Raleigh delays vote on parking fee hike plan
Posted October 20, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — The debate over how and whether to raise fees for garage parking in downtown Raleigh, raised in July, will stretch into November after a City Council vote expected Tuesday was tabled. Mayor Nancy McFarlane and council member Eugene Weeks weren’t present at Tuesday’s meeting, so the council could not vote.
While business owners aren’t happy about the proposal, they say the postponement may buy more time to change the minds of city council members.
The proposal, which is set to take effect on New Year’s Eve, originally would have charged a $5 flat fee for parking decks on nights (after 5 p.m.) and all day on weekends. The modified proposal charges the $5 fee on Thursday and Friday nights and throughout the day on Saturday.
Business owners worry that paying to park would cut into the paychecks of hourly employees. The new proposal would also offer what is essentially a 50 percent discount on parking fees to downtown employees.
Even with the new proposal, business owners worry about their bottom line and driving customers out of the downtown area. The plan would not just affect restaurants, but museums and retailers as well.
“If we’re trying to encourage retail downtown, it’s really hard to imagine competing with Cameron Village, Crabtree Mall or Seaboard Station where they don’t charge at all,” said downtown restaurant owner David Meeker.
Meeker urged the council to move cautiously on this proposal, suggesting a possible phase-in period so that businesses could see how the fee increase would impact their bottom line. Many of the council members seemed open to that idea.
Other cities like Asheville and Charlotte charge to park in their city decks on nights and weekends. Durham does not charge unless there is a special event.
Raleigh’s city council will take up the issue again on Nov.