As warehouse district booms, parking crunch reaches critical stage
Posted July 21, 2015 5:18 p.m. EDT
Updated July 21, 2015 6:21 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Raleigh's warehouse district is booming, but between office workers, foodies dining out and the denizens of the night, the lack of parking has reached critical condition.
The area bounded by Morgan, Boylan, Cabarrus and Dawson streets is home to a new Citrix headquarters with 900 employees, restaurants like The Pit and Humble Pie and a contemporary art museum, and more are moving in. By next year, the new Union Station transportation hub will be complete, adding to the challenges.
James McConnell and Emily Williams said they move their vehicles every couple of hours during the work day just to avoid a ticket.
"I just paid for parking, and in 55 minutes or so, I'll come back out, and I'll circle the block and look for parking again," said McConnell, who works for Magnus Software. "I do have an alarm set right on my phone. It's an alarm that says, 'move truck!'"
Williams' company pays for six parking spots but has 40 employees.
"We park in the two-hour spots and switch our cars here and there," she said.
City leaders, pleased with the resurgence of former industrial neighborhood, are considering solutions to the parking problem.
"A lot of that is adaptive reuse of warehouse space where there wasn't a lot of parking to begin with," said Assistant City Manager Jim Green. "We have a critical need for public parking."
His office is hearing complaints from workers like McConnell who circle for blocks and fail to find a place to park.
"We’re taking away parking with construction, we need to make sure we add that parking back," he said.
"We have a critical need for public parking."
The city estimates the warehouse district needs another 300 spaces, and on Tuesday the City Council gave the go-ahead to find a partner to share the cost of building a parking deck.
Once that partner is identified, the next steps are public hearings, design and construction.
Any solution is still at least months away, but the awareness and action cheer workers now playing meter roulette.