Raleigh looks for ways to improve parking downtown
Posted April 11
Raleigh, N.C. — Parking in downtown Raleigh could soon become easier, as city leaders address the findings and recommendations from a four-month-study on how to maximize parking while encouraging economic growth.
Raleigh has about 26,900 parking spots downtown, with more than half of those in city-owned or private parking decks. About 3,400 of the on-street parking spaces are free of charge, while the rest are metered.
High-demand spots, such as Fayetteville Street and a lot on Jones Street near the Legislative Building, are often filled, however, forcing drivers in circles as they search for an opening.
"I avoid downtown because the parking is a nightmare," driver Alan Michael said. "Mass transportation would be nice if it was convenient."
"(There's) not enough time because, if you have a three-hour meeting, you have to interrupt yourself in order to come out of your meeting in order to pay parking again," driver Angel Green-Underwood said.
City officials commissioned a study last fall to look at existing parking policies and rates, as well as what other cities do, and they got their first look Tuesday at the findings.
Raleigh is doing a good job of managing its parking resources, according to the study, but the increasing interest in commercial, residential and retail development downtown poses a serious challenge.
"The problem is people don’t know where to go," City Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin said. "So, one of the recommendations in the study is creating more mobile apps and giving people access to technology to direct them to parking spaces and garage spaces where parking is available."
Another recommendation calls for charging more for high-demand spots and less for spaces on the outskirts of downtown.
Baldwin said she would like to see the city give a break to businesses downtown.
"Startups, one of their biggest concerns is that they want to be downtown, but they can't afford the parking rates at $90 to $120 a space," she said.
The City Council will spend the next few months reviewing the recommendations before deciding what changes to make and when.