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Merrimon Widening Comment

Claudia: Although I am a seasoned bicyclist I avoid riding this section of road because there is no room for bicyclists on the roadway

From: Claudia Nix
Date: Sat, Jan 13, 2018 at 1:54 PM
Subject: Merrimon Ave proposed changes
To: kbereis@hntb.com

Hello Kim,

I was unable to attend the public meeting last Monday but do want to comment on this project.  I have a number of concerns about this project.  First, it does not seem to be taking pedestrians and bicyclists into consideration with the proposed changes. There are many people walking this corridor and there are many present challenges for their safety.  There are sections where sidewalk ends and leaves no place for the pedestrian to continue walking, there are locations where trying to cross the street is difficult now and by adding a turn lane will make the roadway wider and increase the time for people to get across the street.  There are sections when turning traffic and pedestrians are moving at the same time and motorists do not yield to them.  Second, although I am a seasoned bicyclist I avoid riding this section of road because there is no room for bicyclists on the roadway and there are so many vehicles that are vying for space and with the preoccupation of cell phones and other things motorists are not looking for bicyclists.  It would be much safer for those on the sidewalks and for those who need to bike to locations on this roadway if a turn lane was put in by reducing the number of motor vehicle lanes and adding bike lanes on each direction.  This would give a buffer to the pedestrians and a place for the bicyclists to travel.  Fourth, I travel this road many times in my motor vehicle and I understand the issue with motorists having difficult traveling along this road, however I feel that congestion is not always a negative factor.  There are times when this roadway is free moving and I fear that adding additional lanes will increase the speed that motorists travel.  On Hendersonville Road, which I travel daily we find motorists traveling 50-60 mph.  This is a deadly travel speed if a motorists hits a pedestrian.  Merrimon Avenue maybe a numbered state roadway but it is also a local collector street; increasing the speed of motor vehicles does not need to be achieved.  Continual flow is more important than increasing speed.  Completing the sidewalk connections is the most important need of this roadway and I applaud the willingness to do this.  Fifth, there is a very important crossing of a local greenway at WT Weaver Blvd.  This is a difficult crossing for pedestrians and bicyclists because the crossing light is green for them at the same time the left turn light is green for motorists turning from Weaver onto Merrimon.  This intersection needs correction.  Also, the side walk is very narrow and there is a 3″ drop-off on the far side (the Luella’s side).  This can be difficult for bicyclists to negotiate when trying to continue on the greenway.  Widening the side walk would help with this problem.

I believe these suggestions are very important to make our community bicycle and pedestrian friendly.  The city has been recognized as a bronze level bicycle friendly community and silver level as a pedestrian friendly community.  We are trying to improve these classifications and I feel these suggestions would help us with these efforts.  The NCDOT proposed changes would hinder these efforts.  I hope you will take this information all into consideration and incorporate them into the DOT plan rather than continue as is.

I appreciate the opportunity to comment on this project.

Sincerely,

Claudia Nix

Co-owner Liberty Bicycles, Inc.