Letter: A vote for increasing parking rates downtown

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I just read the article in the Citizen Times about parking rate increases in downtown.

I wanted to say that, as a downtown resident, I heartily support the increases. The current meter rates are too cheap to encourage use of the city parking structures and lots. As an example, directly in front of my apartment is a row of meters. They cost $1.50 per hour. Across the street from me is a privately owned surface parking lot. It charges $5 per hour. So people who are lucky enough to get street-meter parking often stay there all day and feed the meter. If anything, $2 per hour is still too cheap.

Also, contrary to common belief, the parking structures are underutilized. Last summer, the week after the Fourth of July, one of the busiest days of the year, I used the city’s parking app to count the number of available parking spaces in structures. Here is the result: Biltmore Avenue, 74; Harrah’s Cherokee Center, 17; Wall Street, 5; Rankin Avenue, 4; Coxe Avenue/Sears Alley, 539; College Street, 335.

Plus, we have the new privately owned structure on Federal Alley in the South Slope, which is basically empty.

So, as you can see, the city-owned structures were pretty full, but the county-owned structures had plenty of parking. I’m not sure why this is, but people seem to not be aware of the county parking structures. Perhaps this is an education issue, but the low cost of the street meters is also an issue. Better signage would probably help.

I also think we should extend metered parking to other areas, such as South Slope, Biltmore and West Asheville. Given the dire need for capital improvements in our current parking structures and the need to expand transportation services in Asheville, this money is desperately needed.

— Dane Barrager
Downtown resident and business owner


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3 thoughts on “Letter: A vote for increasing parking rates downtown

  1. Robert

    Hmmm…how about charging an Asheville admission fee to all car-wielding humans who do not reside full time and/or own property within 50 miles of Buncombe County?

  2. Think about it

    Sure, charge more for parking, it likely won’t have the effect you desire.

  3. luther blissett

    “So, as you can see, the city-owned structures were pretty full, but the county-owned structures had plenty of parking.”

    The College Street garage is generally busy through the working day because of courthouse / government use — which is often reimbursed — but empties out on evenings and weekends. But the main problem is that county garages’ pricing is not in line with city garages: specifically, the first hour is not free. The Sears Alley garage / HHS rebuild cost county residents millions of dollars and should have solved the parking problem. The county commission knows Sears Alley is typically half empty — it tried a scheme of allocating low-priced monthly spots to downtown service workers — but seems powerless over its management company to adjust the pricing. It makes no sense.

    Adjusting the price of metered spaces is tinkering around the edges of the problem. The city simply needs to remove a lot of on-street parking. Having metered spots around Pritchard Park or on Haywood Street or Biltmore Ave is bad for downtown. Take away the spots, widen the sidewalks, add some more real-time signs showing where the garages are and how many spots are available.

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