From: Brooke Heaton
Date: Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 1:35 PM
Subject: Merrimon Ave Intersection Improvements at Edgewood through WT Weaver Boulevard – promote sustainable and safe communities
Dear Ms. Bereis,
Thank you for taking the time to ready my email.
I am writing to express my concern that current plans for the Merrimon Ave Intersection Improvements at Edgewood through WT Weaver Boulevard will prevent specific safety risks to pedestrians and bicyclists, do not promote healthy, walkable communities and deviate strongly from the NCDOT’s own 2009 Complete Streets policy, the City of Asheville Comprehensive Bicycle Plan. Further, the plans ignore AASHTO Guidelines for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, which was adopted via NCDOT’s own Bicycle Policy. As a resident of Asheville who moved here because it offers so many healthy alternatives to large cities, I am dismayed by the lack of collaboration and coordination with existing local plans that the Merrimon Ave Intersection Improvements plan reveals.
I strongly encourage NCDOT’s Division 13 to work with the City of Asheville’s (COA) Transportation Department to incorporate COA plans into NCDOT planning for Merrimon Avenue. Exhaustive efforts by numerous Asheville residents and groups have gone into the formulation of the Asheville in Motion (AIM), and the Asheville City 2025 Plan. Further, please consider specific considerations of the NCDOT’s “Community Characteristics Report, US 25 (Merrimon Ave) King Street to Maney Avenue: Operational Improvements City of Asheville, Buncombe County (CCR)” which expressly raises the need for specialized trail crossings at W.T. Weaver and references the Comprehensive Bicycle Plan’s desire for climbing lanes in the area, which are excluded from the current plans. I also strongly encourage NCDOT Division 13 to follow the NCDOT Transportation Policy regarding active transportation, which expressly focuses on the need to work “in partnership with local government agencies, interest groups, and the public to plan, fund, design, construct, and manage complete street networks that sustain mobility while accommodating walking, biking, and transit opportunities safely”.
I will note that, while I am a sometimes biker, I am a frequent driver in Asheville use Merrimon Avenue extensively. It is entirely of no value to me me to put my fellow Asheville residents at risk to save a minute while riding in my car. I have more patience and consideration for the needs and value of two-legged and two-wheeled travelers than this plan conveys. It is FAR more important that I live in a city and community that thrives on healthy, active, living by building infrastructure that prioritizes the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists over cars.
Nowhere in the Merrimon Ave Intersection Improvements plans do I see a genuine concern for the local community, pedestrians, bicyclists or the Americans with Disabilities Act. Please work with the City of Asheville and local citizen groups to revise your plans to promote a walkable, bikeable and sustainable Asheville community.
Brooke Randall Heaton