adding a second bridge alongside the existing one, with extra lanes and a bike lane. This would allow long trucks to turn off Craven Street onto Riverside in either direction, and north-turning trucks to drive under the railroad bridge.

2. Are the improvements cost-effective?

Unknown. The total cost estimate for RADTIP of $25 million is a ballpark figure. The design may come to cost much more money than the city planned on, or the truck improvements may turn out to be a huge portion of the total cost. We expect to know more precise cost estimates by November. What we have going for us is that the improvements also make Craven Street bridge safer for walkers and bikers — a city priority — and the whole set of improvements will make the River Arts District more attractive to other businesses, which might otherwise be turned off by lack of truck access. The city may also have an interest in re-grading the road at the railroad bridge to deal with the frequent flooding that occurs there.

3. Is there money for any of this?

Yes. On September 9th, Mayor Esther Manheimer announced that the city has been awarded $14.6 million of grant funding earmarked for this project. With matching funds from city, county and state, and other expected grants and loans, the city expects to be able to fund RADTIP through construction.

4. Will DOT go for it?

Unknown. Though Craven St. is not maintained by the NC Dept. of Transportation, its bridge is. Any new bridge or change to the bridge requires plans to go through notorious Raleigh bureaucracy. In casual conversations, DOT representatives have said they’ll consider an “encroachment”, the process of the city taking on all or part of the bridge(s)’ maintenance.

5. Is another City Council resolution necessary?

Probably yes. The first set of city council resolutions required the designer to look at truck improvements, and also to build the north section of the project with the first funds available, but did not require the truck improvements to be built. It couldn’t, since the cost and technical feasibility of those improvements wasn’t known at the time. The city could potentially honor its resolution by completing the feasibility study and then building the north section without the improvements. Once costs are known precisely, city council can direct the project to be built including the truck improvements.

6. Will it happen in time?

Probably no. New Belgium is set to begin shipping beer winter 2015. RADTIP construction is tentatively scheduled to finish in 2019. That means unless the schedule is dramatically sped up, the first four years of beer production will happen before there’s a truck route on Riverside.

7. Is there a backup plan?

Yes, of sorts. A certain quantity of delivery trucks will be owned by New Belgium for delivery of finished beer to the company’s distribution center in Enka. In some conversations, that number has been pegged as high as 70%. The rest will be contractors and general suppliers bringing cardboard, glass, hops, etc., to the plant. New Belgium has raised the possibility of leasing a type of truck either lower than regular semis or lower-and-shorter than regular semis. In other words, if one or both of the pinch points on Riverside Drive couldn’t be fixed, New Belgium could potentially lease a type of truck that could still navigate the road, potentially avoiding Haywood with its portion of the trucks, although not entirely, and at some extra cost to the company. A plausible scenario might see two-thirds of trucks (likely those owned by New Belgium) either driving north or south on Riverside Drive, with the other third using Haywood Road. 

What’s next:

A planned public campaign this fall will push for a commitment and city council resolution to include the truck route in RADTIP plans and accelerate the construction schedule as much as possible. At the same time, we will ask New Belgium to consider ways, such as the smaller trucks, that it can reduce the impact of its trucks on Haywood Road during RADTIP construction. You can help by participating in EWANA meetings, writing and talking to your city council representatives, and highlighting the importance of safety on Haywood Road — the importance of walkability and bikeability and the appeal of our neighborhood Main Street. We will make updates on our progress and actions to take. Sign up for them on EWANA’s Facebook page, Nextdoor.com, or our email list

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