Temporary structures to add bike and pedestrian areas along Coxe Avenue
in the South Slope area may include items
like these plastic “armadillos.”
Temporary active transportation improvements will come to the South Slope this fall, in a partnership between the City of Asheville, Asheville on Bikes, AARP and the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club. This multimodal collaboration will happen on Coxe Avenue in a “Tactical Urbanism Project.”
“Tactical urbanism” is a term used to describe a collection of low-cost, temporary changes to streets and sometimes neighborhoods, intended to test what might work best when considering permanent enhancements.
At its Oct. 9 meeting, Asheville City Council authorized the City Manager to enter into an agreement with community partners to implement this project.
The City’s Planning and Transportation departments are working together on this project. Over the summer a South Slope design workshop identified possible Coxe Avenue reconfigurations to better accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists.
What do we mean by “temporary?”
“Mostly paint,” said Assistant Transportation Director Jessica Morriss.
Contraptions called “traffic armadillos” will also be deployed. These are small plastic dividers that look an armadillo shell that can be used to make a temporary bike lane, for example.
“The exciting part of this project is the opportunity to build an alternative street configuration and test it in real life to see how it works,” said Morriss. “We look forward to seeing what creative solutions spring from this community-led collaboration.”
Due to the temporary materials, adjustments can be made to the design, if needed.
City staff work to incorporate bike- and pedestrian-friendly components to our streets where possible and budget permitting.
Look for the installation to go in Nov. 1-4. The goal is to increase safe bicycle and pedestrian use on Coxe Avenue while balancing the needs of vehicle users. The street structures will remain in place until there is a more permanent design for Coxe Avenue.
Of note, the Street Tweaks Partnership has raised $150,000 to fund the design and building of this project. The City has not contributed any funding to this process, but there are in-kind contributions in the form of staff time, traffic counts and general assistance.
Related documentation: Coxe Avenue Tactical Urbanism Project Memorandum of Understanding