Local News

Ticket Blizzard Buries Fayetteville Street Parkers

Posted December 5, 2007 6:09 p.m. EST
Updated December 5, 2007 10:09 p.m. EST

— A year after being reopened to traffic, Fayetteville Street has become a magnet for parking tickets.

So far this year, Park Raleigh inspectors have issued more than 2,900 tickets for cars parked on the four-block-long Fayetteville Street. Almost 1,700 of them were for parking in no-parking zones, while another 800 were for exceeding the allowed time limit in a parking space.

The total far outdistanced the number of tickets issued for parking on other downtown streets. About 2,100 tickets were issued on Wilmington Street, while 1,600 were issued on Salisbury Street.

"It's no targeting involved," said Eugene Eggleston, project manager for Park Raleigh. "It's a new area that's opened up. A lot of people want to run in, park, do what they want to do, and they violate the policy. They violate the ordinance."

Danny Nesrallah, who owns America's Pita Grill on Fayetteville Street, said he has racked up more than $450 in parking tickets.

"If you want people to come to downtown, it shouldn't be in the back of their mind (that) they have to worry about parking. It shouldn't be a problem. People should come downtown with ease," Nesrallah said.

Mayor Charles Meeker agreed that the downtown parking system needs to be improved.

A study looking at downtown parking problems, including recommendations for Fayetteville Street, is expected to be complete next spring.

Meeker said raising fines and replacing parking meters with pay stations could help.

The city is experimenting with pay stations on West Hargett Street across from City Hall over the next few months. The stations accept credit cards as well as cash.

"That high number of tickets really is ridiculous," Meeker said. "It's not just an occasional violator. It shows we have the wrong system in place. We need to make some changes."