Parking is such sweet sorrow

In response to the parking issue downtown [mentioned] in your recent article [“Lex Make a Deal,” Sept. 5], I have a few thoughts to share. First of all, building another parking garage downtown is not necessary or even desirable for either the residents of Asheville or our visitors. Especially when the proposed parking garage would remove two of Asheville’s irreplaceable jewels, namely Heiwa and Downtown Books.

Also, widening Merrimon Avenue and other major avenues is not necessary, either. Endlessly widening roads and building more parking garages is old-paradigm, individual-transportation-addicted thinking, which we need to let go of.

If Asheville wants to continue to grow in the direction of being a green, progressive, community-minded city, we need to take another direction here and now. We are quite literally at a crossroads. And the new direction needs to involve a shared acceptance and use of public transportation, which needs to be greatly expanded in order to accommodate our citizens and visitors.

This model, of course, is already widely in use all over the United States and the world, from large cities like New York and Chicago to small cities like Boulder, Colo., which has used clean-burning natural gas to power all public transportation since the ‘80s, as well as extensive bicycle trails to safely accommodate nonpolluting transportation. All of these transportation systems run on a frequent cycle late into the night and on the weekend, which makes occasional vehicle use or living without a vehicle possible.

Imagine how many buildings would have to be demolished in order to accommodate all of the residents of Manhattan and their personal vehicles!

We don’t need to rip up downtown or invite more fuel-addicted people into our city to make things work better for everyone. We simply need to reframe our mindset and embrace a healthier lifestyle (for ourselves and future Ashevilleans).

— Vincent Wrenn

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10 thoughts on “Parking is such sweet sorrow

  1. daine

    wow! this letter really hits at the heart of the issue. I couldn’t agree more with the statement or say it any better. Let’s invest in greenways, bike trails and public transport instead of investing in the individual automobile culture which is doomed for a number of reasons: producing oil, prices of oil and gas, carbon emissions from burning oil and gas.

  2. But, if I read this right, what you’ll asking is for people to lock themselves away in Asheville without vehicles. So, what’s the advantage of living in these glorious mountains if you can’t drive out and enjoy them? You can like that in New York, so why bother moving down here?

  3. Danielle Withrow

    To the above comment…you can still keep a car at your house–what we’re talking about here is parking downtown. I fail to see how parking downtown relates to driving in the mountains.

    I think we desperately need good, affordable, dependable public transportation. I personally would love to see a trolly line similar to the one in New Orleans…I’ve seen old pictures of Asheville’s trolly and it was pretty awesome.

  4. You know what the problem with public transportation is? It lets the public use it. The very idea of me riding with the likes of you people makes me feel ill.

    By the way, I’m not being sarcastic at all.

  5. Carrie

    just a thought… If everyone in Downtown Asheville got off their lazy asses and walked it still won’t make a difference. If everyone touristing would get off their lazy asses and would be willing to walk more than 4 feet from their car to their destination it might make a difference. Still, it’s 15 min. , corner to corner, to walk Asheville. What transportation do we need?
    Very Lazy

  6. soji-soj


    after reading your posts on here it would seem you hate tourists. you make them wear shoes, wont let them have smashing pumpkin tix, and obviously hate internal combustion engines.

    without these wonderful tourists, our growing small city would be empty of any income, leaving poor saps like me to find jobs at mcdonalds on merrimon, instead of cleaning up after them at a local breakfast and coffee joint.

    and if they were walking, then you would complain about the sidewalks being too crowded.

    cant please er’body.

    besides, in reference to the actualy parking deck, who needs books and news when you can have an extra five minutes in oyur day because the parking is sooo good. if i want a book, i’ll just go to barnes and noble and get one at the best price available, without having to deal with any annoying homeless people asking me for spare change to satisfy their malt-liquer and crack habits.

    only when asheville resembles charlotte will people like me ever be happy.

    why do you hate progress?

  7. soji-soj, I agree with you.

    And I find it incredibly ironic that the so-called ‘progressives’ in Asheville are in the forefront of those opposed to true progress.

    If I may say so, it’s a quite liberal interpretation of the term (pun, as ever, intended).

  8. wjell

    Chicago in NOT using natural gas to power it’s public transportation.

    Ever try to ride a bike in downtown Chicago at rush hour? Or ride a CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) bus at 1:00am in the morning …or at rush hour? Are you aware that the transit system needs constant protection from uniformed and plainclothes police officers? Do you know the real reason most people don’t drive downtown? Because parking costs anywhere from $15.00 – $75.00 a day!

    Is there merit in expanding the transit system and the hour? Yes. But it is immature idiocy to believe that any transit system/bike lane is going to replace automobiles. Not everyone lives at a bus stop or is able to ride a bicycle.

    Bear in mind that the creation and maintenance of such a system will not be tremendously expensive. Right now the CTA is in financial crisis that may well produce HUGE service cuts and massive fare increases.

    I am continually amazed at how many Asheville progressive pipe dreamers walk around with one foot in La La Land and the other on a bottled water spill spewing their naïve, simplistic nonsense.

  9. wjell


    Bear in mind that the creation and maintenance of such a system WILL be tremendously expensive. Right now the CTA is in a financial crisis that may well produce HUGE service cuts and massive fare increases

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