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602 S. Gay Street
Knoxville, TN 37902
Just a quick reply to Jack Neely’s piece on free parking downtown. [“The Parking Paradox,” Secret History, May 27, 2010] First and foremost, Mr. Neely is absolutely correct about the social and infrastructural costs of too much parking. We have a city and we have a suburb and it is probably best to keep the two distinct because they each have their own benefits. (Or so I am told. I myself have trouble finding the benefits of the suburbs.)
There was, however, one major mistake in the column; there is free parking downtown. The free parking under the interstate that Mr. Neely mentioned is open, and has been for some time. Head north on Central into the Old City and take a right on Locust. There is a ton of street parking and hundreds of spots in a city lot. It isn’t fenced off and there are always spots available. Or, go to the lot on Jackson just west of South Gay. There’s plenty available there, too. As for the inexpensive $2-$3 daily parking, well, that exists also. For instance, the private lot at the corner of Central and Summit Hill. This lot is $3 a day and always has empty spots.
Downtown leaves some things to be desired, no doubt about that, but the constant talk of too little parking just doesn’t make sense to me. I work downtown and park here every day, for free, without stress. Let’s focus on something else. Rumor has it that there isn’t a grocery or hardware store downtown. That might be nice.