Local News

Raleigh Switches To 'Kinder' Parking Enforcement; Not Everyone Agrees

Posted August 8, 2005 6:57 a.m. EDT

— City leaders hope a change in on-street parking enforcement will help Raleigh's parking reputation, but some downtown store owners and patrons say that so far the situation has not improved.

Last week, the city switched to a three-year contract with Central Parking, which also operates in Durham, Charlotte and Wilmington. The decision was an economical one, leaders said, but that with a new firm change, there is also an opportunity for downtown Raleigh's parking enforcement to become kinder and gentler.

But just one week into the new contract, some downtown businesses have their doubts.

"In the past week, I have noticed more of my customers have had parking tickets," said Brian Ownbey, owner of Father and Sons Antique Store.

Ownbey said the new meter readers are more aggressive than ever before on Hargett Street, where his store has been located for eight years.

"It could be the other group wasn't as focused on one area," said Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen.

Allen said good customer service does not mean they will not write tickets.

"When I say friendly and using good judgment, I mean if somebody is standing there ready to put money in the meter, you'd not give them a ticket," he said.

As Allen receives feedback, he said he would share it with the new company.

Ownbey said he already has stories to share.

Christen Christian, a customer at Ownbey's store, got a ticket while she was shopping. The ticket said she was parked in the space for 16 minutes, but it was a 30-minute parking zone.

Other customers were ticketed just minutes after their time expired.

"They are watching you like hawks," Christian said. "It's very disappointing."