The use of cars, and the inevitability of parking them in a city environment, is one of the most debated topics among urban planners and citizens, particularly for those cities that do not offer convenient alternative transit options. For the most part, Knoxville falls into that category. Although KAT does its job extremely well with the situation it has, Knoxville’s sprawl and its population density dictate that most downtown visitors arrive by auto. Unfortunately, storing cars is a huge waste of valuable urban space.
Similarly, suburban sprawl has had other deleterious effects on people—namely, instilling in them the belief that one has a right to store their car immediately adjacent to their downtown destination, just as they would do in a suburban strip mall. Two corollaries to this false idea are that garages are to be avoided and that all walking should be minimized. All of these beliefs, it should be noted, run directly in opposition to the point of an urban environment—not to mention, they sound really ridiculous and shallow.
Let me be clear—downtown Knoxville does not have a parking problem. Whether it ever did is debatable; that it doesn’t have one now, is a fact. Anyone believing otherwise simply needs to acquaint themselves with the concept of the urban environment; downtown Knoxville is not a strip mall. Despite that, there have been significant concessions made for the automobile. The free parking available on evenings and weekends has now received a boost by the construction and opening of the new 1100 space Walnut Street Garage.
To summarize what is available from the City of Knoxville in the way of free parking on evenings and weekends, here’s a list:
• Locust Street Garage (645 spaces)
• Market Square Garage (700 spaces)
• State Street Garage (842 spaces)
• Promenade Garage (285 spaces)
• Walnut Street Garage NEW (1100 spaces)
• Dwight Kessel Garage (State & Hill; 964 spaces)
• Jackson Ave Surface Lot – corner of Gay & Jackson
• Viaduct Surface Lot – under the interstate off E. Jackson
For more details, visit http://parkdowntownknoxville.com. And, there is a parking App to help you locate parking.