Local News

Raleigh Asks State For Help With Downtown Parking

Posted August 2, 2006 6:55 a.m. EDT

— One city leader is asking the state of North Carolina to consider allowing public access to its private parking lots and parking decks.

Signs currently indicate public parking is prohibited and that towing is enforced, because state policy does not allow non-employees to use the spaces. But after business hours and on weekends, most spaces sit empty.

"There is a need for it on weekends," said Raleigh Councilwoman Joyce Kekas.

Kekas believes it is wasted space and wants the state to do what the city already does: open its parking lots and parking decks to the public after hours and on holidays for free.

She believes it is a way to bring more patrons to the downtown area.

Right now, state policy does not allow non-employees to use the lots. Although it is not permitted, the state realizes some patrons are using them anyway.

For that reason, the state may consider changing the rules, and has said that it is receptive to working with the city.

Raleigh would like new signs posted in the parking lots that say it is OK to park there during non-business hours.

State worker Betsy Thomas said she thinks that if that happens, the parking lots could be trashed with items such as "beer bottles, drink cups -- things left in the parking lot," she said.

That is a common complaint among private lot owners. The city, however, said it is worth pursuing to open up several thousand additional parking spots downtown.

Outside of the state parking spots, several new parking decks are under construction. For example, city leaders estimate an additional 10,000 parking spots within one block of Fayetteville Street by 2009.