A popular watering hole for cocktail sippers, craft beer drinkers and French Broad River users, The Bywater has limited parking at its 796 Riverside Dr. location. And it is the boaters and tubers, in particular, that overwhelm the bar. Groups use The Bywater as an ending point for their float trips, which means that they often meet there early to park, then get together to trek to a spot upriver to start their trip. That causes The Bywater’s parking lot to fill up quickly.
It’s also causing people to create their own parking spots along Riverside Drive. That has forced adjacent property owners to post signs banning the practice. It has also triggered attention from N.C. Department of Transportation officials and Asheville police. The Bywater reports that DOT officials are considering an outright ban on roadside parking and lowering the speed limit on Riverside Drive. Asheville police have been actively ticketing parkers who block bicycle lanes.
The Bywater has reacted with two recent Facebook posts urging its customers to carpool and to use a shuttle service offered by neighbor Asheville Adventure Rentals. The Bywater also announced that it would close off its parking lot during the bar’s off hours to stop people from parking there early.
Since it opened in 2010, the bar has been a destination for tubers and boaters looking to sip a cocktail or a craft beer after an afternoon on the French Broad River. It has, in fact, been the only food/drink destination for recreational users of the portion of the river that runs along Riverside, although that is changing quickly.
Here’s the full statement from The Bywater on Facebook.
The Bywater is thankful for all our friends and family that support us through cold winters and sweaty summers! We want everyone to come in thirsty and leave here happy! We know parking can be a pain… And we’re working on a solution! In the short term, parking safely and responsibly, carpooling, and using the shuttle service would be incredibly helpful
As the Bywater has become busier and river traffic has exploded, we are finally being forced to confront our parking problem. We have been visited by both the NC Dept of Transportation, and the Asheville Police Department in regards to this matter. PLEASE take this to heart!
Our #1 issue is boaters leaving (multiple) vehicles in the parking lot while floating the river. We see typically 3-6 people each leaving a car in the parking area and taking a single car to the put-in. This fills the parking lot for hours, leaving no parking for immediate customers
The second major issue we are having is that many floaters (40% by our count) use the Bywater as a takeout and then proceed to leave without patronizing the business. This creates a parking problem for actual customers.
The third major issue is irresponsible and dangerous parking on the side of Riverside Dr. This includes blocking the bike lane, actually parking on the roadway, and blocking access to neighboring businesses.
As a result, the NCDOT is threatening to abolish roadside parking, and the APD is actively ticketing cars along the roadway.
In order to better serve our members, the Bywater will be blocking off the parking lot during closed hours, encouraging alternate arrangements for the floaters and carpooling.
Thanks for understanding.