Blue Ridge Parkway Reduces Speed Limit Through Asheville Corridor
Effective immediately, the speed limit betweenHighway 74A and Highway 25 (Hendersonville Road) will be reduced from 45 miles per hour to 35 miles per hour. This speed limit change is aimed at improving the safety of motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians through the Asheville Corridor.
In the past six years, the section of the Blue Ridge Parkway that runs through the Asheville area has seen a change in both traffic density and complexity as more residents and visitors choose to use the Parkway. More bicyclists, pedestrians, runners and hikers are using the motor road, in addition to heavy traffic flow that occurs especially during the mornings and evenings and on weekdays. At those busy times, traffic volume has been recorded at levels as high as 1000 vehicles passing in a single hour, in addition to those people recreating along the road edge and shoulder.
Since 2006, 144 motor vehicle collisions have occurred in this stretch of road, including one fatal collision, and 41 collisions involving injuries, both with bicycles and motor vehicles. Collision investigations showed that approximately one third of these wrecks were caused at least in part by speed or careless driving. During the same time frame, Park Rangers have made 24 arrests for DUI, issued 870 citations forspeeding, and 55 citations for careless driving, in addition to 220 citations for failure to obey traffic control devices (stop signs). Furthermore, the Blue Ridge Parkway conducts ongoing public education and safety campaigns promoting “Patience” and “Parkway Etiquette,” and to “Enjoy the View but Watch the Road.”
A reduction in speed not only creates additional reaction time and space for motorists operating along the road, but also reduces the severity of collisions that may occur. Blue Ridge Parkway management has received numerous complaints in recent years about the increasing congestion and safety issues on this section of roadway as motor vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians struggle to share the road.
The Blue Ridge Parkway was created as a national scenic rural roadway, designed for pleasant motoring and a form of recreational driving free from commercial traffic. Visitors say that the most important values from the Parkway are the beautiful views from and along the roadway, the natural setting of the mountains and valleys, the rural and pastoral landscapes, and the peace, solitude, leisure and freedom from traffic and speed. The Blue Ridge Parkway is dedicated to preserving these values, and strives to provide for a safe environment in which to recreate and enjoy the drive. We ask for everyone’s cooperation in helping to make the Parkway safer and more enjoyable for all users.
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