Local News

Parking meters in Durham deter seniors from attending center

Posted March 7

— The City of Durham is getting criticism for implementing paid street parking downtown near the Durham Center for Senior Life.

According to staff, since the meters went up, they have seen a decline in attendance. They say when the parking lot is full, people who turned to street parking are now going home.

Judith Wittenberg is among those who worry she won't be able to come to the center anymore.

"Whoever thought of the idea needs to go talk to their grandmother, or their mother, and find out how fair they think it would be," she said.

The meters cost $1.50 per hour with a two hour limit. A cost some seniors can't afford and a time allotment that is too short.

"Coming here should not be stressful. I'm 71 years old. I don't need to be stressed out," said Gloria Rentrope.

Rentrope started a petition to protest the meters. So far, she has 203 signatures.

She has also written to every member of the city council and county commissioners.

"I heard back from the mayor, and he said 'Thank you for your email,'" Rentrope said.

Liz Lahti works at the center and said before the meters, they saw an average of 300 people every Monday. This Monday, the center saw 242 visitors.

"We're having instructors say they are not sure if they can actually teach a class anymore or volunteer here because there is no space available and they can't afford to pay," Lahti said. "Something has to be done, and we're not sure what."

A statement from a spokesperson with the city's Department of Transportation said "the city is collaborating with officials at the center to address their concerns regarding the newly launched metered on-street parking and to work towards a feasible solution."

One solution that has been suggested is to offer seniors a sticker for their windows that would allow free street parking. That suggestion will be presented to the city council on Thursday.


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  • Bill Gibson Mar 9, 10:05 a.m.
    user avatar

    "Persons 65 and older may ride free with a
    government issued photo ID or a DATA ID Card." The Center article that I linked to says the above. If this is incorrect, okay.

  • Ed Ray Mar 8, 11:53 a.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Why should I have to pay for someone who has made the wrong decisions in life, not my problem and you are the big part of the problem. You treat them like you are better then them by your oh we should pay them they had a hard life. Well what about every other person that has a hard life that gets up and does what they are suppose to do. Stop making excuses for them.

  • Ed Ray Mar 8, 11:50 a.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    i grew up in the in bad circumstances. Everyone has the same chance has everyone else. They choose not to "work" for that chance, I did and I am sick of paying for everyone else's problems. I am poor now I do not expect anybody to pay for me. I may have to work 2 full time jobs to support my family, but I do it with no handouts, no welfare, no medicaid. I do it everyday, I may have to go without eating to make sure my kids eat, but I do it. Most days i walk in the door to one job to get ready for my other job. I do it and if I can do everyone can do it. Just because you grew up "poor" means nothing.

  • Scooter Barrette Mar 8, 9:50 a.m.
    user avatar

    It's sad really. Most homeless individuals are mentally ill and grew up in poverty. They were kids in a terrible neighborhood who never went to a good school and were never taught to be sustainable. The thought that "fairness" means you and them paying the same amount is ridiculous, and only serves to keep more money in your pocket. Jesus would surely be proud.

  • Scooter Barrette Mar 8, 9:43 a.m.
    user avatar

    Jimmy, I think it's okay for people like you and I to pay more for others with less to live full lives. Being poor doesn't make you lazy. The problem is that people like you are "tired" of doing the right thing and helping people who grew up with worse circumstances than yourself.

  • Jimmy Jones Mar 8, 9:25 a.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I was thinking the same thing....however, I do understand that most are on fixed incomes. But I'm just tired of being one the few paying for everyone else not that doesn't pay. Reminds me of the income tax, how about everyone just pay 10%, from the homeless to the rich.....that way everyone pays for government....not just us middleclass folks.

  • Jimmy Jones Mar 8, 9:21 a.m.
    user avatar

    Hell, they deter everybody....

  • Scooter Barrette Mar 8, 9:14 a.m.
    user avatar

    Am I the only one that would prefer free parking everywhere with less beautification and lane-widening projects? FYI, Bill, bus tickets aren't free and there is such thing as "opportunity cost".

  • Bill Gibson Mar 8, 8:35 a.m.
    user avatar

    Durham Center for Senior Life Transportation Service
    Policies and Procedures
    Park elsewhere and ride the bus for free?

  • Ed Smail Mar 8, 7:48 a.m.
    user avatar

    Lol. Being a senior myself. This made me chuckle. We all crave that senior discount!