Local News

Misunderstanding reveals distrust between downtown business owners, Raleigh parking enforcement

Posted May 10

— Business owners in downtown Raleigh are concerned that aggressive tactics by the city’s parking enforcement staff are chasing customers away.

A Raleigh restaurant owner took photos of a city parking enforcement agent Monday, when he believed the agent was ticketing a family as a man with a walker was loading into his car. The car was parked in a legal spot on the street 10 feet from the door of his doctor’s office.

The business owner questioned the city worker about his judgment and the agent did not clarify. According to Gordon Dash, park administrator for the City of Raleigh, parking enforcement agents are instructed not to speak to those not directly involved with the incident.

"I couldn't believe it," restaurant owner Kenneth Yowell said. "This guy would have realized who he was giving a ticket to and been able to make a judgment call and not ticket a man just trying to walk 10 feet over to his car."

"I took a couple of pictures because I couldn't belive it was actyally happening," Yowell said. "I have staff who get tickets, pretty much every day."

WRAL contacted the City of Raleigh before 10 a.m., but did not hear back from until around 2:30 p.m. Dash clarified what happened. The parking meter was expired, so the parking enforcement agent was writing a ticket. But he changed the ticket to a warning when he realized the man was walking to the car.

"Agents do have that discretion. In this case it made sense and the agent had mercy on the elderly gentleman," Dash said.

When informed the family received a warning, Yowell said he was relieved.

"That is good news," he said. "I can't say I understand why you even give him a warning but I'm glad to hear that they didn't actually fine them."

Enforcement officers are able to change a parking ticket to a warning before it has officially been submitted. After the submission is complete, drivers then must go through the official appeals process to appeal the ticket.

"I think there needs to be more leniency with the tickets," restaurant owner Benjamin Spencer said.

The situation has reveals distrust between business owners and parking officials. Several business owners also said the aggressive parking enforcement does not make downtown Raleigh a welcoming place to visit, describing it as a constant problem.


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  • Jerry Powell May 11, 1:39 p.m.
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    So why did this make the news anyway? Other than fitting an agenda, I don't see anything newsworthy. The officer recognized a change in circumstances and acted appropriately. IF the elderly gentlemen had came out 2 minutes later, NCGS 20-7.6(a) would have solved that issue. I'm sure that there is video that we will never see since the officer acted appropriately.

  • Jerry Powell May 10, 9:24 p.m.
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    Misunderstanding reveals distrust between downtown business owners, Raleigh parking enforcementMr. Yowell is the only person involved that involved that misunderstood anything.

  • Henry Cooper May 10, 7:35 p.m.
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    Didn't this turn out like it should?

    -Meter expired...
    -Parking enforcement starts the ticketing process
    -Man comes out to get in car
    -Parking enforcement changes ticket to warning.
    -The warning takes no appearance and has no fine.

    I also think even though they say "writing a ticket" the restaurant owner referred to the guy as typing. They have little ticket machines that I believe are connected to a network for plate lookup when writing the ticket. Once started I think they have to complete it in some way for accountability... really to the tax payer in the long run.

    What is the big deal? From the story it seems enforcement did not know where the car owner was when the ticketing process started so why wouldn't he start a ticket...

  • Janet Ghumri May 10, 4:07 p.m.
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    Recently parked downtown, paid and later had a friend tell me the parking attendant was measuring the distance from the curb to my tires (pacing it with his feet)! BTW - I drive a small car, not a monster truck- my meter was fine. Seems like they are looking for any reason to ticket. Smh

  • Jerry Crawford May 10, 4:06 p.m.
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    I do not go to downtown Raleigh unless I have to and I never stop anywhere on Hillsboro street because you do not know where you can park for any particular business.

  • John Brown May 10, 4:01 p.m.
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    This is absolutely wrong...,. handicapped people should be treated with more respect.

  • Thomas White May 10, 3:35 p.m.
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    Aggressive parking enforcement and the city looking at giving a new development the right to have no parking for a 12 story building. I would bet that each person has to write a set number of citations a day.

  • Sheila Rohrbach May 10, 3:21 p.m.
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  • Robert Dalton May 10, 1:57 p.m.
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    This is the main reason we have stopped going downtown. It's not worth the aggravation to park and deal with a ticket for sitting in you car, waiting to pull out in traffic and leaving an expires meter.