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Merrimon Widening Comment

Susan: I bike, walk, and drive on Merrimon Ave. weekly.  I attend Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church and live nearby

To Mr. Hood of the NCDOT and to others involved in the decision-making about the expansion of Merrimon Avenue to five lanes:

I bike, walk, and drive on Merrimon Ave. weekly.  I attend Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church and live nearby and do much business on Merrimon.  I have just learned in the last 5 days of NCDOT’s plans to expand Merrimon to five lanes from before Weaver Blvd. north until around Edgewood.  This proposal seems to have been very rushed with almost no input from the neighborhoods, the businesses, the taskforces working on greenways/bikeways, and the City of Asheville.

A three week comment period is NOT adequate to get community input and buy-in.  As a conscientious and engaged citizen and neighbor I feel really ignored and left out of this process.  This particular proposal for Merrimon Avenue is not a good use of my tax money.

Admittedly, Merrimon Ave. is not currently bike- or pedestrian-friendly, but your plan, TIP nos. U-5781 and U-5782, makes Merrimon Ave. worse and more dangerous.  It is disastrous for many businesses along Merrimon.  In planning such an expensive change to Merrimon it is essential to get input from these businesses, not to mention City Planners.  The actual construction will be long and will cause terrible traffic problems along Merrimon for citizens, businesses, and the city.  Some businesses have said that they might be forced to close as a result.

Your plan for bikes is dangerous – only a 2 foot bike-lane and 2 feet for gutters?  That is illegal.  There will be more accidents and deaths. Your plan also does not make allowance for where the electric and phone lines and poles will be.  In your plan there is no allowance for trees.

I request that you:

Delay this decision to expand Merrimon Avenue to five lanes,

Expand the comment period,

Hold well-publicized, public, community meetings,

Consider alternatives to this five-lane expansion – there are good and green alternatives!

Get input from Merrimon businesses, neighborhoods, City Council, and people working on Greenways and Bikeways.

I look forward to your response to this large community outcry about your hasty proposal for a five-lane expansion of Merrimon Ave.

Sincerely,

Susan Presson                28 January 2018