RADTIP improvements will widen Riverside Drive, adding bike lanes and sidewalks to make it safer for all modes of transportation.
After years of careful planning, an exciting phase is about to begin in Asheville’s River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project, known as RADTIP. And that is the construction phase. After more than two years of meticulous groundwork, RADTIP is about to happen!
When complete, the project will provide key bicycle and pedestrian connectivity throughout the River Arts District in addition to green spaces along the French Broad River, river access points and far safer roadways for motorists to navigate. Plans call for gathering spaces, such as a community plaza and a multi-use event space and visitor center, set to open at 14 Riverside Drive July 21.
There will be much-needed roadway and intersection improvements. To make travel safer and less confusing, two roundabouts will be installed — one at the five-points intersection where Lyman, Depot and Roberts streets intersect with Clingman Avenue. The other one will go on the other side of the Southern Railway track in the sharp curve where Riverside Drive and Lyman Street join. In making these and other improvements, these River Artist Districts streets, originally built decades ago, will be brought up to current standards for safety.
The City has worked with the community to embrace the context of this mixed use, artsy neighborhood. A vibrant attraction for tourists, it serves as a creative hub for our residents, many of whom are working artists. Toward that end, murals and other opportunities for public art will be incorporated as part of this project.
All of these initiatives align with City Council goals, such as providing transportation accessibility and a well-planned and livable community.
Paying for it all
RADTIP is part of a TIGER VI suite of projects funded in part through a $14.6 million grant from the federal Transportation Department. The City is paying its share too, through combinations from enterprise funds, other grants, such as from the Tourism Development Authority, and City debt proceeds.
Still, it comes with an impressive price tag. And construction prices have shifted in the few years since the planning began in 2014 and now. When the projects went to bid in May, staff found the bids came in much higher than expected. So staff quickly worked to readjust the plan to fit the available budget.
At its June 27 meeting, Council voted to approve funding modifications that preserve the core roadway, pedestrian and bicycle transportation improvements.
Some elements of the TIGER VI suite may have to come online later. These include the Livingston Complete Street, and three greenways: the Town Branch, French Broad River Greenway West and Bacoate Branch (formerly Clingman) greenways.
From vision to reality
The core RADTIP improvements still include over two miles of greenways, bike lanes, pedestrian connections, additional parking and stormwater improvements. Road improvements will include better access for commercial trucks and safer traffic flow at intersections.
The City has spent the past year working with partner agencies on utility relocations that pave the way for the RADTIP construction to begin.
Please pardon our dust, and any traffic inconveniences, as construction is expected to start by August 1. Be sure to consult the WAZE traffic app for official information on needed lane closures or detours.
From vision to reality, one element this project has already delivered is the French Broad River East Bank Greenway and Recreation Area, an 8.5 acre open space that runs parallel to the French Broad River. Using additional parcels the City has acquired more such amenities are in store, such as bike racks, benches, community tables and edible plantings.