Letter writer: City should lower speed limit for Murdock Avenue

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Thirty-three years ago, I moved with my family that included two young children onto Murdock Avenue, a narrow, cut-through street between Charlotte and Merrimon in North Asheville. Murdock is also a route for folks to get to Weaver Park and Claxton Elementary School.

At the time, the speed limit was 35 miles per hour. Cars were constantly clocked going 45, 50 and higher. Murdock had no sidewalks or speed humps, and parking was allowed on one side of the street.

I petitioned the city to lower the speed limit to 25, and thankfully, that was done, though speeding continued to be a serious problem. Later, sidewalks were installed on one side of the street, and years later, speed humps were added, though those humps are pitiful in comparison to others in the city.

Recently, I noticed that the speed limit on North Charlotte Street had been lowered to 25. A significant stretch of this street is almost entirely a business strip with four lanes, sidewalks on both sides of the street and no on-street parking. Murdock continues to be an entirely residential street, including a new generation of families with young children. It doesn’t make sense that these two roads qualify for the same speed limit. I spoke to a city traffic engineer, who said that he would encourage the police to send out a car to monitor our traffic. This has yet to be done.

Considering the amount of cars that travel Murdock, the narrowness of the street and the residents who live here, I ask the city to lower our speed limit, too. Thank you.

— Anne Craig
Asheville

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7 thoughts on “Letter writer: City should lower speed limit for Murdock Avenue

  1. Negrodamus

    One thing you could do is get video evidence to support your case. By measuring a distance along the road that the video camera monitors, and determining how many milliseconds it takes for cars to cover that distance (should be easy to do with the right system), you can calculate (and prove) their speed. That’d be a nice and indisputable thing to have when you talk with city officials.

  2. Phil Williams

    Wasn’t there a lady recently run over and killed not far away – over in Kimberly or out that way – while walking on the sidewalk? Nobody has any business whatsoever going more than 20-25mph thru any residential street. Should be standard and routinely enforced.

  3. aaron hubbard

    Murdoch is the best avenue for multi-modal transportation from North Asheville. I bike to work downtown daily along Murdoch, Madison, and Central. This corridor is really the only option for non-automobile traffic. Unfortunately, it is also a route for drivers looking to avoid congestion on Merrimon, Charlotte Street, and I-240. These drivers typically want to drive at commuting speeds, not speeds appropriate for a family neighborhood.

    Just this week I was very nearly hit by a SUV flying down Murdoch, weaving around to try to thread itself through oncoming traffic and parked cars. It passed me doing easily 10 over with very little room.

    The speed limit is low enough, but the problem is that people don’t drive the speed limit. In my opinion, more rigorous enforcement is required. There are so many options to slow traffic down: automated speed traps and aggressive speed bumps spring readily to my mind. If it were up to me I would go yet further, closing the streets to vehicle traffic and making them pedestrian only zones, or at least making the streets one way with a separated bike lane.

    Unfortunately, I am afraid this may be too forward thinking for our city, which seems to privilege cars above all else. :(

    • Phil Williams

      Amen – the ONLY people who have any business driving more than 20-25 mph on any residential street are emergency personnel – who should have their lights and sirens on. Our little street in Arden is only about 1/10 of a mile long and people continually whizz by on it using it as a shortcut – despite the fact that most of the dozen houses along it have pets and/or small children. I normally don’t agree with zero tolerance speed limits, but I would agree with having zero tolerance aggressively enforced on certain “problem” streets – or as you suggest, install a gracious plenty of king-sized speed bumps that would make it not worth their while to drive fast.

      • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

        Speed bumps like they have over on French Broad Ave would put an end to speeding. They can’t cost that much.

  4. Mike

    Telling many AVL drivers that they must not drive over 25 is about as effective as telling Omar Mateen that no firearms are allowed in the Pulse Club.

  5. Deplorable Infidel

    Did the letter writer ever think of putting up those cute ‘Slow down Asheville’ signs ? these signs will solve her problem immediately…;)

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