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Raleigh Officials May Ease Parking Enforcement

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Parking Meter
RALEIGH, N.C. — Some people worry that the city of Raleigh is sending the wrong message to visitors who park downtown. Complaints of aggressive parking enforcement forced city council members to take a second look at the way it does business.

"The bottom line is to provide best service possible," city councilman James West said.

Affiliated Computer Services has been managing off street parking enforcement for the last four years. During that time, the collection rate has dropped 10 percent.

However, Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said the real problem is in customer service. A proposed change in the parking policy may help curb meter stalking by overzealous parking companies and give downtown visitors a little more leeway.

"There's not going to be strict enforcement if you're a few minutes late. We'll have a grace period for people," Meeker said.

ACS representative Betsy Justice said the company will follow the city's lead.

"Our goal is to be the best at customer service as a company," she said.

Councilmembers plan to take things a step further. Rather than extend ACS's contract, they will open the bidding to other companies. Their goal is to encourage downtown visitors, not drive them away.

The current parking contract gives companies an incentive to write more tickets. Meeker hopes to do away with that policy as well. The full council will vote on the measure next week. If it passes, the new policy will go into effect in July.


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