Letter: Let’s not sleep on Merrimon Avenue issue

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I’m writing as manager of the North Asheville Mattress Warehouse, adversely affected by the removal of two traffic lanes from Merrimon Avenue last autumn. My store is situated in the thick of the traffic bottleneck, created to appease a relatively minuscule number of cyclists and misguided ecologists. The brunt of this decision has been clear all summer as those with second homes here have joined in with everyone else.

The result has been beleaguered customers and woeful year-to-year store sales numbers now that motorists avoid the area if at all possible. Worse, observers would be hard-pressed to say more cyclists even use their new lanes. Why would they want to inhale exhaust fumes created by vehicles idling in half-mile-long traffic anyway? Can we put this harebrained experiment to bed already?

— Garrett Phillips


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9 thoughts on “Letter: Let’s not sleep on Merrimon Avenue issue

  1. indy499

    Garrett, you are of course correct. I have no idea how a tiny band of bike zealots have control over the council. There are NO bikes on that road. The chances of the council revisiting the issue is as close to zero as possible.

    • Taxpayer

      Agree it really sucks. I avoid all the stores and restaurants there now. Looks like others do too.

  2. Keith

    Some of your former customers disagree with your advice for undoing the road safety measures recently implemented.

    • TMG

      As an out of towner who drives into Asheville via North Merrimon — I find the roadway design to be safer than the prior layout.

  3. Gus gus

    I am in agreement with Garrett, I am a long term native resident of north Asheville. I avoid Merrimon Ave at all costs since the “road diet” was implemented. I no longer go to the businesses on the parking lot that Merrimon Ave has become. I take all side roads and have noticed more traffic and congestion on the feeder roads to Merrimon. Oh, i I have actually seen a bicycle there a couple of times.

  4. chandler

    NCDOT’s objective was to make all forms of transportation safer and they did not undertake the Merrimon lane realignment for the sole purpose of installing bike lanes. That was simply a byproduct of making the thoroughfare safer for all forms of transpiration. That you or others haven’t seen cyclists using Merrimon is irrelevant. Besides, such comments are based on a sample size so small the statistical relevance is nil. Now, with all due respect to declining sales at retailers along Merrimon, sure, reduced vehicular traffic along the route could be contributing to declining sales, but I strongly doubt the correlation strength with discretionary consumption, which mattresses purchases are most of the time. Consider too that sales trends are rarely a single-factor model. I might argue declining sales for non-discretionary items has more to do with exhaustion of pandemic era surplus savings, rising inflation for non-discretionary items (wallet share issue) and slowing home sales. Lastly, don’t think I’m dismissing your pain. I hear you, but economic cycles are complex systems and not one thing is going to catalyze sales trends one way or the other. Hope your fortunes turn soon!

    • indy499

      LOL, by that standard you could make I-26 safer by reducing it to 1 lane each way.

      • chandler

        Is someone proposing to make I26 safer for all modes of transportation? Is so, of course the standard applied to Merrimon will make I26 safer for all users. I fail to see your point.

  5. WNC

    I made the mistake of using Merrimon a few evenings since the “road diet”. I quickly made a mental note while sitting in traffic to avoid Merrimon.

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