As a long-time resident of Asheville (23 years), I have seen many changes, some good, some not so much. The idea that NCDOT is planning to make of Merrimon Ave. an even more treacherous and trafficked road than it currently is has me baffled, frustrated, and sad. Do we really need another Hendersonville Hwy. in North Asheville? Are we trying to keep our charm—which is what supposedly accounts for the burgeoning tourist numbers—or are we trying to look like every other retail strip in America?
I would like to know why NCDOT has seemingly ignored the City of Asheville’s plans for Merrimon that were thoughtfully conceived in terms of pedestrian safety (40mph?? Really? Whose “safety” do you have in mind? The metal monster who will be careening even faster down the wide and debauched lanes of Merrimon?) and in terms of bicycle traffic. Many bikes use Merrimon, and pedestrians use it at their own risk. Is there no concern for either of these travelers? Even though both have met fateful ends in trying to get down the avenue?
We used to be a kind city, full of unique beauty and charm. As we become more and more a tourist destination, we are killing the golden-egg laying goose! I used to be proud to be a resident of Asheville. How much more “change” can we stand before we’ve created a place that is no longer beautiful, no longer attractive—then who will fill all those lanes and need all those retaining walls along Merrimon Avenue?