Letter: A cyclist’s take on Asheville’s bike lanes

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I’m an avid cyclist and a North Asheville resident. I would be in “full support” of reconfiguring Merrimon Avenue from Luella’s Bar-B-Que north. The bike lanes are not only “not used” but take up too much width. A narrower scale might’ve made more sense to accommodate everyone.

Please consider this moving forward for the downtown lanes.

— Richard LaBrie


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6 thoughts on “Letter: A cyclist’s take on Asheville’s bike lanes

  1. Mike Rains

    Folks, folks, folks!

    When will we realize that the bike lanes did NOT drive the Merrimon Road Diet. The road diet was the main goal.
    If bike lanes had not been installed on each side, the main 3 traffic lanes could not have been made signficantly wider, lest the multitude of impatient drivers in our fair city would have attempted to pass around slowed vehicles. So bike lanes or no bike lanes, the road diet would have been pretty much the same.

    Now granted, Merrimon is a pretty dumb road to ride a bike on when Kimberly exists; particularly when you consider that the Merrimon bike lanes end at Luella’s (my conclusion: bikers like decent barbecue). But adding bike lanes to the diet was simply political pandering by our Council for the votes of the cycle community and the hard core’s like Mike Sule (aka, let’s waste a lot of time and energy on Patton Ave. bike lanes). It was a “no-brainer” when you consdier that part of the road couldn’t have been used for anything else anyhow.

    Back to the road diet. Based on traffic count, Merrimon was going to be a “marginal” conversion. Road diets work great under certain critera, but too much traffic and they don’t perform as well. That’s very likely Merrimon’s case.

    NCDOT and the City have done a pitiful job of communicating anything much, really, to the discussion and controversy over the diet. Again, the whole bike lane thing is a “non-issue”. Regarding added delays, yes they now do exist. But all of that has to be balanced against the SAFETY of the road; which for my understanding was terrible.

    Of course, Asheville and NCDOT and APD (because they “own” many or Asheville’s roads) DON’T have a formal program for monitoring accidents (number and severity) by road…. (yes I asked for this via Public Records Request)…and like most every other major city. In fairness, they do meeet informally and periodically to “talk” about accidents on various roads to determine if speed limits or other factors should be changed. So the point is, will they have good PRE/POST accident data to use when the evaluation is completed for the Merrimon diet?

    I don’t think anyone can dispute that the diet slowed things up and stopped (for the most part) the insane weaving back and forth between lanes by many drivers (thinking they were getting somewhere faster……right, maybe 10 seconds worth). And I’m certain that weaving caused a good many accidents.

    IF NCDOT and the CIty have good accident data that showed a SIGNIFICANT decrease, would citizens be willing to put up with the delays? This, is the real CRUX of the road diet debate. NOT BIKE LANES.

    Thank you for accomodating my rant!

  2. WNC

    I thought those new small lanes were so panhandlers could be safer and more efficient.

  3. Mark Thompson

    Merrimon bike lanes work well and I use them often. The center turn lane improves the safety of all and the bike lanes improves visibility of pedestrians on the sidewalks. I look forward to the Patton Avenue bike lanes and hope they get extended across the Jeff Bowen bridge and beyond.

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