Another rule change to Raleigh's downtown parking

RALEIGH Thousands of people last year got tickets for parking too far from the curb, even though many cars were still sitting within the outside lines painted by the city.

"You'd think that the line on the outside would be what counts," Raleigh resident Dale Thomas said.

But cars parked more than 12 inches from the curb added got a $20 ticket.

"I was within the white lines, I always park within the white lines," downtown Raleigh employee Marcus Scott said. "To me, it means that you are in compliance with the parking situation, so for them to ticket you is just ridiculous."

Complaints snowballed last year as officers wrote 4,000 12-inch tickets - up from only 400 tickets in 2008.

So many were outraged that Raleigh's city council has stepped in to declare no curb tickets if cars are still in the white painted box.

"Well, the Council has done the common sense thing," Mayor of Raleigh Charles Meeker said.

However, some still wonder why the city increased 12-inch tickets by 1,000 percent in just one year?

"It's about the money," Scott said. "It's about the money."

The City says it's not about the money, but Raleigh's parking budget is also stressed.

Two new parking decks have come online and they're nearly empty, because office tower occupancy has stalled due to the recession.

So, the City has to pay the debt on the parking decks, but without the expected revenues.

"From the Council's perspective, the purpose of the parking rules is to make parking available and to make it safe," Meeker said. "It's not to raise revenue."

But new meter signs are also up. And pay stations are under wraps, but in the works.

"I think it's a money maker, but I guess they have to make their money some kind of way," Scott said.

Soon everyone will pay to park in a deck or on the street.

Parking officials say there are no retroactive pardons with the new rule.

Before Tuesday, if you got a ticket for parking too far from the curb and were still within the white lines you're out of luck, but you can appeal it.

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