Raleigh, N.C. — More on-street parking downtown could be metered if the City Council adopts the recommendations of a special task force.
Mayor Charles Meeker appointed the task force to develop a comprehensive downtown parking plan, and after spending several months on the plan, the panel forwarded its proposals to the City Council on Tuesday. The plan was referred to the council's Budget and Economic Development Committee for further study.
The panel called for expanding parking meters downtown, including metering spaces in the Glenwood South area and along Hillsborough Street. Rather than use "single-head meters," the city would use machines that would let people purchase up to two hours of time in a parking space from machines that would accept credit and debit cards in addition to cash.
Parking rates also would increase to $1 for one hour of parking and $2 for two hours under the plan. Hourly rates in municipal parking garages downtown wouldn't go up, officials said.
The panel also suggested hiring more staff at ParkLink, the city's on-street parking program, to improve customer service.
The comprehensive plan is supposed to discourage long-term parking and encourage turnover in on-street spaces downtown, officials said.
One subject not addressed by the plan is the abuse of handicapped parking placards.
A WRAL News investigation found people with handicapped placards park on downtown streets for hours at a time. Under Raleigh's interpretation of state law, a vehicle bearing a handicapped placard or sticker can take any metered or time-limited parking space – at no charge – for as long as the driver needs it.
Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan said his department would use a team of senior citizen volunteers to help police step up enforcement of handicapped parking regulations downtown.