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Raleigh council OKs plan for more parking meters

City leaders say downtown parking will be easier with more metered spaces and higher parking meter fees.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday decided to move forward with a plan to create nearly 1,000 more metered spaces and to raise rates in an effort to help free up parking spaces in downtown.

City parking specialist Gordon Dash says that raising the number of metered spots from about 580 to 1560 will help increase turnover and benefit businesses.

The change also means rates will eventually increase this year from 50 cents an hour to $1 an hour to help pay for the expenses associated with the planned 140 meters, which would cost the city about $1.6 million. Each new meter will track five to seven spaces, the city said.

Dash said he expects the meters to pay for themselves in about two years and that future revenue from the meters would go to pay off debt for parking decks and to cover operations within the city's parking operations.

The city parking staff says they will not be asking for any additional increases in next year's budget.

"We only need the revenue to pay for the expense," Dash said.

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker says the changes will eventually make parking in downtown easier.

"Having the public understand – that is the challenge that we face," Meeker said. "The main purpose is to try to regulate parking better so customers have spaces on the street.

In November, $5 increases in parking fines went into effect. They included $20 tickets for non-safety violations, such as parking in a zone longer than allowed. Safety violations, such as parking in a restricted zone, now cost $30.

The City Council approved the new fines in June as part of its 2008-2009 budget.



Dan Bowens, Reporter
Keith Baker, Photographer
Kelly Gardner, Web Editor

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