At long last, Swannanoa residents who ride the bus will have a place to wait that’s protected from the elements. Work has begun on construction of two new handicap-accessible bus shelters on U.S. 70 — an eastbound shelter near the Swannanoa Ingles, and a westbound shelter near Riverwood Road. Site preparation work, which includes pouring the concrete for sidewalks and the shelter pad, is almost complete. The shelter structures (see conceptual drawing below) are expected to be installed in late May. They should be available for use by mid-June, after all the necessary inspections have been completed.
The shelters are welcome news to the growing numbers of bus riders in the Swannanoa area. Friends and Neighbors of Swannanoa (FANS) has been advocating for shelters for several years, and has worked closely with the County to bring the project to fruition, but efforts were hampered by funding issues and concern over the future of the route. But this past January, Asheville Redefines Transit (ART) expanded service on the Swannanoa Valley route, clearing the way for the bus shelter project to move forward with funding from the County.