Recently I was in downtown Asheville to pay my property taxes. The traffic was horrific, and parking was a nightmare. It is extremely frustrating to live in a city that has become nearly impossible for taxpaying citizens to navigate or enjoy because of tourists. My compliments to the staff of Buncombe County Tax Department; they were doing an awesome job serving a long line of people.
I know tourism is important to the local economy, but considering the low wages generated by tourism, I think City Council should do more to improve the lives of Asheville citizens. Every election cycle, we hear promises of change, yet our quality of life decreases every day. Why? When are our elected officials actually going to work to represent the needs of everyone, versus a few developers and business owners?
I have two ideas. I would like to see City Council designate parking that is reserved for taxpaying citizens. This could be accomplished by purchasing a yearly parking sticker and color-coded parking spots.
And, develop the “pit of despair” across from the civic center as an eco-friendly hub for a park-and-ride service. The city could purchase or lease empty lots along Tunnel Road and the River Arts District for parking. The buses would run every 10-15 minutes, help bridge downtown and the River Arts District, reduce traffic congestion, provide easier access for folks employed downtown and supply a few new jobs.
What say you, City Council?
— David Robertson