February 2010 - Parks & Recreation - 10

Ope n i n g s

French Broad River
Greenway Extension
Asheville, North Carolina	

T

he French Broad River Greenway Extension in Asheville,
North Carolina is a 1.2 mile bicycle and pedestrian
facility that transects city, county, state, and private
properties by way of permanent easements and right-of-way
encroachments. It took the city more than five years and
$135,000 to assemble the 3.5 acres of right-of-way needed
for the project that unites two significant riverfront parks.
The trail has on-road and off-road segments and follows the
north bank of the French Broad River, providing rich pastoral
views of the historic Biltmore estate. A section of the trail runs
through the middle of a family-owned recreational vehicle
park and along the storefront of a RV repair shop as well as
a river canoeing outfitter, which stands as a testament to the
role greenways can play in economic development.
Linking a diversity of uses along the greenway corridor
which include developed commercial properties, state
highway, and parkland was among the many project challenges. To superimpose a seamless trail over such a complex
environment required a strong emphasis on transportation
infrastructure improvements such as sidewalks and shared
travel lanes that are becoming more typical of the " greenway "
fabric in areas like Asheville where urbanization is outpacing
conservation and flat open space is at a premium.
In addition, the off-road section of the corridor supports
a sewer trunk line and a series of transmission line towers
and ebbs and flows through the French Broad River floodway
making it highly restrictive for even low-impact development
such as the installation of benches and trees. The 10-foot-wide
trail was designed to conform to the existing topography of
the floodway and was engineered to serve as an access road
for utility company maintenance vehicles.
The $800,000 project was funded by the City of Asheville
and a grant from North Carolina Department of Transportation. It completes the southern portion of the French Broad
River Greenway, Asheville's major north-south alternative
transportation corridor and linear park system and is the
largest contiguous greenway constructed in Asheville to date.
The project represents a 40 percent increase in Asheville's
total greenway length, elevating it to 4.5 miles-a significant
achievement considering the topographical constraints the
Appalachian city faces as it tries to implement a nationally
recognized greenway system. 

8	

Parks & Recreation F e b r u a r y

2010 www.NRPA .ORG



February 2010 - Parks & Recreation

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