Local News

Ordinance causes trouble for Durham business owners, drivers

Posted April 29, 2015

A little known city ordinance is causing trouble for business owners and drivers on a popular Durham street known for its eclectic charm.

The ordinance, which regulates the period of time a driver can park on a given city block, has been in effect since the 1980s.

Sherry Clayton, who owns a salon on Ninth Street, says she is always aware of the time because her customers have a two-hour parking limit.

"We try to get them out before their two-hour limit and you don't really want to send someone out with hair color to move their car," she said. "The customer can't even relax and enjoy their appointment."

The city currently limits how long a driver can park on a particular block per day, even if a driver leaves and returns.

"It was created to discourage people who work in certain areas from parking and occupying the street parking spaces through the entire day," said Thomas Leathers, the city’s parking system division manager,. "Its kind of problematic and challenging for the parking enforcement officers."

Leathers said one of the main problems is the current technology. There is no way to record how long someone has been parked, only that they were parked on the block the same day.

"It's not a perfect system," Leathers said. "People are welcome to appeal the ticket."

City officials say one of the best solutions is installing paid parking meters.

The ordinance applies to all of downtown Durham, but only started being enforced on Ninth Street when changes to parking were made last year, officials said.

And while the ordinance was written to discourage people from monopolizing parking, Clayton said the ordinance is discouraging customers.

"They are very aware of the time which makes me very aware of the time," she said. "They have to get in their car and go."

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  • Roy Hinkley Apr 30, 2015
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    First, paid parking meters will not fix the issue of being unable to track a person's time on the block. Paid meters do not record information about the car, so there would still be no way to know if a person left and returned in the same day, but was under the 2 hour limit. Even if you added up the amount of time someone paid for, that doesn't mean they were actually parked the whole time.

    Second, everyone who does leave and return in the same day should appeal the ticket since there is no way for the city to know how long the car was actually on the street.