Thursday, January 22, 2009

If you’ve ever wanted greater bus frequency, Sunday service, longer hours of operation, or new routes – now is the time to make your voice heard.

Please come to this meeting!

(ASHEVILLE, NC) – There will be a Transit Master Plan public forum on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009 from 4pm-7pm, in the Asheville Civic Center’s banquet hall. The meeting will be held in an “open house” format with no formal presentation. Instead, attendees will be able to offer in-person feedback to consultants, ask questions of staff, and see preliminary data first-hand.

Interim Transit Manager Mariate Echeverry believes the forum will help determine what kind of public transit system the community wants. “The public’s input will help craft a transit plan that will be responsive to the city’s needs, and suggest sustainable transportation options.”

In 2008 the City of Asheville hired Nebraska-based consulting firm HDR to perform a thorough scientific analysis of the Asheville Transit System and create a comprehensive Transit Master Plan.

A Transit Master Plan is a document that analyzes existing transit services and develops data to support planning and decision making. In the case of Asheville, this will mean studying Asheville’s 24 bus routes and comparing them to long-term trends. The study should be completed by July 2009, and will offer short and long term recommendations on how the city could improve public transit.

To supplement the information for the Transit Master Plan, ATS staff created an online survey to get feedback and suggestions.

Dodging Fumes and Doggy Bombs

It's my day off and I'm going to strive not to drive. I've already ridden the bus to West End Bakery. I walked back down Brevard Road to come home. It's a beautiful sunny day, although still cold, but not frigid like it has been. There were two notable negative things, however, that afflicted my walk: a lot of noxious fumes from vehicles...I mean dark smoke that you could actually see. At one point I stopped and just stood for awhile, waiting for the air to clear so I could walk through it. Also, there were lots of doggy bombs all over the sidewalk. People, please, can't you carry little baggies with you and clean up after your little darlings? Give a thought to other people!!

Oh, by the way: one more positive thing. A driver actually stopped for me to cross at the crosswalk on Haywood Road. This is the crosswalk near the bakery where there is no traffic light. Many, many many thanks to you drivers who pay attention to random crosswalks!

Will go to the Asheville Transit Public Hearing for Transit Master Plan meeting today! Please come! It's 4-7 at the Civic Center and is drop in so you don't have to sit through 3 hours of meeting! Come make your wants and needs known!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

MLK holiday

Monday is the holiday honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Will the Asheville Transit buses be on a regular schedule?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

milk to the airport

A woman with a bulging backpack asks me when the last bus leaves the transit center for the airport. Yikes! It's 3:45, and I tell her the next one leaves at 4:00. I verify that the bus is indeed number six. It will leave at 4:00.

She asks me when number six leaves after 4:00. I tell her 5:30. She explains: "I don't think I'm going to make that first bus, not with a backpack full of milk!"

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Why Don't the Buses Go Everywhere, All the Time?

So I got a promotion and am now working in a different part of town. There is no bus service near where I work. The closest stop is nearly a mile away and the road I'd have to walk up to get to work from the bus stop has no sidewalks. Also the times, even if I decided to walk the mile, would be pretty inconvenient.

So I'm wondering why the bus doesn't go down Long Shoals Road. Someone came into the library yesterday and said that her friends had told her that it did indeed stop at the Ingles on Long Shoals, but looking on the route maps, I couldn't find any evidence of that. The library is at the convergence of an elementary school, a middle school and a high school (I'm thinking staff here--teachers, cafeteria workers, custodians.) Long Shoals is a busy, busy road. A hotbed of activity and people going to jobs. All the new businesses in Biltmore Park, also the YMCA is out there. The Waffle House, Ingles...Surely it's just a matter of time...On the other hand, it's quite upper middle class out there...

If I'm wrong and a route has been added I will be very very happy. I'd still have to walk a little ways from the corner of Overlook and Longshoals, but it wouldn't be bad. If I'm wrong, someone out there let me know!

I want to go downtown today. I would ride the bus today if I could, but, alas, it's Sunday and there is no service. Do buses run on Sundays in other cities the size of Asheville?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Asheville Bus Riding Survey

This is the link to a survey that the Asheville Transit System is doing. Please take it and tell your friends to take it. Especially if you think you might ride the bus if it went where you wanted to go and when you wanted to go.

Also, please remember to go to the meeting mentioned in the previous post.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Meeting of Interest and Importance

This is a link to a Citizen-Times article in today's paper reporting on a meeting yesterday at the West Asheville library. The meeting was called a "car-free conclave" and in it, people discussed improvements needed for biking, walking and riding the bus in Asheville. Unfortunately, the meeting was not publicized. I work for the libray system and didn't know about it even though it was at a library.

A bigger meeting is coming up though that I would encourage everyone who is concerned about getting around in the Asheville area to attend. That meeting is January 22nd, 4-7pm at the Civic Center. They must have really wanted a lot of people to come since they chose 4 in the afternoon when most of us work. Unfortunate. But I'm going to try to get time off to go.

Here is the meeting info from the Asheville Citizen:

A public meeting to discuss a master plan for the Asheville Transit System will be held 4-7 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Asheville Civic Center. For information, call the transit system office at 253-5691 or e-mail

Saturday, January 3, 2009

two buses and one drunk

Monday I drove because I had to get Walter over to his Mom's house, then I had to go to work. The bus is simply not the right tool for that job. Then after work I went for a run, then we went up Merrimon for dinner and a movie. More driving. We did, however, leave the van downtown Monday night. On Tuesday we rode the bus into town, and then at the end of the day I rode the bus home directly, but Sherry drove to Earth Fare on her way home.

On Wednesday, we missed the outgoing #9 from downtown at 5:30. Usually that bus is late, and I had come to count on it being late-- big mistake. We arrived at the bus station at 5:33, just as the bus was leaving. I saw it, waiting at the edge of Coxe, but I didn't realize that it was #9. We surely could have made it, but we didn't know it was #9 so we didn't run for it. Anyway, #1 was along at 6:00. We spent the interim in a packed waiting area.

One of those days there was a drunk on the bus on the way home. I guess that was Tuesday. So transit drivers allow drunks on the bus? I mean drunk. I don't mean buzzed or tipsy. This guy was staggering, slurred speech, the works. If someone comes in my workplace drunk like that, we insist that he (and it's always a he) find his way to an exit. Why are they allowed on the bus? He wasn't causing any particular problems, I suppose. He stayed in his seat. He didn't challenge anybody to a duel or anything. I guess that policy amounts to waiting until a drunk causes a problem, then telling the drunk to get off the bus.

Thursday was New Year's Day.

Friday was another driving day, because one stop was Walter's mom's house, where he spent the day while I worked. I wonder if my busriding days are more limited in the future. It's hard to hold down a full-time job and get a child back and forth all while on the bus schedule. I'll do it when I can.