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Merrimon Widening Comment

Bill: I’m writing in strong opposition to the NCDOT Merrimon Ave. widening plan as it currently exists

From: Bill Helfrich
Date: Sun, Jan 28, 2018 at 10:15 PM
Subject: Yolo Frozen Yogurt Opposition to NCDOT Merrimon Ave Widening Plan

Dear Mr. Clark,

I’m writing in strong opposition to the NCDOT Merrimon Ave. widening plan as it currently exists.
I live on Lakeshore Dr., less than 100 yards from Merrimon. My wife and I also own Yolo Frozen Yogurt at 505 Merrimon Ave.
I’ve been in the Yolo/Luella’s parking area and the Yolo front yard along Merrimon everyday for last 18 months so I’m intimately familiar with the pedestrian, bicycle, and automobile traffic there and on Murdock Ave. This is currently one of the most family and bicycle friendly places all along Merrimon. Luella’s, as you may know, even puts out hoola hoops and cornhole every day. People relax on the Yolo patio in the warmer months and cyclists meet up in our parking lot for a ride on Saturdays.
The current NCDOT plan is hostile to this “neighborly” environment.
It should also be noted that creating a right turn only exit onto Merrimon from Murdock will tempt drivers to cut through the remaining Yolo parking lot in an attempt to turn left and head north to UNCA or towards downtown, thereby endangering pedestrians and oncoming traffic.  Additionally, creating a southbound turning lane onto Weaver Blvd. will tempt other southbound drivers to view the easternmost lanes as the “express” lanes and they will increase their speed through what will be the former front yard of Yolo. This is a yard where kids and cyclists now park their bikes on our permanent bike racks and where kids play during the summer.
I urge you to reevaluate the plan and make it more in line with the concept of Complete Streets which the State of North Carolina and the City of Asheville and its citizens have embraced.
Thank you.
Sincerely,
Bill Helfrich
Owner, Yolo Frozen Yogurt