Jan 25, 2018
Executive Director, Asheville on Bikes
1 Haywood Rd
Asheville, NC 28801
Kim Bereis, AICP
HNTB North Carolina, P.C.
101 S. Tryon, Suite 3610
Charlotte, NC 28280
Dear Kim Bereis:
On behalf of Asheville on Bikes (AoB), a 501(c)3 advocacy organization, I submit the following public comment to you regarding NCDOT’s initial designs for the proposed widening of Merrimon Ave, project U-5781 & U-5782.
AoB, whose mission is to cultivate the culture of urban and commuter riding through advocacy and celebration, opposes this project as currently designed and recommends that NCDOT redesign the project to incorporate:
- NCDOT’s Complete Street and Vision Zero policies
- AASHTO’s (American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials) bicycle facilities standards
- City of Asheville’s (COA) Asheville in Motion (AIM), 2025 Comprehensive Plan, Asheville Greenway Master Plan, and the Community Characteristics Report, Proposed Interchange Project, Tip No. U-4013.1.1 US 25 (Merrimon Ave), King St to Maney Ave: Operational Improvements, City of Asheville, Buncombe County
- An analysis of pedestrian and bicyclists level of service (LOS)
- A continuous connection for the Glen’s Creek Greenway at WT Weaver
- COA’s planning and transportation departments in the development of the redesign
- A community working group made up of corridor neighbors and business leaders, active transportation advocates, and city transportation and planning staff to provide input during the re-design of the project
- A charrette approach to public input throughout the redesign process.
The current proposed design prioritizes the movement of motor vehicles above public safety, multi-modal transportation options, neighborhood connectivity, and local economic development. It is evident that the prioritization of motor vehicles, above all else, is incongruent to the aspirations of the Asheville community when one reviews the existing city plans referenced above. Upon review of NCDOT’s plan, it’s apparent that NCDOT did little, if anything at all, to incorporate existing city plans or engage COA transportation and planning staff and the corridor community in the development of the current design. Poor process results in poor design and poor design puts people in peril.
The current plan not only ignores city planning efforts, but also fails to meet AASHTO design standards regarding bicycle and pedestrian facilities. No existing transportation standard supports the incorporation of a 2 foot ‘shared bicycle lane’ on a road with a 40 mile per hour design speed (as included in the current proposed plan). The bicycle facilities currently proposed are dangerous and we consider that part of your design to be a flagrant disregard for public safety.
Asheville on Bikes encourages NCDOT to disregard its current proposal and develop a proposal that incorporates the recommendations identified above.
In spite of these significant plan shortcomings, Asheville on Bikes foresees a future where NCDOT Division 13 uses its budget and engineering expertise as a willing partner that promotes Complete Streets and multimodal infrastructure throughout Western North Carolina.
As a step toward a better project and that better future, I request a face to face meeting with NCDOT engineers, design consultants and community members to discuss how to incorporate COA and the corridor community into the Merrimon Ave planning process so that the Merrimon redesign that prioritizes the movement of people above the movement of machines.
Asheville on Bikes