Highlands has over 950 public parking spaces in the business district. The town has more public parking for its size than most towns in Western Carolina including Franklin, Sylva, Bryson City and Blowing Rock. If we had more parking, could the business district accommodate the increased numbers of visitors on the sidewalks, an increase in traffic, and an increased volume using the public restrooms and eating in restaurants?
A parking garage is an option. But, where would it be built so the visual impact would not change the downtown aesthetics. It also would have to be very close to town for people to actually use it. Parking garages cost anywhere from $1.6 million for a 65 space garage like the one in Blowing Rock, to over $20 million for 1000 spaces like the one at the Asheville Airport. Or, we can meter the parking in the downtown area so people would move their cars more frequently to allow more of a rotation of available parking spots.
There isn’t really a “magic bullet” on the horizon that will solve our parking issues, but there are options in the HIghlands Community Plan that should be considered.
The parking situation of Highland, NC is a challenge we face together.