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Town of Boone impacted by on-campus parking changes

Parking+signs+inside+the+Stadium+Parking+Deck.+
Sam Fleming
Parking signs inside the Stadium Parking Deck.

King Street, the heart of downtown Boone, welcomes visitors of the High Country to explore its many stores and attractions. However, a recent change to on-campus parking is impacting the downtown area, creating a backflow of parking and potentially driving away customers.

Edie Tugman, mayor pro tem of Boone, said parking in downtown Boone has become an issue as a result of the new parking regulations.

“It has greatly inhibited the town’s parking for our population to enjoy downtown in the evening,” she said.

Cars go into the Stadium Parking deck on a Tuesday night. (Sam Fleming)

Before the implementation of evening permits, students could park on campus for free after 5 p.m. Now, students must wait until 7 p.m. to park for free on campus, leaving students who have evening classes or activities on campus to purchase an evening permit or park off campus.

Tugman said this in turn has created a backflow of parking in downtown Boone.

Most of the parking downtown is paid parking which is limited to two hours. Parking after 5 p.m. is free. Tugman said that some students park cars in the metered spots at 3 p.m., paying for two hours and leaving their cars in the parking spot during the evening.

Tugman said the town briefly considered pushing the free parking period to 7 p.m., but said in doing so would lengthen the work hours of the meter attendants who walk along the sidewalks all day. She said the town also considered breaking the attendants’ shifts up into two smaller shifts, but this would also increase costs.

Kendra Sink, general manager of Mast General Store of Boone, said several businesses on King Street are being negatively impacted by the lack of parking as potential customers are having difficulty finding parking spots, saying the changes have hurt downtown businesses.

“I get how hard it is with parking and how expensive it is,” Sink said on student parking. “But the reality of it is that there’s going to have to be some compromise made to where students have their parking through ASU and the town residents and the guests still have ample parking too.”

Sink said the parking changes are also impacting tourism, as spots that are reserved for tourists and visitors are being occupied by students unable to park on campus as a result of the new regulations.

Boone Drug is another business being impacted by the overflow of parking. Pharmacist manager Sam Garrett said the parking lot is often occupied for longer periods of time by individuals that are not customers.

He “understands the issues” that students face concerning parking, but said the store often has to leave “gentle reminders” such as notes on the windshields of cars in order to ensure the parking lot is being used by customers only.

A warning sign at the Wesley Parking lot. (Sam Fleming)

Additionally, no student parking is allowed at the Health Sciences building. Tugman said some students park in the Watauga Community Recreation Center lot and surrounding lots. This creates a backflow of traffic and takes up spots reserved for businesses and the recreation center, she said.

“It’s such an interesting parade,” she said.

Sink also said the same overflow of traffic has led to community members having a difficult time finding parking by the Greenway.

Tugman said the town has not reached a resolution in regards to the overflow of parking in downtown Boone.

“The town feels as though we have very little authority or leverage in this kind of discussion, and that’s hard for us,” she said.

Para leer en español hace clic aquí.

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About the Contributors
Madalyn Edwards
Madalyn Edwards, Associate News Editor
Madalyn Edwards (she/her) is a junior English major from Mount Airy, NC. This is her second year with The Appalachian.
Sam Fleming
Sam Fleming, Photographer
Sam Fleming (he/him) is a freshman Computer Science Major, from Greensboro, NC. This is his first year with The Appalachian.
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Comments (12)

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  • J

    John COct 2, 2023 at 6:34 am

    There once was a plan for a parking garage, did that get axed.

    Reply
  • M

    Mason M McKaySep 28, 2023 at 6:08 am

    The school has also raised parking for students to nearly 5$ an hour.
    They decided to outsource their parking services so they say it is out of their control.
    And they have implemented aggressive fines towards students for not paying before entry.
    I have been fined 120$ this year because I waited until I parked my car to pay on the app.

    Reply
  • M

    Melissa StoutSep 27, 2023 at 6:11 am

    Since students have to pay so much for parking at designated areas they should be using that money to make more parking areas for the students

    Reply
    • M

      MuChaoSep 28, 2023 at 5:47 am

      It’s not just students. The university forces their own employees to pay to park where they work, too! It’s absolutely criminal.

      Reply
  • M

    Mac MacLemoreSep 27, 2023 at 6:05 am

    The city and county’s lack of infrastructure and the lack of a plan to combat parking and traffic is the core issue.

    Of course, ASU capping enrollment could assist with the problem, but that’ll never happen.

    Reply
  • C

    CallieSep 27, 2023 at 1:15 am

    Utterly disappointing that App State made this parking rule change. Another blatant, shameless money grab. Not to mention how much more money the towing companies will be making after this move … Lack of parking has been an issue since I came to Boone. Why is this issue only getting worse? Ridiculous. Do better please, Chancellor Sherri.

    Reply
  • V

    ValerieSep 26, 2023 at 4:09 pm

    I am a downtown business owner whose business depends on evening parking between 5:30-7:00pm. Increasing the paid meter time is not going to benefit us, in fact, it will do the exact opposite. One of the reasons we can draw more local people to our businesses in the evening is because parking is free after 5:00. Many locals say they won’t come downtown in the day to support our business if they always have to pay for parking, but they attend our evening events. Now they won’t come down at night either. We are not just serving tourists, my business depends on people returning several times a week. Please don’t make decisions that affect downtown businesses without input from those businesses. One solution does not fit all.

    Reply
  • D

    Dana JoyceSep 26, 2023 at 11:26 am

    The issue is easily fixed! Go back to the prior times. It’s all about the money and no caring about the students at all!!! I have a Junior at ASU so I know the parking issues.

    Reply
  • M

    MarkSep 26, 2023 at 10:10 am

    As a parent of an ASU freshman, who has their car, the parking issue is real and needs to be addressed not by the Boone but ASU. ASU makes arbitrary rules impacting so many while enriching the school. Lack of infrastructure investment and apathy seems to be cause. New ASU leadership is what’s needed.

    Reply
  • J

    Jerry ParkerSep 26, 2023 at 10:08 am

    Not sure how this happened…let’s add thousands of new students to the town that is already overcrowded. Do we have a planning committee to actually plan…no parking, no new roads, no housing. But hey let’s add 6000 new students as fast as we can. My next votes for town positions will be all new peeps, maybe they have a plan or intelligence to correct our biggest problems.

    Reply
    • M

      MuChaoSep 26, 2023 at 7:05 pm

      You need to be looking towards the University “leadership” under Sheri for the many issues facing Boone right now in regards to overcrowding, not the town…

      Reply
  • C

    Connery MartinSep 26, 2023 at 7:22 am

    The Town’s problem, as usual, has been created by the university’s utter lack of communication skills regarding this parking change. It is time for the Town to invest in a new parking deck, just as the County has recently done. I do not see a solution besides increasing supply.

    Reply