Parking meters in Durham deter seniors from attending center
Posted March 7
Durham, N.C. — 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.