Local News

Raleigh Mayor to Call for City Parking Overhaul

Posted January 19, 2007 6:33 p.m. EST
Updated January 19, 2007 8:22 p.m. EST

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker is expected to call for an overhaul of the city's current downtown-parking system during his State of the City address next week.

“One of the issues: Should there be paid parking on the best spots on the street right in front of the stores and free or less-expensive parking short-term in the parking decks?” Meeker said.

That was a recommendation of national parking expert, Dr. Donald Shoup, who was recently in Raleigh for a lecture on the price of free parking.

Meeker wants to hire a consultant to study downtown-parking issues, such as who should enforce any new rules.

He also wants to appoint a citizens group to work with the consultant on ideas and develop a parking commission, similar to the city's current planning commission.

In a developing downtown, there are also drivers such as Meredith Ellis, who complain there is nowhere to park.

“I kind of dreaded coming down here today to get something because I knew it wouldn't be a quick process,” she said Friday.

The mayor cringes at that perception.

Right now, there are 41,000 parking spots downtown. He believes managing them better is key to a welcoming and successful downtown.

Meeker hopes a consultant's report could be complete in the next five months. He wants the City Council to start making changes by fall.

The mayor's State of the City address is scheduled for noon Monday at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts.