Publication in: Fall 2022 Issue

Researching Bike Accessibility on the UNC Asheville Campus and in the Community of Asheville, NC
Joe Franco
Environmental Studies
Faculty Mentor(s):
Alison Ormsby
Abstract / Summary:
The United States has a major issue with car dependency. Since the middle of the 20th century, the majority of infrastructure in the US has been specifically designed to focus on cars. However, there is a growing movement to provide more options for mobility, and cities like Asheville, NC are part of this movement. This paper specifically looks at the bicycle as an alternative to the car, its benefits, and which cities around the world have embraced biking. I researched the current state of “bikeability” in Asheville, as well as on the UNC Asheville campus, and offer recommendations for both locations. My research was completed using a mixed-methods approach, involving a review of previous literature on the subject of bikeability, interviews with local experts, analysis of best practices and industry standards, and surveys of students and residents of Asheville. The results found that both UNC Asheville and the Asheville community have a long way to go to fully accommodate cyclists. UNC Asheville has several strong points, such as the Campus Recreation Bike Shop and connection to city greenways, but still struggles in comparison to other schools in North Carolina. The city of Asheville is slowly improving with the help of the bike advocacy organization “Asheville on Bikes,” yet still lacks the ridership and infrastructure of a truly bicycle friendly city. Some key recommendations for UNC Asheville include incentives to students, faculty, and staff to bike, and also improved education such as including sustainable transportation material in the curriculum. For the community of Asheville, a major issue is bike network connectivity, building more bike lanes that connect, as well as improving high-quality bike parking in all areas of the city.
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