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Merrimon Widening Comment

Robert: regular customer of the Thai restaurant, The Hop, the Valvoline oil change and Whits Frozen custard

From: Robert Allen
Date: Mon, Jan 29, 2018 at 10:57 AM
Subject: Comment on Asheville Merrimon Ave TIP Nos. U-5781 and U-5782
To: kbereis@hntb.com

Dear Sir/Madam:

I am a frequent user of the stretch of Merrimon Avenue being considered under this plan. I am a regular customer of the Thai restaurant, The Hop Ice Cream parlor, the Valvoline oil change and Whits Frozen custard.
So I have quite of bit of experience with the current traffic issues, especially the problems with left turns off Merrimon into businesses and side streets, and the difficulty of making a left turn out of businesses to get back onto Merrimon. There are real dangers posed to through traffic from these maneuvers.
When I heard NCDOT was planning a left turn lane I was thinking this was a good idea. HOWEVER, the proposed changes to Merrimon Avenue which maintain four lanes of through traffic is a terrible choice. A much better option would be have one lane each direction accommodating all through traffic, add the middle turn lane, then provide plenty of shoulder room to allow cars making right-turns to pull out of the flow of traffic and bus stops. I believe a single unobstructed lane, preferably with timed signals, would allow as much traffic to flow down the road as now, but avoid the jockeying for position and excessive lane changes. It would also provide a buffer zone for pedestrians and room for bike lanes (although I doubt this will ever be a really good bike route because of the inherent amount of traffic it must carry).
In short, I am strongly opposed to the current plan and think no changes should be made until all transportation modes are included in the design and the plans are incorporated into the entirety of Merrimon Avenue north and south of this project.
Respectfully,
-Robert Allen