I am writing this letter in response to your recent article about Asheville’s parking situation, as I strongly feel it shows the divided and corrupt city that Asheville has become [“Summertime and the Parking’s Not Easy: Residents Feel Downtown Parking Squeeze,” Aug. 14, Xpress].
I work in downtown as a software developer, and all I have to say is: God bless the ART system and the S3 for saving me so much money as compared to the private lots and the parking decks. And I agree with Sage Turner on the monthly parking lot issue. Seventy dollars a month — really, Asheville city government? The whole point of paying city taxes is to avoid price gouging.
Oh, and it makes so much sense that Julie Mayfield, our wonderful Council member who cast the deciding vote on the Flatiron hotel, thinks parking is “not a priority,” since that project will flood the downtown Wall Street parking deck with new tourists.
All of this begs the question: Who is this city built for? Is it for residents with cars? No, parking isn’t a priority. Is it for bus riders? No, the ART system is grossly underfunded. Is it for workers and even small-business owners? No, the city prioritizes parking for “big events.”
Since I’ve started living here, this city and its government have catered only to wealthy landowners who speculate on their property values over the interests of everybody else. And to [city Transportation Director] Ken Putnam, I would like to say this: Other than the Biltmore House and Mount Pisgah, the things that define Asheville, N.C., for me is seeing a “No Parking” sign every 10 yards and extreme gentrification that sends the message, “You’re not welcome here.”
Sadly, more and more people will leave, as I feel these unsustainable development practices will drive people from a city that thinks only “elite empty nesters” matter.
— Justin Reid