I am writing as a longtime North Asheville resident and homeowner, and for years have frequented the locations along Merrimon Avenue on a daily basis.
The current proposal to widen Merrimon appears to make it easier for cars to travel faster along this road, while impeding ability to safely access businesses along this corridor. To increase speeds along this road makes no sense to me. People who travel the road and frequent its businesses value a lower speed limit so that they can access businesses safely. I know of no one who wants Merrimon Avenue to have any more lanes than it has, nor do they want cars using this road to travel faster.
Broadway is an underutilized 4-lane road that is capable of handing traffic traveling at a faster rate of speed. I-26 was built in order to accommodate traffic going to Weaverville.
Merrimon Avenue is a business corridor surrounded by apartments and neighborhoods full of residents who use those businesses. Residents living along or near Merrimon Ave deserve safe access to its businesses by any means they choose, whether it be car, bike, or on foot. Traffic along Merrimon Avenue can be minimized through a Complete Streets approach, as outlined in https://smartgrowthamerica.org/program/national-complete-streets-coalition/.
The current plan is discriminatory in that it reduces safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. Everyone should have equal, unimpeded access to businesses. That right should not be limited to those who own autos. The government is responsible for the overall safety of all citizens, not just a few. The health and wellbeing of the public is served when people are able to access the outdoors. A road should not restrict a natural means of accessing resources, or shared, community spaces such as parks and greenways.
Any changes to Merrimon Avenue should rightfully be reviewed by those who will be impacted by those changes, i.e. the community at large. I encourage you to engage with neighborhood groups, the City of Asheville, and the public at large before committing to making any changes to Merrimon Avenue, in order to ensure that the interests of everyone are served by the outcome.
All the best,