Make safe sidewalks a priority, not parking decks

I am against the proposed deal between the not-so-Public Interest Projects developers and the city of Asheville. The city could more wisely use the revenue generated from our just-paid-off parking decks and other parking facilities by providing sidewalks for neighborhoods and improving public transportation.

Safe sidewalks for residents of Asheville should be a priority. Historically, it seems that beyond the boundaries of downtown, and in even some places in town, safe sidewalks for residents are of little concern to decision makers. I have personally walked in areas throughout the city where I’ve been at real risk of being hit by a car due to the nonexistence or obstruction of sidewalks, including my own neighborhood. Yes, life has risks, but walking your pet, a stroll through your neighborhood or young children riding bikes should not be among them.

Do we need more parking? I always manage to find a parking space in town; on occasion I may have to walk a little to reach my destination. Most of the time, except in the case of big special events in town, the parking decks I’ve parked in have plenty of slots open.

Can someone give the logic of the city paying for a parking deck for a hotel that should be paying for its own? After all, their guests will need the parking and will benefit the most.

Suggestion: Instead of encouraging more in-town driving (along with the attendant pollution), City Council should look into the possibility of park-and-shuttle sites in outlying, less congested areas where visitors and residents alike can leave their cars and hop on the improved public transit.

— Carmen Ramos-Kennedy

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