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New signs point way to downtown parking

The city erected signs that point to downtown parking lots in April. The city erected signs that point to downtown parking lots in April.

People looking for a place to park downtown are getting a visible assist thanks to the city's new blue parking signs.

The so-called wayfinding signs are the most conspicuous piece of the city's efforts to address the perceived parking problem downtown. The bright blue signs with arrows and a big white P point tourists and other downtown visitors to the city's three public parking lots.
The signs on downtown streets direct motorists to the city-owned Dogwood lot between Church and Washington streets and the Azalea and Maple lots on King Street.
"What comes next is we have canvas banners we're going to hang on poles that have the blue P with the Downtown Hendersonville logo," said City Manager John Connet. "Those will be in the parking lot so you know it's a public parking lot. All of that's supposed to be up, we're shooting for early May but no later than Garden Jubilee" on Memorial Day weekend May 24-25.
The city signs point to the city-owned public lots but not to the county-owned Visitors Center lot on South Main Street. Connet said the city might look into adding a sign that points to that public lot as well.
City crews have put up 13 parking signs and 13 arrows that cost $714.53. The city paid $3,500 for 24 2X4-foot parking lot banners, city officials said.
The city staff drafted a report last August after a public workshop that attracted 60 people and an online survey that drew 439 responses from downtown property owners, business owners, shopkeepers, residents, downtown employees and customers.
The parking report identified 1,064 spaces, including 267 three-hour spaces, 342 free spaces, 170 metered no time limit spaces, 131 leased spaces and 53 private parking spaces.
The report recommended short-term solutions including a parking inventory, partnerships with private lot owners, better parking signage and evaluation of the city's parking enforcement practices. Possible intermediate solutions included a comprehensive wayfinding signage system, parallel parking on King Street, smart meters that allow drivers to pay with smart phones and credit cards, evaluating the loading zones on the avenues and creating bus parking. Possible long-term solutions included the city's purchase of land for more surface parking or construction of a parking deck either through a public-private partnership or a bond issue.