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Council pans King Street parking proposal

Hendersonville City Council members delivered a resounding thumbs down Thursday night on a proposal to add parallel parking to the 200 and 300 blocks of King Street. If the idea is not dead, it would take a miracle for it to recover from the severe beating it took from council members.

In an effort to find more spaces to the tight inventory of parking downtown, the city hired an engineering firm to study parallel parking on the west side of King Street. J.M. Teague Engineering completed a traffic impact on King Street from Second Avenue to Sixth Avenue and found that the city could add 20 parallel parking spaces on the west side of King Street from Second Avenue to Fourth Avenue.
"No decision is being made tonight," Mayor Barbara Volk said. "This is just to put the idea out there and get input and I've already gotten quite a bit of it."
That was as positive as it got. For the next few minutes, council members assailed the idea as "dangerous at best," a "very very last resort," a hazard to motorists and pedestrians, and less desirable than a last resort.
While council members praised Public Works Director Tom Wooten for a creative idea, they made it clear that they oppose the proposal. The chance that the idea will resurface when the city receives a comprehensive parking recommendation seemed remote at best.
Mayor Pro Tem Ron Stephens said he had gotten more calls about the idea than on any other topic in all the time he's lived in town, the vast majority of it negative.
Councilman Jeff Miller said he had been "getting blasted" from constituents opposing the proposal.
"I appreciate the creative thought with what we have," he said. "I have a hard time seeing this. If you've got two or three people trying to parallel park, you really reduce it to one lane. There's some crazy drivers on it already."
Referring to Councilman Steve Caraker's comment, Miller said he could not see supporting the idea "even as a last resort."