Local News

New parking deck could reduce downtown Durham parking issues

Posted May 5

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— As the downtown Durham area has grown, the number of available parking spaces hasn’t kept pace, causing the area to lose business.

The Durham Performing Arts Center said it could be losing up to $100,000 per year because of parking. In an email to the City Council, its general manager said a recent client plans to move their event to Raleigh next year because of parking issues.

Arthur Rogers owns an old bank building on Main Street and Mangum Street. He said the lack of parking has made it difficult to fill vacancies in the building.

“We recently had one really great company that wanted to put 40 people in one of our buildings and they wanted 40 parking spaces and it’s not available,” he said.

There are several parking garages in downtown Durham that fill to capacity each day, so the city’s solution is to build a new one.

The proposed deck on Morgan Street would have between 750 and 850 available spaces and cost about $25 million to build.

“We’ll be able to meet the current parking needs and have some availability for daytime special events as well,” said parking division manager Thomas Leathers.

One of the design proposals the city received had affordable housing as part of the deck, along with retail space. Leathers said that’s something the city hadn’t considered before. The city is in what some have called an affordable housing crisis, but with no city-owned housing in existence, it’s unfamiliar territory.

“We decided to evaluate that option,” Leathers said. “[We’re] really deliberating a policy decision regarding affordable housing on city parcels.”

Rogers said the delay to add affordable housing could add two more years to the current two year project. He supports affordable housing but said more parking is needed as soon as possible.

“I just don’t think we can afford to wait,” he said.

The city’s transportation department is looking at the major impact of adding the affordable housing on the deck and will report back to the city council on May 19.

The deck will cost about $25 million to build.

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