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Merrimon Widening Comment

Mary: We moved to North Asheville from South Asheville to avoid that big city feel – all the pavement and higher traffic speeds

From: Mary Johnson
Date: Sat, Jan 13, 2018 at 1:49 PM
Subject: PLEASE DO NOTHING TO MERRIMON AVE THAT INHIBITS PEDESTRIANS AND BIKERS
To: kberies@hntb.com, ashevilleonbikes@gmail.com

Hello. I was unable to attend the meeting about the potential widening to five lanes parts of Merrimon Ave. This has come up just as I AM THINKING WE SHOULD LOWER THE SPEED LIMIT on this stretch. We moved to North Asheville from South Asheville to avoid that big city feel – all the pavement and higher traffic speeds. I am sure that You know that turning a road into FIVE lanes, with NO MEDIAN, is going to add speed. Why do we need speed – I travel this way almost daily and have never once experienced a backup like happens all the time on Hendersonville Rd. Nobody has to travel that short 1-2 miles any faster than they already do.

Plenty of drivers already feel unsafe with the speed on Merrimon Ave.. The drivers who switch lanes and try to get ahead that way frequently do not. They just make the road more unsafe for all of us. I suggest you make one lane in each direction with a turning lane and wider sidewalks (with green space between them and the road would be best)….. It is a very short stretch of road with numerous parking lots with vehicles pulling out – cars going faster would certainly create a monster of a situation. If drivers don’t like the speed of Merrimon Ave, let them go over to 19-23.

I purchased a battery assist bike with two big bike bags several years ago when living in Biltmore Forest. There is almost NOWHERE to bike safely in the city. There is just NO excuse for this. There are so many Asheville residents who are just raring to bike but street safety stands in our way. Spend the money on making biking, like in other countries, a safe way to travel downtown. Wouldn’t it be nice to see families biking downtown – safely!??! I would absolutely LOVE for that to happen. We can do it, with the right direction!

Many years back, I heard a DOT representative speak to a concerned crowd about the widening of Long Shoals Road. He was actually trying to educate residents and businesses about how much safer it would be to add a green median to Long Shoals Road instead of a turn lane that would make the road five lane. But, outspoken businesses said it would hurt them and the one biker was looking pretty lonely up there… I wish I would have spoken up…….. Many folks now wish they would have spoken up to agree to a green median. We MUST work harder to keep the Asheville feeling and character alive. Please!

Thanks. Mary Johnson