In part 3 of our “Asheville’s most dangerous roads” series, Attorney Lakota R. Denton examines Asheville’s most dangerous roads and intersections, as outlined by data from the NC DOT. Attorney Denton urges drivers in Asheville to Slow Down, to help us keep Asheville safe and walkable for our citizens, children and pets.
Hi, I’m attorney Lakota Denton, creator of the Slow Down Asheville campaign. And as part of our series of “Asheville’s most dangerous roads”, I want to talk to you about an intersection at South Tunnel Rd. and Swannanoa River Rd. And this is a very dangerous intersection for a number reasons. There is a high incidence of pedestrian accidents here according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. And one of the reasons that we can see, just from looking at it, is that there are no pedestrian crosswalks, and there is no lighted pedestrian signal.
This is a busy, busy intersection, with 4-5 lanes of traffic at each road, there is a pharmacy right behind you, there is a pizza place, Walmart is right down here, there is a shopping center right over there, and there are a lot of people walking around here. There is no safe way to cross this intersection. Another problem is that it’s confusing for not just pedestrians, but for drivers. You can see I’m standing on a sidewalk here, and this sidewalk enters the intersection, and the same sidewalk goes along that bridge on the other side of this road. Now according to North Carolina Law, if there’s a sidewalk that comes into the intersection here, and continues over there, then it is called an “unmarked crosswalk”. And that is important because pedestrians have the right of way in an unmarked crosswalk.
So technically, there is an unmarked crosswalk right here, where I could cross at any time, and I have the right of way. But there’s a light system here for the cars, and these cars are going to go when that turns green, probably regardless of whether they see me or not. So it’s confusing for pedestrians, it’s confusing for drivers. How should you cross this road safely? And if you’re a driver, what do you have to look for? Because there are no painted crosswalk signs, there are no lighted crosswalk signs, but there are pedestrians and there is this unmarked crosswalk. We’re pointing this intersection out to you, as a reminder to Slow Down, look for pedestrians in the intersection, look for pedestrians crossing streets where there are no crosswalks, and just slow down in these high congested areas. Thanks.