Letter: Brevard Road, an unattended speedway

Graphic by Lori Deaton

The stretch of Brevard Road (N.C. 191) between Haywood Road and the intersection of I-240/I-26 is a straight stretch of road maintained by the N.C. Department of Transportation. The section of road between Haywood and the first interchange has a posted speed limit of 30 mph. In 2004, when I first moved to this neighborhood, I wrote to the DOT to ask for a speed limit change from then, I believe, 40 mph. The DOT obliged.

The speed limit change did little to slow the traffic. I’d never let my children play in the front yard. The road is not patrolled by Asheville city police, as it is a state road. The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department also does not patrol this road. Why? I do not know. Surely complaints from residents like me or Francine Delany [New School for Children] parents must have reached them over the years. If the Sheriff’s Department were to patrol this road, they’d likely be able to write 200 tickets per day easily. Some drivers will reach speeds of 60 mph by the time they pass Olney Road.

I once attended a meeting at West Asheville Library that was to address residents’ concerns over traffic issues along Haywood Road. At the meeting, I suggested speed bumps for Brevard Road. The city representative told me that the fire, police and rescue units needed quick access to the highway, which I understand. I never floated the idea of stop signs at the end of each road abutting Brevard.

What would it be like to stop before passing Olney, Davenport, Meyers, Rex, Morris and Morningside before hitting the curvy section? Would that slow people down? You would think you were at a drag strip sometimes the way people open the throttle on their machines. It’s dangerous, it’s noisy, and it reminds me of aggressive drivers from big cities.

The solutions are simple. Slow traffic down with stop signs. Slow it down with patrols. My grandfather used to say about speeders, “I’ll see you at the next traffic light.” He was right most of the time. A little courtesy won’t kill us.

Speaking of courtesy, I’d like to add that a flashing yellow/red light or a stop sign at the intersection of Brevard Road, Fairfax Avenue and Shelburne Road would also help control the morning backup on Brevard and Shelburne. Many drivers stop and let the drivers on Shelburne out; many do not.

Please slow down, Asheville. The traffic is getting worse here. Leave a little earlier so you can be calm, and we can, too. Don’t just be polite to the other drivers, be polite to the people who live in the houses, too. The cars, trucks and motorcycles are really dangerous and noisy when their drivers open them up. Wouldn’t we all be happier not hurrying or bumming others out?

— Steven M. Howard

Editor’s note: When contacted by Xpress, the city of Asheville offered the following response from APD Public Information Officer Christina Hallingse: “The term ‘state road’ is for maintenance purposes. If a state road falls within city limits, the Asheville Police Department is responsible for traffic enforcement. The Asheville Police Department routinely provides police services to the neighborhood in question.”


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

11 thoughts on “Letter: Brevard Road, an unattended speedway

  1. Wild West Asheville

    The city “routinely” provides police services in this neighborhood? What, like one hour every three years? When it comes to speeding and reckless driving, West Asheville is completely lawless. There is absolutely zero incentive to follow posted speed limits on roads like Haywood, Brevard, and State Street. I’ve had cars and motorcycles pass me on a double-yellow divider on Haywood on multiple occasions, presumably because adhering to the 20mph speed limit isn’t worth their time. And I’ve yet to meet a resident who has *ever* seen APD monitor for speeding in West Asheville. Routine police services? They should apologize for such a bold-faced lie. Haywood has the highest pedestrian and cyclist counts of any road in Asheville; policing this road is a matter of public health and safety. If APD is serious about its comment, I would like to know how many speeding tickets it has issued on Brevard Road, Haywood Road, and State Street in the past 12 months. Prove me wrong. I don’t think they can.

    • Huhsure

      It’s even worse down some of the side streets from Haywood, with posted speed limits of 25mph. I’ve seen people zoom by, easily hitting 70. On these streets, speed bumps would be a boon. We can’t even get sidewalks.

      I have seen, on a rare occasion, a car monitoring speed on Haywood, in the car wash lot across from Ingles. What use is that?

  2. Jay Reese

    Our mainstream society long ago adopted a car-centric attitude that glorified speed and efficiency. Things like pedestrians, cyclist, red lights and speed limit signs are considered a burden to many drivers. Fortunately many people have come to realize the automobile needs to be disciplined and a pedestrian friendly community must be the number 1 priority. I would suggest that the neighborhoods that are having trouble with errant drivers that you take to the streets enmass with your neighbors and confront them. Every day I am commuting to work on my bike I confront at least 1 driver for their dangerous driving. Eventually people will get the message

    • Big Al

      “Fortunately many people have come to realize the automobile needs to be disciplined and a pedestrian friendly community must be the number 1 priority.”

      They have?

      “Every day I am commuting to work on my bike I confront at least 1 driver for their dangerous driving. Eventually people will get the message”

      Oh, you meant YOU have. Sounds dangerous, so good luck with that.

      • Jay Reese

        Do the research yourself. Cities around the world have begun to discourage automobile usage.

  3. Mike

    I’ve been riding bicycles since age 6 .. riding to Grace School until age 12 and riding motorcycles since age 22. Now I’m 71. I still ride my Ducati from Clemson to Asheville a few times a year … but I won’t ride a bicycle on ANY paved road any more… WAY TOO DANGEROUS for an old man like me!

  4. Bright

    Rather sorry stuff for a “great” city like Asheville. Take a look at some of the Bus Stops…embarrassments! A’ville, stop being so hypocritical! If you want to join ranks with top notch cities, start with learning the meaning of the word “intelligent.” Stop being like someone with new money…jumping for joy with all those tourist dollars! CARE about your people, instead of USING them.

    • The Real World

      About those bus stops…..yes, I’ve often felt for the people standing by a bus stop sign in blazing sun or rain or cold wind and wondered why in heck there isn’t some sort of shelter and a bench???

      Now, I’ve seen exactly that pop-up in various locations around the city. On Montford Ave, on Leicester Hwy, etc. Seems to me, that having a shelter from the elements is the minimal needed for anyone to consider using the buses; so that is money well-spent.

  5. Wild West Asheville

    You’re lucky to find a sidewalk leading to some of the bus stops around town. There are many great things about Asheville, but it’s hard to argue that the infrastructure is anything but a solid F.

    A lot of West Asheville residents are fed up with dangerous driving in our neighborhoods. There are very few safe ways to walk to Haywood and nowhere for our children to play or ride their bicycles. Even while driving we are assaulted by aggressive tailgaters and illegal passing. Meanwhile, NCDOT threatens to have the person who posted the 20mph sign near Beacham’s Curve arrested because, you know, safety is incongruous with the agency’s mission to speed cars through town as quickly as possible and on as many lanes as possible. Zoom zoom.

  6. Deplorable Infidel

    regarding all of this….as I have told you, we live in one of THE MOST pathetically run cities in the country…pathetic especially given all the hype and self praise the ‘city’ gives itself…it’s a fraud.
    We have WAY too many city employees who cannot get the simplest tasks DONE.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.