Misunderstanding reveals distrust between downtown business owners, Raleigh parking enforcement
Posted May 10
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.