From: Jamie Gilpin
Date: Tue, Jan 23, 2018 at 10:46 AM
Subject: Merrimon Ave Widening
I am a North Asheville resident, a parent of 2 children that go to school in north Asheville (Jones Elementary & Blue Ridge Montessori), a cyclist, and a business owner that commutes to an office in downtown Asheville.
My father (Jim Gilpin) collaborated with Jay Swain before my father retired from the US Forest Service. He has spoken highly of Jay, and I’m sure that Jay would be reasonable in addressing the below issues and solutions.
I am very concerned about the plans proposed for Merrimon Avenue and what it will do to our community. Here are my issues:
- The proposed changes will encourage the increase in speeds along Merrimon Avenue. The wider lanes with the turn lane will increase the ease of speed.
- This will undoubtedly result in higher risk of injuries to not only motorists but also pedestrians and cyclists. If anything SLOWER speeds need to be encouraged to retain the sense of community.
- The speed will restrict the ease of accessing local businesses, causing financial issues.
- The community feel of the street will be lost if it ends up looking and feeling like Hendersonville Road (Hwy 25) south of Asheville. We don’t want another road like that, which loses the sense of community between residential and local business areas.
- Merrimon road is indeed a community road, and not a road needing high flow to get anywhere in a farther distance than the northern neighborhoods of Asheville. Longer drives are best served on the current “future I-26”.
I see this Merrimon project and its as needing the following. These are all prefaced with clear, effective, and timely communication between all parties.
- Collaborate with the City of Asheville and its residents. Consult the following plans already in place:
- Follow DOT’s own policies as well as Federal guidelines:
The bottom line is that we need to collaborate and construct multiple solutions for Merrimon on which all stakeholders can give proper input. That is the only way that a suitable solution can be reached which residents will be happy with.
I am happy to be involved and participate in these discussions and talk with Jay directly.
Thanks – Jamie