Letter: Urge change in airport parking choices

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Like others, I have been deeply offended by the heavy-handed manner in which our airport authority has coerced more people to park in the new parking deck: by closing off 300 spaces in the long-term surface lot. The remaining long-term surface spaces are often filled to capacity, and we are forced to park in the deck at a substantially higher daily rate.

Though rarely available, the 700 long-term surface spaces are priced at $9 per day; the 1,100 garage spaces are $13 per day. In comparison, both of the two major airports closest to Asheville offer more lower-cost, long-term parking choices.The Greenville-Spartanburg airport charges $1 more per day to park in its garages, but it also has nearly 1,500 economy spaces at $5 per day. At Charlotte Douglas, the 5,700 garage spaces cost $10 per day, and about 10,600 surface space are also available at $7 per day.

The Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority should correct this affront in one of two common-sense ways: either 1. reduce the daily rate in the deck to make it a more appealing option; or 2. restore the 300 surface spaces to long-term use so we at least have a choice in where to park.

If readers agree with me on this, I urge them sign the online petition at thepetitionsite.com. Enter “Asheville Airport” in the search box and click on the petition titled “Urge Change in Asheville Airport Long-Term Parking Choices.”

— John Chapman



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6 thoughts on “Letter: Urge change in airport parking choices

  1. Richard B.

    I have just read John’s letter concerning the scam that is occurring at the Asheville Airport. I posted a reply to a more recent letter from the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Executive Director, which I will simply re-post below. Jon is right on about the outrageous behavior of the GARA Board of Directors.

    ….About two months ago we experienced what Jon has described above, and we have since driven to CLT three times to avoid the scam that is occurring. Obviously, we are causing ourselves more inconvenience and expense, given the distance to Charlotte vs 20 miles to AVL. However, it comes down to “standing on principle”. We use the airport probably 4-6 times a year, usually parking in one of the lower lots.

    On the occasion two months ago, we quickly saw the upper lots were full, noticed that the new garage was open, and drove on to one of the lower lots, as we have done so many times previously.

    Alas, they were both closed! I am guessing, but would estimate that, between the two lots, there are about 300-400 spaces.
    So we turned around and approached the garage, and immediately understood what was happening. The daily rate is $13, nearly twice the usual rate. CLT is still only $7 for long term. There was no obvious reason, no construction under way, that would have explained why the lower lots were closed.

    We were irate. It is obvious that the Board had made the decision to get the garage paid off as soon as possible, to retire the bond, by CLOSING available lots, and FORCING AVL customers to help pay for the new structure.
    This is beyond reprehensible. I know that Mr. Bleiweis is following the mandates of the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority Board, but one wonders who came up with this nifty way to pay down the bond, and where were the more principled folks involved in the decision?

    Below are the names of the Board members. A few are quite familiar to Asheville and Buncombe County residents. All are accomplished, management experienced folks, including a former pilot who was all about getting the people safely to their destination. But now, the emphasis appears to be to extort AVL customers who are looking forward to a week or two of cruising, visiting family, or touring, only to realize their ONLY choice is to fork over $91 for every week they are away, upon their return. There IS NO recourse. Except, of course, to do as we have decided to do, drive to GSP or CLT. Just outrageous.

    I am a fair minded citizen. I would hope that there is a rational explanation for the Board’s deceitful actions, a shake down really of the citizens of this area who have been regular consumers of AVL’s convenience. I only ask for transparency and an explanation. Executive Director Bleiweis’s dutiful effort falls well short of this request.

    I have listed below the Board members, and the email address of the Board. This is public information, and I include it here only for convenience and to encourage fellow AVL users to simply get answers to fair questions. I also include the Vision and Mission statements, which simply underscore the apparent discrepancy between the Board’s actions and their management goals.

    To be a champion for exceptional customer experiences and economic vitality.
    To provide an exceptional airport experience with a focus on people, service, commercial and general aviation, and to contribute to the regional economy.
    People | Caring | Excellence | Integrity | Respect | Service | Adaptability

    Bob Roberts
    Appointed by: City of Asheville
    K. Ray Bailey
    Appointed by: Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority Board
    Stephanie Pace Brown
    Appointed by: City of Asheville
    Matthew Burril
    Vice Chair
    Appointed by: Buncombe County
    William L. Moyer
    Appointed by: Henderson County
    George Erwin, Jr.
    Appointed by: Henderson County
    David Gantt
    Appointed by: Buncombe County


  2. Jay Reese

    The automobile destroys our bodies, our communities and our planet yet drivers cry like little babies when they are charged for their driving privileges. They complain even though they have been undercharged for numerous decades. Fortunately times are changing and legislators know they are going to have to begin charging more through increased user fees such as tool roads, congestion pricing and higher parking fees.

    • Richard B.

      I say back to the horse and buggy!

      However, I do have a question for Jay. How have people who own and drive gas driven vehicles been undercharged for decades?
      Just a bit more generalization that my more concrete oriented brain can comprehend.

      And, more to the point….what does any of what you say have to do with the fact that the Airport Regional Authority Board (not voted in Legislators) are shutting down available parking lots in order to force most consumers of AVL to pay nearly double?

      I will say though, Jay. You had me trying to look up what a “tool” road is, until it hit me that perhaps you misspelled”toll”?

      • Jay Reese

        Yea my comment about parking and the automobile was slightly off base given the Airport is privately owned, but just can’t help ripping on motorist when the opportunity arises. There is a lot of info online about transportation funding if you care to learn. I dont include the links anymore because people won’t read them and will just continue to remain ignorant of the facts.

        • Richard B.

          I can agree with you on some basics. The automobile has become more, much more, than simply a better mode of transportation. For many, it has come to mean all things involved with ego, status, financial success, and so forth. Yet this has been true throughout human history…chariots, horse carriages, the very first four wheeled electric cars, etc., who has the fastest and sleekest…have all come to represent who the rich and elite folks are. So that has not changed, nor will it.

          Plus, to a large degree, our way of life….where we work and play and socialize, and the ability to visit extended family with the population moving away from their home villages and cities….has become dependent on gas powered vehicles. The resulting chaos we see with people fighting for limited parking spaces, dents and dings all over the place due to huge trucks and SUV’s attempting to park in spaces made for small to mid size cars, causing spiraling insurance costs, continues to seek solutions, as you point out.

          So Jay, it is not simply funding that is the solution. Thoughtful people who can come up with effective strategies, and a paradigm change in how most citizens of this country view their dependency on vehicles, is needed.
          In Europe, you will note a whole lot more folks on bikes than in the U. S. Recently, visiting Ireland, we observed bike lanes everywhere, and people with suits, etc., were riding to work and school on bikes, even in center Dublin, because it is safe to do so.

          Oh yes, and many were walking. Ever notice that you see very few overweight folks in Manhattan, where many, who certainly can afford to do so, do not even own vehicles?

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