Advocacy, Merrimon

Merrimon Avenue: Road Diet Proposed!

A road diet means fewer collisions of all types

We have more exciting news! Merrimon north of downtown is changing!

The City of Asheville is planning a public meeting and comment period to gather public feedback about a proposed 4-3 conversion (road diet) for Merrimon Avenue. This conversion would take place as part of an upcoming NCDOT repaving project, a project which had been delayed, until now, by the pandemic and by discussions between NCDOT and the City about the future of Merrimon Avenue. Repaving projects include re-striping between the curbs, and that re-striping can be designed to create a different traffic configuration, as is proposed for Merrimon.

This repaving and subsequent 4-3 conversion is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to make Merrimon Avenue better fit the needs of the community. Asheville on Bikes is excited about this project and we will be publishing more as the project moves forward. You should follow this project and discuss it with your neighbors. 

It takes courage to stand up and ask for a change, to prod a world full of uncertain outcomes. At the start of our campaign in favor of a road diet on Merrimon, we’d like to honor all the victims of collisions over the years and the many people who have spoken up in the past to ask for changes on Merrimon. We appreciate your courage and are humbled by your sacrifices.

If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of a collision on Merrimon, we’d love to talk to you more about it. Send us an email with our contact form and we will follow up. 

Here are four pieces of Merrimon information you can read or listen to today:

  1. Yvonne Lewis, “Patsy,” is not forgotten. Nor are her neighbors, who protested the conditions that lead to her death in 2015 while attempting to cross Merrimon at Coleman. 
  2. Injuries are continuing to occur on Merrimon. Listen to Gaia’s heartfelt account of the costs from just one of the recent collisions. This is a public comment recorded by the Multimodal Transportation Commission on March 24, 2021 and obtained by AoB after a public records request. 
  3. Please re-read the past public comments about this street. Your comments helped defeat the 2018 Merrimon Road widening, and they deserve close examination. Read the many different voices that are crying out for change on Merrimon
  4. Asheville, the tenth largest city in NC, continues to rank #1 in pedestrian and bicyclist death and injury. As the Citizen Times reported earlier in March, between 2010-18, Asheville ranked first in the state per capita in both total pedestrian crashes per year and in pedestrian crashes that result in injury or death. 
Audio from a public comment about one person’s experience after being hit in this crosswalk

It is not necessary to be injured regularly in order to use a transportation network, to move about in a City. It is not necessary for a person to die trying to cross the street. We support a 4-3 conversion for Merrimon Avenue north of downtown for many reasons. And one of the best reasons is that it will make the road safer for all users. 

Here are related posts you may enjoy:

AoB: Merrimon Avenue: Road Diet proposed!
AoB: Resource page tracking this project on our site.
City of Asheville: Project page for this project
City of Asheville: Story map with data overlays for collisions, bike, ped, traffic volumes and more
Iowa DOT: Cute road diet explainer video, 6 minutes
FHWA: Road diet case studies
FHWA: Road diet myths