So, we're just gonna say it. The road realignment project in the River Arts Distrct, aka RADTIP, should be stopped.Technically, it may be too late due to the construction drawings having gone beyond 70%. The AARRC had the ability to modify these plans but did not.
The real question is WHY? Why did the AARRC not change the road realignment plans? Why does the City of Asheville and AARRC want the road realignment?
The original Wilma Dykeman plans (according to our review) do not call for a road realignment along the French Broad River. It does call for pushing the road AWAY from the river. Therefore, we wonder about the new push for this road realignment which will essentially put a road directly along the river and create an "island" out of the brownstone building and 12 Bones property.
Here are reasons why the Road Realignment, RADTIP should be stopped:
1) It will INCREASE traffic speed and flow - not slow it down.The reason so many people have taken to using Riverside Drive is because it is a faster way to go from the south side of Asheville (Bilmore Village area) to the north side of Asheville (UNC-A area). I personally know that several who work at MAHEC and have need to get to UNCA, often take this road because it's faster. There are several at the hospital who do as well. It is a faster shortcut since traffic through downtown has become so congested. These are not people who are stopping to visit the artists - this is simply a shortcut.
It has been a shortcut that for the most part, comes to a slow down at the 12 Bones corner because there is a corner. By straightening this out, it will increase the speed and amount of traffic.
2) It will improve and INCREASE TRUCK trafficIn the RADTIP plan itself, it states that congestion is not the reason for the road realignment. They state specifically, it is to make traffic easier for TRUCKS.
"With relatively low traffic volumes, improving traffic flow is not a major need in the project area." (pg 4 of RADTIP)Why we do need to make truck traffic easier? For New Belgium. The RADTIP plan was submitted in early January 2013 and states
"New Belgium Brewery purchased an 18 acre riverfront log on the west side.... a new facility that will employ an estimated 150 people by its full build out" (pg 9 of RADTIP)In addition, New Belgium estimates 75 trucks per day traveling down Riverside Drive. Between employees and truck deliveries alone, we will see an increase of at least 500 vehicles (truck and car) per day down Riverside Drive (going and coming).
Rather than increasing traffic, they should be slowing it down.
3) Roads increase floodingReview any flood article and it will show you that increasing impervious (such as concrete) surfaces, increases flood flow.
But unless governments take steps to limit new development, it will undercut those other efforts, says Fox. New buildings and roads increase both the amount and speed of water heading into streams and rivers, he explains, making such development a major factor in determining the extent of future flood damage. Source: Mountain Xpress: https://mountainx.com/news/community-news/101007flood/The RADTIP plan calls for putting in stormwater ditches and drainage that currently do not exist. We support this entirely but that does not mean they need to put a road there in order to put in flood mitigation.
4) Other reasons do not support the road. The RADTIP developers conducted other studies which proved that there is no other reason to support a road realignment: (see pages 8 - 10 of RADTIP)
- School Buses - The RADTIP plan says that school buses do not primarily use this route.
- Airport Traffic - It does not impact traffic to or from the Airport. It states "no special consideration is needed for this transportation mode."
- Accident data - it states that accident data is not available but a concern primarily for "pedestrian facilities." - this means put in SIDEWALKS! not another road to increase traffic flow and speed.
The RADTIP plan itself can site no other reason for the road realignment other than the addition of New Belgium.
To access the RADTIP, click here (note: it's lengthy)
RADTIP other plans:
There are several plans in the RADTIP project that are supported and those are the original plans put forth by the Wilma Dykeman plan - plans that call for putting in sidewalks, increasing park space, greenways, outdoor ampitheatre and putting in flood mitigation such as drainage ditches. However, the bulk of the plan and the cost are for the road realignment itself. This is what is unnecessary.
Comment from the authors:
If it had not been for the impact on 12 Bones property and our direct interest, we would not have reviewed and studied these materials. We are like many of you, busy being business owners, artists, parents or students and often don't have the time to keep up with every proposed change impacting our neighborhoods or business. This has been a huge lesson in paying attention. We are pretty sure that the AARRC and City wishes we had stayed in the dark and apathetic. It's time the citizens of Asheville pay attention to what its leaders and bureaucrats are putting forth.