Local News

Downtown parking signs need fine print

Posted September 24, 2008
Updated September 25, 2008

— Parking signs downtown don't spell out all of the restrictions for some spaces, which upsets some drivers who have been ticketed for illegal parking.

Many drivers who park in two-hour spaces downtown are under the assumption that they can simply move to a new space before the two hours are up to avoid a ticket. But city codes prohibit drivers from parking on one downtown block for more than two hours at a time.

"I think you have to post the regulations. There's no way that anybody would know that," said Eleanor Oakley, president and chief executive of the United Arts Council.

Oakley said she had lost her parking pass and parked on the street while waiting for a replacement. She said she was confused when she was ticketed after moving her car to the other side of Blount Street and said she plans to appeal the $15 citation out of principle.

"I don't have any problem with the regulation, but I think, (if) it's not posted, then it's sort of a gotcha game," she said.

Parking administrators said the same-block rule has been on the books for years, and the only exception is for vehicles that leave for more than 30 minutes before returning. They said time-limit spaces are meant for temporary – not all-day – parking.

Some downtown business owners said enforcement helps encourage turnover and deter people from occupying parking space s for hours on end.

"I've had people tell me they get really frustrated trying to find a place, and then they just give up and leave. So, it'd be nice to have more of it freed up for more people," merchant Mikhail Jannik said.

Still, Mayor Charles Meeker said he agreed with Oakley and other irate drivers.

"I thought, as long as you move within two hours, that's sufficient, but apparently that's not what the code says," Meeker said. "We either need to get the word out about the rule or change the rule or change the whole parking system, (which) is what I'd like to see."

A city task force is wrapping up its study of downtown parking and is expected to give some recommendations to City Council in the coming weeks. One idea on the table is to do away with free, time-limit parking spaces and make everything metered, which officials said would encourage people to use downtown parking decks.


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  • MellowMelnJC Sep 26, 2008

    Does it really matter where I work? I thought we were talking about parking in downtown...
    Just so you know I like so many others that work 8 hours a day have what is called "break" morning & afternoon. They are for 15 minutes each and what I deside to do on them is up to me...just so you know I work in a position that if I take more time than allowed it is a BIG PROBLEM!!!
    I was trying to be helpful to anyone that parks downtown and gets a ticket(that they were not in violation of the "rules") and takes the time to go to the City of Raleigh's office to talk to them about it and "thinks" that they have handled it and get something in the mail stating that they owe $35 for a "unpaid" ticket that they thought was "handled" that is all I talking about...

    Hey do me & your co-workers a favor smile its sounds like you need to! It might just make your day go better!

  • Gneiss One Sep 25, 2008

    Mellow...you must work for state govt, Many of my coworkers are frequently MIA because they are getting paid to play the musical parking space game. Must be ok since in the 3 yrs I have been working downtown I have only seen one memo from upper management stating this is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Lip service to satisfy complaints from those whose supervisors look the other way for the chosen ones but reprimand others for the same exact thing.

  • RBSar Sep 25, 2008

    While I agree with TaxMan that free parking would be awesome, they'd just find another way to make up for the loss of meter-money.

    I agree with pretty much everything nosuchmiracles is saying! My friends and I enjoy going downtown all the time and never have any problems finding a spot! I'd hate to hear what any of you have to say about parking in NYC, DC or Philly! So I guess what it boils down to is: I'll continue to enjoy downtown Raleigh (not to mention the metro areas of tons of other cities around the country) because I think it's worth parking 2 blocks over and - god forbid - walking to my destination. I also don't think it's a big deal to pay a little for the convenience of parking in a parking deck. Downtown Raleigh has a lot to offer, and more shops/restaurants/bars are popping up all the time, I hate to see that so many people are missing out just because of the misconception that parking is terribly hard to find or expensive!

    PS – click here for more info about parking

  • nosuchmiracles Sep 25, 2008

    Not enough parking? theres so many parking decks downtown! If thats your excuse, then you won't come down regardless. Theres tons of parking, but you may have to walk a bit (and im sure most of us can use it). I've never had trouble finding free or paid parking. I used to go down everyday for several years doing title searches - somedays I paid, other days I found free parking. either way, it was cake. And to make it clear, I am downtown at least 5 if not 6 days a week still.

  • room Sep 25, 2008

    Simple for me. No parking, no buying. The major reason I stay away from downtowns. Raleigh is not unique. The same problem is with most downtowns. So, I simply stay away. The only time I ever went downtown in Raleigh was a few times to the museums, once for jury duty, and a few times for the 5k/10k runs. I have never shopped downtown and wont until they come up with a parking solution. Now we can complain all we want, but the key here are the downtown businesses. They need to get all businesses involved and sit on the city councils desk until the parking is resolved. Maybe if people quit going downtown for a bit, someone would wake up. Anyway, thats my suggestion. Really doesnt matter to me though, I go elsewhere and if they ever do decide to supply parking, then and only then will I take my dollars downtown.

  • nchoosier Sep 25, 2008

    Many of us depend upon what a sign displays. Out-of-town folk can't be expected to know what "local statute" says. If the limit is two hours and I move my car, I have abided by posted regulations, even if I only moved my car 10 feet to the next parking space. You want customers? Provide parking space.

  • MellowMelnJC Sep 25, 2008

    Well I work downtown and I park in 2 hour parking. I know to someone that is reading this story it may sound stupid to be moving your car every 2 hours BUT I do and have NO problems with moving my car or finding a "new" place to park.YES I have read the "rules" on parking downtown..My Problem is that I park on Blunt street and there is 2 different zones and the ticket guys/girls are SO QUICK to write a ticket that I have had 2 tickets written that were not a volation(my car was parked in 2 different zones) and I went down to the City of Raleigh building and they havent got a clue what is going on!!! I had to tell the "MANAGER" that there were 2 different zones on that street.

    I will give the advice to get a copy of the ticket with the persons name written on it, DONT just let them take the ticket and say "We will take care of it" BECAUSE when you get that $35 ticket in the mail you will need something to show that you went down there ALREADY...parking downtown just SUCKS!!!

  • iron fist Sep 25, 2008

    If you leave and return 30 minutes later you can park for an addional 2 hours Who know if you just moved your car or if you left and came back 30 minutes later. I know they used to mark your tires with chalk if you car was moved they would not write a ticket. Raleigh needs more public parking.

  • spinner Sep 25, 2008

    I work in downtown Raleigh, and the parking situation is just a mess. The downtown area can be really neat, especially with the new convention center, but the parking problems can really put a damper on things. I love and need my job, but I often curse the parking issues I have to deal with on a daily basis.

  • u_mad Sep 25, 2008

    "All of you going on about how much you HATE Downtown Raleigh are welcome to stay home. You are all bigots for having such rampant (and announced) ignorance. "

    For you to call people bigots and ignorant for not preferring to go to downtown Raleigh is disgraceful. If you represent any part of downtown Raleigh, i'm glad i take my business elsewhere. Have a nice day.