Parking quiz: Do you know these five lesser-known downtown parking areas?

Lot 17 really is hidden, and close to a lot of good shopping and eating.

You’re driving around downtown Asheville, cursing the parking situation because you have to meet friends for dinner in 20 minutes and parking spots are proving hard to find. All the garages are full and you’ve been duped by fire hydrants and loading zones several times. Where does your parking savior lie?

Fear not, for the spots are out there. Drivers just need to know where to look. Ken Putnam, Asheville’s director of transportation, reported that the city has now surpassed 8,000 parking meter transactions per month for the last two months, and that number is only going up.

Mountain Xpress took a drive this past Wednesday morning with Putnam to scope out the best parking areas to go when all else has failed.

Number 5: Under the Fuddruckers billboard

Elm and Liberty
Photos by Pat Barcas

 

Location: On Elm Street, just east of Liberty Street, right next to Interstate 240 and adjacent to the Fuddruckers billboard.

Proximity to Pack Square: About a half-mile if you’re walking.Elm and Liberty 2

Parking situation: There are about a dozen street spots here, limited to permit parking Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. But all other times are free of charge. Putnam said these out-of-the-way spots are almost never full. The trek to downtown via the I-240 underpass is dark and somewhat undesirable, but he said the city is negotiating with Duke Energy to install lighting. Merrimon Avenue and the U.S. Cellular Center are short walks away.

Number 4: The Food Lion Skatepark

The lower skate park lot is not very hidden, but still a good choice if you're looking for parking near Lexington Ave.
The lower skate park lot is not very hidden, but still a good choice if you’re looking for parking near Lexington Avenue.

Location: At Broadway and Cherry Streets, there’s also more parking up Cherry Street toward Flint Street. This one is a gravel lot.

Proximity to Pack Square: It’s about a half-mile walk.

Parking situation: The lower lot has no signs, but is open to the public. Be prepared during the day to battle it out with commuters for on of the 30-plus spots. You can leave your car overnight. Putnam said this land is state owned, long and skinny, and not useful for much else than a parking lot. Park here for close access to Lexington Avenue shopping, the U.S. Cellular Center or heading downtown.

Number 3: The employee lots near City Hall

The city hall lots are a great option on the weekends and are close to downtown dining.
The City Hall lots are a great option on the weekends for their proximity to downtown dining.

Location: 8 Marjorie St., adjacent to City Hall.

This gate is unlocked at 5 p.m. during the week.
This gate is unlocked at 5 p.m. during the week.

Proximity to Pack Square: Very close — about a tenth of a mile, less than a five minute walk-

Parking situation: Employees park here from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. All other times are free. There are dozens of spots and there are empty spots most weekends. A quick walk up the hill and you’re at Pack’s Tavern, Pack Square Park or the heart of downtown.

 

 

Number 2: Lot 18 near the U.S. Cellular Center

Right across from the U.S. Cellular Center lies lot 18. It's a pay lot, but almost always open.
Right across from the U.S. Cellular Center lies lot 18. It’s a pay lot, but almost always open.

Location: Page Avenue and Haywood Street, across from the U.S. Cellular Center.

Proximity to Pack Square: A brisk .4-mile walk.

Parking situation: Putnam says this lot is rarely full, but it’s $1.25 per hour, with no limit. This lot is ideal for shoppers at the Grove Arcade and anyone seeking downtown access.

Number 1: Lot 17 next to the AT&T building

Lot 17 really is hidden, and close to a lot of good shopping and eating.
Lot 17 is quite hidden, but close to a lot of good shopping and eating.

 

Location: Lot 17 is adjacent to the AT&T building on O’henry Avenue. When you drive up, you’ll see the employee lot dead ahead. Take a hard right, that’s where the public parking is.

Proximity to Pack Square: It’s about a half-mile walk.

Parking situation: There aren’t many public spaces here. They are $1.25 an hour, unlimited, after 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. This lot usually has vacancies and is in a great location for the Grove Arcade and downtown food and shopping. The Hotel Indigo shares this lot with monthly pass-holders as well.

SHARE
About Pat Barcas
Pat is a photojournalist and writer who moved to Asheville in 2014. He previously worked for a labor and social rights advocacy newspaper in Chicago. Email him at pbarcas@gmail.com. Follow me @pbarcas

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “Parking quiz: Do you know these five lesser-known downtown parking areas?

  1. Stuart Rohrbaugh

    Don’t tell everyone. Now everyone will know. Most spots mentioned rarely fail me. They usually produce an over abundance of open parking spaces. Lots of surface parking spaces on many underused parcels in and around our downtown too. Supply maybe well used sometimes but rarely is it overloaded. Although not always practical, you can park your car on a private lot and catch a bus into downtown. Buses travel along Hendersonville, Haywood, Patton, Merrimon and Tunnel on a regular basis.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.