By Leslee Kulba- On Asheville City Council’s agenda was a request to allow gravel parking lots in the Central Business District. The use would only be temporary, for one year with an option to renew a second year; and measures would have to be taken to keep the gravel from spilling into rights of way. The change was intended to help mitigate the divide between parking supply and demand, which has been growing for at least two decades.
Several spoke during public comment. Their concerns were the same. They run businesses downtown, and their customers and employees, who can’t afford to live in the city, can’t find spaces to park. Carmen Cabrera of Mast General Store told of a girl having to pay $13 for parking for a job interview. Those who live downtown, like Michael Whalen, can’t park in assigned lots at their homes because, as he described it, people get frustrated trying to find a legal place and park illegally in spite of restrictive signage. Many said their friends tell them they no longer go downtown because parking