Letter: Brevard Road, an unattended speedway, part 2

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Thank you, Mr. [Steven M.] Howard, for writing this important letter to the editor in the Mountain Xpress [“Brevard Road, an Unattended Speedway,” July 26], I think you were right on target. Asheville citizens have the right to request a speed test, and the city frequently complies with these requests. These tests basically are two pressure-sensitive strips that are placed across the road and accurately measure vehicle speed.

I requested one for Brevard Road a few months ago and was shocked to learn that there are approximately 8,685 vehicles/day and that the 85th percentile was 37 mph. By my reckoning, that means there were about 579 cars/day (or 15 percent) clearly exceeding the posted speed limit of 30 mph. My internal Doppler isn’t all that accurate, but I suspect that many of these vehicles are in excess of 45-50 mph.

Many of the speeders are city vehicles (recycle trucks and ART buses). The “Slow Down Asheville” placards dozens of neighbors put on Brevard Road I think encouraged the less conscientious drivers to actually speed up. I see most of them are gone now.

It was encouraging to note the APD public information officer’s response to Mr. Howard’s letter to the editor saying that the Asheville Police Department is first of all responsible for traffic enforcement along Brevard Road and routinely provides police services to our neighborhood. But in the nearly three years since moving to Brevard Road, I have never seen a single enforcement action taken against speeders. Also, I suspect that many of the drivers on Brevard Road after a big night on Haywood Road may be over the legal limit.

One other point: Siri tells me that an 18-wheeled truck without the trailer weighs around 20,000 pounds. At the bottom of Brevard Road near I-240, there is a sign that clearly states that trucks over 13,000 pounds are not allowed. Yet, I see or feel them shake my house, almost every day.

Stoplights or speed bumps along Brevard Road are probably not an option. I can appreciate and respect rapid emergency response; these EMTs are doing a great job. However, our rapid-response vehicles frequently use Haywood Road to access I-240 as well, and there are five stoplights from the fire station on Haywood to I-240 (Vermont, Brevard, Louisiana, State and the light, or two lights if you’re going westbound, at I-240). There are a lot of things that don’t make sense these days, but is this argument appropriate? Why does an EMT vehicle negotiate five stoplights along a business corridor versus Brevard Road within one of Asheville’s neighborhoods and no stoplights?

It’s the 21st century — perhaps an option is the installation of a speed camera near Davenport Road (straight stretch of Brevard Road) or at least a flashing sign that records your speed limit (similar to the one at the Asheville airport). I would hope that if a driver saw that he/she was going 50 mph in a 25 mph school zone (at Francine Delany) it would at least get their attention.

— Dave Penrose


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6 thoughts on “Letter: Brevard Road, an unattended speedway, part 2

  1. clayton moore

    Mr. Penrose is correct. The causes of speeding include: leaving late so speeding to make up lost time; too much coffee; cheap gas means pedal to the metal; cops too busy chasing downtown hooligans; attitudes of “they can’t get all of us”. Speeders cause more air pollution by burning more fuel per mile. They also cause more surface pollution with scrubbed tires and oil leaks. This impacts the critters in the creeks when the rain washes the grime into the river. Wrecks are imminent as most drivers have no concept of physics (more speed means longer stopping distances). Speeders also watch too many crazy car wreck movies and think “hey those guys walked away from the crash in the movie…I can , too!”. Best thing to do is drive a tank vehicle for protection from speeding scofflaws. I had a Plymouth Fury 3 that was a battering ram. When you observe a speeding vehicle that also bears a company logo, contact the company about the scofflaw driver. It works ! See ya at Creek Week Dave!

  2. luther blissett

    From experience, when a speed limit is reduced in a residential area (as it has been on Brevard Road south of Haywood, or Fairview Road in Oakley) regular drivers remain habituated to the old limit. The only way to break that habit is for the road to gain a new reputation that’s widely shared: one where you’ll get a speeding ticket.

  3. Deplorable Infidel

    The writer is correct about the unintended effects of those silly ‘slow down asheville’ signs that all the snowflakes wasted their money on…

  4. Scotty Morgan

    The sign just past Sardis Road on Brevard Rd going toward I-26 says 45mph not 30 mph— True ever since they put in the big Flea Market, the traffic is terrible !!!!!

    • Steven Howard

      Hi Scotty, we are talking about the stretch between Haywood Rd in West Asheville’s and I 240.
      The original letter I wrote was about 4 weeks ago.
      This neighborhood is thoroughly residential.

  5. Jerry Hinz

    The 85th percentile is the place that speed limits can be set …
    Usually meaning it is a safe speed to travel – -There are other ways to set speed limits..
    Probably more accurate than the Ball-Bank indicators of old..
    — (Federal Highway Engineer —- in past life)

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