Letter: Write city leaders about Merrimon Avenue disaster

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Now that we are experiencing the effects of the changes to Merrimon Avenue and see that it is not working (nor should ever have been approved), let’s write to the people elected to do what is right for us to try to get this fixed.

Many folks having to contend with this terrible, wrongful decision write daily about their experiences of trying to travel Merrimon or access it from any side street or business on Nextdoor Beaverdam. I think the letters are better directed to our city leaders.

Take what’s left of the money to stop this endeavor now and use the funds to repaint the lines on Merrimon to their former, workable configuration.

Instead of creating this disaster, sidewalks could have been provided in the areas where they are so desperately needed.

— Patricia Wald


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20 thoughts on “Letter: Write city leaders about Merrimon Avenue disaster

  1. indy499

    Keystone Kouncil Kops—-why bother writing them? They kowtow to the 1-2% who use a bike. Absurd to make thousands of people worse off to accomodate a handful of bike zealots.

    • Angry Taxpayer

      One only has to look at Charlotte St. to see the future of Merrimon. It is complete, people are no longer surprised, traffic lights are supposed to be optimized… and it is a crawling mess of idling cars.
      Recent trip at about 2PM, on a beautiful day. From the stop light at Charlotte St. and Hillside, I could see the traffic light at Charlotte and Chestnut. It took over 7 minutes to travel less than 1/2 a mile, and 6 cycles of the traffic light.
      Bike lanes are unused. I travel Charlotte St. several times a week, and I have paid attention to the number of cyclist I see using the bike lanes. From the time the road diet for Merrimon Ave was first talked about until now, basically all summer, I have counted a grand total of 9 people riding a bike.
      Merrimon, with much more traffic, will be Charlotte St. on steroids, or maybe crack. Long lines of frustrated drivers in idling vehicles, adding to the air pollution in the area. And may some deity have mercy on your soul, if you happen to find yourself behind a ART bus stopping at the 8 bus stops between WT Weaver, and Beaverdam Rd. Remember, it illegal to pass any vehicle by using the center lane.

  2. SpareChange

    This is a tempest in a teapot. I drive Merrimon between downtown and Beaver Lake frequently, and at all different hours. On average, I would say the road calming (and this is while construction is still going on) has added two minutes to my commute, and even that is usually only during higher traffic periods. The occasional (always brief) backup I’ve seen has been due to construction, or a brief stall at a light (traffic lights can always be retimed once construction is complete and new traffic norms are established).

    I can imagine that some who live on Beaverdam, who are turning on to Merrimon, have experienced slightly longer waits, but that intersection has long been somewhat problematic as more development has occurred, and that is regardless of Merrimon’s configuration. I also much prefer turning left from an actual turning lane, rather than constantly having to check my rearview mirror, hoping that through traffic doesn’t rear end me, or turn into a car in the right lane as they attempt to weave around me without having to slow down.

    People expecting to continue to drive at 40 to 50 mph, going straight through the heart of one of the busiest commercial corridors in town, have unreasonable expectations. Wait until the work is completed and people adjust to the new norms; be content to proceed maybe just a little slower and more safely; and things will be fine. At a minimum, branding the changes a “disaster” at this stage is just silly.


      Good comment. The interesting thing about all this is that the speed limit on that road has not changed. Only drivers’ habits have.

  3. R.G.

    Everyone, including City Council members and Asheville On Bikes, were aware of these facts before approving:

    –the VPD far exceeded 20,000
    –the number of cuts on Merrimon were problematic and nothing at all like Charlotte Street
    –future development to the North (including Woodfin) would impact future traffic flow (and was ignored)

    Still, I’d say give it a bit more time, let NCDOT finish the work as there will be less traffic during winter when tourists are gone.

    I know I’ve already bought many things from Amazon that I would have bought from ACE. So I wonder what Merrimon merchants have noticed about their revenue. I wonder if there are bike racks in front of every restaurant and shop. I wonder if any City Council members have biked Merrimon yet. I wonder what metrics will be used to decide to keep ‘as is’ or use the $300K tax payer money to opt out in the future when we have more residents and an uptick in tourism again.

    • Taxpayer

      I’m another that prefers to avoid Merrimon altogether and shop elsewhere. Just not worth the crazy traffic.

  4. Jimmy the Greek

    Let’s see how it goes. We need more traffic calming, not less or APD could decide to start enforcing the speed limit a little bit. Traffic on Merrimon and Broadway often exceeds 5O MPH but I’ve never seen any APD officers looking for speeders. Even if they didn’t write any tickets, if they sat by the side of the road while they were on their lunch breaks, it would definitely help. But if they don’t want to do their jobs I’m afraid annoying streets, roundabouts, and speed bumps are long overdue.

    • MV

      They should put up cameras and automatically ticket speeders. Eventually, locals would get the message and only tourists would pay the fines–thus locals would finally reap some rewards from the TDA’s public masturbatory practice of advertising endlessly for what we do not need.

      • Jimmy the Greek

        Maybe do something crazy with that money like build sidewalks.

        Ahhh… it will probably never happen. Cops hate speed cameras. It’s one ticket they can’t talk their way out of.

    • Angry Taxpayer

      I can see into the future… well not really, but I have driven Charlotte St., and that is the future of Merrimon, except on crack.
      7 minutes, 6 traffic light cycles, to travel just over 1/4 mile, from Hillside to Chestnut on Charlotte st. Long line of idling vehicles contributing to air pollution. This was about 2 PM on a week-day. Commute times must be horrendous.

  5. I like the new layout and configuration. Seems much safer and calmer, which makes sense for a small business corridor bordered all around by neighborhoods.


    I supported the changes on Merrimon when they were proposed, and I still do. I drive on this road several times a week at different times during the day, and I have been for over 20 years. The whole idea was to slow traffic down, which the reconfiguration has accomplished. Slower traffic = fewer accidents. Safer for cars, safer for pedestrians, safer for motorcycles, safer for cyclists. I think too many drivers are wringing their hands over a couple minutes of lost time when they should be glad the city took steps to slow down the speed demons. I advise resetting your expectations and remember that you are driving on a city street with city speeds, not a highway.

    • Herb

      How many accidents were actually occuring on merrimon as compared to the average amount of accidents on any road?? I have nearly been in at least three accidents since the new change and have never even had a close call in the 10 years I have been driving. Really if you want people to slow down=greater law enforcement presence, not this disaster

  7. Mike Rains

    Interestingly, the 35 speed limit has not been reset lower (yet). Every road diet I’ve witnessed also resets the speed limit down just a notch to encourage slightly slower but steadier traffic flows, and particularly when traffic is not heavy. This helps with turners and those wanting to turn into the road. A 30 MPH speed limit would be appropriate. We’ll see if they make that change.

    • Gary I

      God, I hope they do not lower the speed limit. What they are doing is already slowing speeds. So please don’t plant that idea in the heads of our illustrious decision makers. Regarding the “road diet”, this was already decided well before they asked for any comments. The fact that a high percentage in the survey opposed the idea was irrelevant. Hence many others just didn’t bother to comment. I have not personally spoken to one person who supports the road diet. All were resigned to the fact that our opinions wouldn’t matter anyway. Additionally, no sane bicyclist (and in my younger days, I was one) would choose to ride on Merrimon. But as they say – We are where we are.

  8. Becky Dosier

    The city is getting Merrimon ready for their “Urban Village” They are going to change it to be like Hendersonville Rd! Give them more of a tax base. Beware!

    • Taxpayer

      Ingles will sue and win. The city’s “planner” Satvika should find another city to ruin.

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