Traffic-calming measures aren’t perfect, but they meet an important need

I am sympathetic to some of the concerns expressed by the irate letters bewailing the traffic barriers erected on Kimberly Avenue. Perhaps the design could have been better thought out, or maybe the curbs are not visible enough. However, these complaints, paradoxically, are an unintended argument for the traffic islands. Just substitute pedestrian or bicyclist for the "hazards" referenced in these letters, and the reader will get an idea of what those of us who live and recreate in the neighborhood experience. The drivers who can't see the traffic islands, despite the warning signs at each end of the barrier, also are blind to the runner at the crosswalk or the bicyclist at the side of the road.

A few weeks ago, I had to jump behind one of these irksome barriers to avoid a car that veered toward me as I waited (and waited) at a crosswalk. Countless times, as I have jogged with my daughter in a stroller, I have been forced to a screeching halt as a car turned right from a cross street onto Kimberly, never once looking to the right to check for pedestrians. Usually, the oblivious driver had a cell phone cradled next to a head turned in the opposite direction from where the vehicle was pointed.

I understand, given the difficulties of navigating traffic on Merrimon Avenue, why Kimberly has become the default bypass. The difference is that Merrimon bisects a commercial district while Kimberly runs through a residential neighborhood. I don't think it is too much to ask drivers who don't agree with the design of the traffic-calming measures to at least understand the intent. Drivers following the 25 mph speed limit and attentive to the road ahead should have no difficulty safely navigating the course. Perhaps they could even have the courtesy to stop for a pedestrian at a crosswalk, or slow to make a little more room for the bicyclist.

— Cecil J. Clark
Asheville

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2 thoughts on “Traffic-calming measures aren’t perfect, but they meet an important need

  1. judi williams

    Mr. Clark is absolutely right on – I too live on Kimberly which has been documented as the most peditrian used street in Asheville, other than dowtown – speeding cars use Kimberly like a highway rather than what it is: a residential street going through a neighborhood – for crying out loud, slow down and drive in my nieghbor like you’d want me to drive in yours.

  2. Mister Blister

    Yeah people need to slow down. Though I do agree those curbs can be hard to see, especially at night. Perhaps some brightly colored or at least reflective paint?

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