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KAT riders tell BOMA lot has too many uses

Knoxville Area Transit bus riders appeared at a Board of Mayor and Aldermen workshop Thursday, July 14, to reiterate recent comments that the Town’s park and ride lot is simply too small.

The Board, in return, told Town staff to look at the possibility of finding a new, larger, parking lot to use.

“The concern is that a lot of carpoolers use the lot — which is a legitimate use — but this is the only KAT lot,” Mark Calvert, a Farragut resident, told the Board.

The park and ride lot is located off Campbell Station Road, adjacent to Barnett Dry Cleaners. The Town has a contract with KALU, LLC, to lease part of the lot for $14,000 a year.

Calvert said the problem stemmed from the fact there were too many uses going on in one small parking lot. The lot serves as an entrance to Grigsby Chapel Greenway, as well as a carpooling lot. In addition, three vans a day pull away from the lot taking local residents to TVA’s Watts Bar. Finally, the lot is the final stop of KAT’s Farragut Express, which runs between Farragut and downtown Knoxville three times a day.

“It’s really tight at the parking lot,” Calvert said.

Alderman Ron Honken asked Town staff if they could look at finding another parking lot for KAT users, then discussing that with Knoxville Transit Authority, determining if they’d be willing to move the route.

“If we’re not willing to pay, we can’t really ask businesses for parking spaces,” Associate Town Administrator Gary Palmer said.

Honken said he would support removing the funding from KALU, LLC, and diverting it to another parking lot with room for everyone. The KALU contract is up for its annual renewal in November.

“It’s not like we’re hurting for parking; we just have them at the wrong place,” he said.

“And for $14,000, we could get a lot of parking spaces,” Alderman Bob Markli agreed.

If that didn’t seem feasible, Calvert also recommended the Board consider labeling the parking spaces, an idea Alderman Jeff Elliott seemed amendable to.

But he asked Calvert how easy that would be to enforce.

“That would be difficult. You’d depend on the good faith of the people,” Calvert said.

“All the designated spots [in the lot] are taken on any given day, with four or so cars parked in the drive,” he added

However, Calvert said that if more parking spaces were available, it’s highly likely more people would carpool or ride the bus.

“There’s the desire there. ... I see people many mornings drive around the lot, then shake their heads and drive toward the freeway,” he said.

He told the Board he’d contacted other businesses nearby to see about letting bus riders park in their lots, but not many businesses seemed interested.

Calvert said any way the Board could help would be appreciated.

“We’re happy to do the way that’s least costly to the Town because the Town is already being generous,” Calvert said.

In addition to the park and ride lot funding, the Town also funds the KAT bus line each year. This fiscal year, it’s granting $40,000 to KAT.


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