Local News

The Meter is Running on Free Parking in Durham

Posted April 6, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— In an effort to curb crime and noise inDurham, visitors and residents of the Bull City will now have to pay to park downtown.

City Manager Lamont Ewell wants to charge people to park downtown at night. He says the additional revenue would help offset the cost of increased security that is needed downtown because of all the nightclubs and hot spots in the area.

The two organizations most impacted by the change are likely to be theCarolina Theatreand theDurham Bullswith all of the team's nighttime games.

Of all the nighttime activities available in the Triangle, a Durham Bulls game is a pretty inexpensive option. Tickets are cheap and parking is free, for now.

The Bulls support the move to charge for parking but hope it does not cut too deeply into fans' wallets.

"We'd like to see it be as low as possible, not only for the Bulls and the Carolina Theatre, but as more entertainment forms move into downtown and people are just trying to attract more business to downtown," said Peter Anlyan, general manager of the Durham Bulls.

"If it gets expensive, that's going to be a deterrent to people doing any sort of business down here, when they can go out to the outlying areas and park for free," Anlyan said.

Steve Martin from the Carolina Theatre said he also supports the decision to charge people for parking.

"Enhancing that perception of safety down here will bring more business than a parking fee might lose, but we also want to make sure that it's not a huge burden on the people who come," said Martin.

Martin said a fee of $5 or $6 would be too much for his patrons. He hopes the charge is closer to 50 cents an hour or something in that neighborhood.

Those who will have to pay are willing to do it as long as it is not too much.

"As long as it's reasonable, not outrageous or something. Maybe $1.50 or $2.00 or something like that wouldn't bother me a bit," said Bulls fan Carol Holleman.

The City Council would have to approve the City Manager's proposal before the fees would take effect.

The whole pay for parking issue stems from violence at "The Power Company," a night club next to a city parking deck.