The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is reporting that effective immediately, the speed limit between Highway 74A and Highway 25 (Hendersonville Road) will be reduced from 45 MPH to 35 MPH. This section of the Parkway through the Asheville corridor, from Milepost 383 to Milepost 389, is the most heavily traveled section of the most visited national park site in the country. The speed limit change is aimed at improving the safety of motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
In the past six years the Asheville corridor 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 on 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 for speeding, and 55 citations for careless driving, in addition to 220 citations for failure to obey stop signs.
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