The City of Asheville and the North Carolina Department of Transportation are taking a full-speed ahead approach to the I-26 Connector. But do you – as a resident of our beautiful City – REALLY know what this thing is going to look like and its long-term impacts on the City’s future? The Don’t Wreck Asheville Coalition doubts it!
The Coalition is made up of private citizens – people who will ultimately be living with whatever is built. We’ve been working quietly over the past few months to get a grassroots group of concerned citizens up and running. Our goal is to educate, inform and activate “We the People” from across the City of Asheville to protect our joint interests on this project. We are now launching the core tool in that effort – the “Don’t Wreck Asheville” website at www.dontwreckasheville.org.
The Coalition’s name has been subject to a lot of debate among our core group of volunteers. People have worried that it sounds too negative. So we pondered that thought, and ultimately decided the stakes are so high that people need to understand with just a phrase what this fight is all about. Just as other cities are removing the cement infrastructure and industrial uses that block public access to waterways, our state and local government leaders are planning to move Asheville in the opposite direction.
As now planned, in addition to the Bowen Bridge, there will be three new elevated highways crossing the French Broad River that will serve as the “scenic” front door to downtown Asheville! They will be completely out of proportion for the surrounding landscape and a city the size of Asheville. According to the current 4B plans, there will be a combined 20 lanes of highway and shoulders flying over the Emma Street neighborhood. The lane and shoulder count near Riverside Cemetery and Montford will be a full 14 lanes, the Hillcrest community will be surrounding by highways on all four sides rather than just two sides. All I-240 traffic will be funneled onto tightly curved elevated flyovers towering 10 stories above the river. If that combo doesn’t Wreck Asheville, I don’t know what does!
So, please join our efforts! We want the public in overwhelming numbers to join us in telling the Asheville City Council and NCDOT that 4B is not a suitable alternative for the I-26 Connector project. Sign the petition at the Coalition website. Then ask 10 friends to sign as well!! Make a contribution through the GoFundMe website. We’ve already had an angel donor fund one-third of our $6,150 start-up budget, but we need the cash on hand to invest in yard and business signs. Your donations can fund that component.
With planning for the I-26 Connector dating all the way back to 1988, some people may think this is yet another false start on its progress. But, it’s not. We will be stuck with what is now being planned if we don’t act in a concerted and united fashion to tell the planners that the 4B Alternative just doesn’t fly. Join us in the fight!!