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Merrimon Widening Comment

Deborah: I actually work at a business on the corner of Merrimon Ave and Chatham

From: Deborah Bloom
Date: Mon, Jan 29, 2018 at 5:08 PM
Subject: TIP Projects U5781 & U5782
To: chood@ncdot.gov

Dear Mr. Hood,

I’m writing, with concern, in regard to the plans for changing a section of Merrimon Avenue in Asheville. I’ve lived and worked in Asheville for over 14 years. I feel that as a (relatively) long-time resident of Asheville, I should have a say in how our streets are maintained and changed as I actually use them on a day-to-day basis.
I believe the plan is to increase the number of lanes and widen them overall. In order to accomplish this, I understand that at least one home is to be obtained by eminent domain.
My concerns are for the safety of pedestrians and bikers and for the homeowners who are to lose their home. (To be clear, I do not know which home is to be commandeered, nor do I know the owner.)
If the lanes are widened and the speed limit raised, Merrimon Avenue will become a speedway. Even now, with a lower speed limit, cars drive faster. If the lanes a widened and the speed limit increased, drivers will drive even faster than they do now. I actually work at a business on the corner of Merrimon Ave and Chatham. I can’t tell you the number of car accidents that have occurred. Every time we (the other employees and I) hear tires screeching, we cringe. I myself was the victim (in my car, not as a pedestrian) of a driver who ran a red light on Merrimon. If I hadn’t seen the car and sped up to get out of their way, well, I likely would not be writing to you now. They ended up hitting the back end of my car.
As for re-routing cars from Clearview Terrace that exit direcly onto Merrimon Avenue, I agree that the safety issues justify it. I’m dismayed though that a family is being forced out of their house to do it. I believe there is an access road of some type that passes close to the Clearview Terrace apartments and lets out on Edgewood Knoll Road. Has this alternate solution been investigated?
One more suggestion is to utilize the greenway that runs along W.T. Weaver Blvd as an underground pedestrian walkway and bike path. Once again, safety and residential usability should be kept at the forefront of this project.
Thank you for your time.
Deborah Bloom