I would like to respond to the issue of sidewalks-versus-parking deck at 51 Biltmore Ave. …
As a resident of east Asheville, I am strongly in favor of sidewalks in our community.
In Haw Creek, we currently have two elementary schools that are not accessible by sidewalks to the residents who live north of Beverly Road. There is also no public transportation that reaches north of Beverly Road. This part of town has an overwhelming population of families with school-age children, two elementary schools (Haw Creek and Evergreen), baseball fields, east Asheville pool, the Mountains-to-Sea trail and many taxpaying families.
Our children's safety is paramount, and sidewalks are an essential element [to safety]. New Haw Creek and Old Haw Creek roads, and most of the others, do not even have a shoulder that a pedestrian or cyclist can step onto to avoid oncoming vehicles. The lack of sidewalks and safe roads inhibits the use of bicycles and pedestrian activity, and [it] compromises the safety of our children.
The [funds for the proposed] new parking deck must instead be used for the citizens of the city who pay taxes and need these sidewalks all the time. While parking is a concern downtown, this public money needs to go to the public, and not simply another greedy development corporation looking to increase their wealth.
— Leslie Myers