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Merrimon Widening Comment

Matt: Right now, absent alternative plans that incorporate the latest science on car, pedestrian and bike safety, as well as essential greenway planning, there is little to nothing to like about the proposed changes. 

From: Matt Christie
Date: Mon, Jan 29, 2018 at 11:41 AM
Subject: Merrimon Avenue
To: kbereis@hntb.com

Dear Kim Bereis,

My wife and I have been residing and working in Asheville for nearly two decades now. I’ve spent countless hours on Merrimon Avenue commuting to job sites and homes at all hours of the day and night. I also have two young children, and enjoy biking.

I am deeply concerned that the future of that corridor/”highway” as currently designed is being shortchanged and sacrificed on the altar of short term financial savings, lazy planning and short-term goals like spreading asphalt and increasing car speed–goals that unfortunately will result in an even more dangerous, unlivable and undesirable stretch of roadway and in the long run much greater expense in terms of both politically unpopular spending and undesirability; and accidents and death.

• Please accept the mutual long-term benefit of developing some  alternative plans in cooperation with the existing City of Asheville plans (themselves the result of lots of hard work on the part of the people and professionals who live and govern here).

• Please embrace and follow existing AASHTO guidelines and standards.

• Please honor existing DOT Complete Streets and Vision Zero policies.

I’m glad to break each of these down and spell them out for you in more detail if you’d like, but I suspect you’re hearing lots about them already, because we are a city that cares about long-term livability, bike and pedestrian safety and smart, forward-thinking infrastructure. And we’re very stubborn and persistent, which is why Asheville is the aspiring healthy, safe and vibrant place it is today.

Compromise is to be expected. I’m sure you and others are under immense competing pressures, not all of which have Asheville residents, pedestrians or multi-modal commuters in mind.

But right now, absent alternative plans that incorporate the latest science on car, pedestrian and bike safety, as well as essential greenway planning, there is little to nothing to like about the proposed changes.

Hope that this evolves and improves very soon.

Respectfully yours,
Matt Christie and Stephanie Hellert
Asheville, NC