Local News

Valet Zones Make Downtown Parking More Difficult

Posted February 9, 2008 12:13 a.m. EST

— Finding a parking space in downtown Raleigh has always taken patience and persistence. But the limited on-street parking spaces are dwindling as more restaurants reserve areas for valet parking.

Downtown restaurants aren't required to offer valet parking, but city regulations allow those that do to set aside three or four prime parking spots near their doors. People who park in those spots without using the valet service could get their cars towed.

About a year ago, the city established some rules and regulations for businesses offering valet parking. City Manager Russell Allen said it was to increase convenience and safety for downtown patrons.

Still, some drivers expressed frustration at the growing difficulty in finding a place to park when the come downtown on a weekend evening.

"It took me two or three times around the block," driver Randy Jackson said. "The last time I was down here, they didn't have (valet zones). It was just a lot easier, and I could park my big truck."

Other drivers welcomed growth in valet parking.

"The valet parking is phenomenal," downtown resident Jack Glasure said. "Having free valet parking makes it really easier for my guests when they come in to eat dinner with me during the weekends."

Mayor Charles Meeker said valet parking is part of the economic engine driving prosperity downtown.

"Valet parking really has helped," Meeker said. "It's sort of a mixed blessing. On one hand, it's three or four spaces (taken up) in front of a restaurant. On the other hand, it takes 20 to 30 cars off the street and into the (parking) deck, where they may otherwise might be parking on the street."