Who should you call to fix that pothole or broken curb? In a recent update to mapAsheville, the city’s online user-accessible mapping and GIS service, the City of Asheville added a new application that displays ownership of all roads and corridors within the city limits so residents can find out who maintains their street.
While many of the streets inside the Asheville city limits are owned and maintained by the city, others are a mix of North Carolina Department of Transportation property, privately-owned roads, or roads owned by the National Park Service.
“A lot of people don’t understand that difference,” says Transportation Director Ken Putnam. “They just assume they are on a city street.”
Knowing who owns the road brings a resident that much closer to finding out who to call if repairs or maintenance are needed, because whoever owns the street is responsible for its maintenance, Putnam notes.
For instance, Putnam continues, most major traffic corridors in the City of Asheville, like Merrimon Avenue, Charlotte Street and Haywood Road, not to mention I-240, are the property of NCDOT. “We thought this would be important information to put out there,” Putnam said. “And that it would be another useful resource for the citizens of Asheville.”
The new application, says Information Technology Director Jonathan Feldman, is a good example of the versatility of the award-winning mapAsheville system developed in 2006. Like previous applications that supply developer information and maps instances of crimes within the city, the update consists of data the city is already working with in some fashion. Because of the way mapAsheville was structured in its creation, it is easy to follow up by plugging in new information and making it available to the public.
“It’s like a Mr. Potato Head system,” Feldman says. “We can put it together with all these different components. So when we decided to do this one, it was literally done within the week.”
The City of Asheville already uses extensive GIS information for anything from directing emergency vehicles to supplying Asheville City Council with current annexation boundaries. Having that tool also increases the efficiency by which City of Asheville staff can answer technical questions without digging for data. The mapAsheville component allows the public to access data it needs as well, Feldman says.
“Without an application like mapAsheville, all that information is locked away where the people can’t get to it,” Feldman says.
To see the mapAsheville’s new application, go to www.ashevillenc.gov/mapasheville and click on the “Standard GIS” link. Then, in the map criteria column on the left side of the page, select “Maintenance Responsibility,” and zoom in to the desired location. Clicking the “+” sign will show the map’s color-coded key. A “Simple Search” from the mapAsheville main site will also allow for address-specific searches.