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Merrimon Widening Comment

Pat: This is an UNACCEPTABLE road planning design!

From: Pat Robbins
Date: Mon, Jan 29, 2018 at 10:05 AM
Subject: Merrimon Avenue expansion project
To: kbereis@hntb.com
My name is Patricia M. Robbins and I am writing as a concerned citizen to express my opposition to the NCDOT project to expand Merrimon Avenue in Asheville!! My 26 year old daughter lives off of Merrimon Avenue and I own a home in Waynesville, NC. I travel into Asheville to see my daughter, shop at local businesses, eat at the many wonderful restaurants and attend music/artistic events 3-5 times per week. Asheville is a vibrant city where I have been considering the purchase of a home.
The reasons that I oppose the Merrimon Avenue project are, as follows:-It will result in closure of local businesses.
-The expansion design is based ONLY on accommodating cars; with NO aspect of planning to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians! In a city already overwhelmed with traffic and congestion from cars, this is an UNACCEPTABLE road planning design! My husband spent his 35 year career as an Urban/Transportation Planner for the NYSDOT. His specific role and responsibility was to assure accommodation for cyclists and pedestrians in any engineering design of both new and expansion planning for highways.
The recently completed Route 209, Waynesville highway project is another example where there was NO accommodation for bike lanes! I am a member of a Haywood County cycling group and know that many of the long rides and cycling commuter use are alone that corridor of Route 209. It is disgraceful that  an opportunity existed to designate safe bike lanes on this Route 209 project and it didn’t happen!!
-Again regarding Merrimon Avenue… the expansion of this road will result in cars going even faster than they already do, resulting in greater risk for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists!!
-The City of Asheville has spent money and implemented zoning changes on Merrimon that are being disregarded in the NCDOT design for expansion! This is unacceptable!
There are many, many other planning -based reasons why this expansion is unnecessary and will, in fact, be highly detrimental to pedestrians, local businesses and the neighborhoods off Merrimon Avenue!
I urge the NCDOT to abandon the Merrimon Avenue expansion project and work collaboratively with the City of Asheville to design a project that is safe, accommodates pedestrians and does not create yet another dangerous and unnecessary expansion of roads vs. planning for PEOPLE!!
Thank you,
Patricia M. Robbins