Durham parking faces high demand, limited supply

Anthony Wilson Image
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Changes coming to parking in downtown Durham
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Changes coming to parking in downtown Durham

DURHAM, NC (WTVD) -- These are trying times for anyone who wants to park in Downtown Durham when business is brisk and traffic levels are on the rise.

"I don't like that I have to come to a restaurant and a restaurant will only have one or two parking spots right in front of it," said cyclist Abigail Thomas while taking a break at Cocoa Cinnamon with her two young children.

Not far away on Ninth Street, restaurant owner Danielle Rios smiled while discussing Durham's growth, a good thing for businesses like hers.

While she acknowledges the dislike some people feel about the parking fees in Durham she said, "It doesn't seem astronomical when you're going to cities like Charlotte, paying between five and eight dollars an hour. Or D.C., $25 an hour. We're growing!"

That's fueling the shrinking supply of available parking for people like attorney Ralph Hunt.

"Formerly it was relatively easy for us to get parking passes for our clients to come in, find places to park on the street or parking decks. It's becoming more and more difficult for them to do so," said Hunt, who has 10 attorneys and staff at his law firm dealing with the lack of available, free parking space.

That's why organizers of City Hall's series of Wednesday open house sessions for critics and supporters spent hours speaking with Durham residents who have opinions about parking.

They urged everyone with a plan or complaint to stop by before the final session at 6 p.m.

"I hope so," said Rios. "I think if people really feel that there's a negative issue, then they need to address it, and maybe a solution that they can bring to the table."

Thomas agrees.

"I think that would be great! I think that would be exciting, to go to a restaurant with my kids and not have to walk a long distance after parking," he said.

The information gathered during the public session will guide the downtown parking program during the next decade, said Parking Management Administrator Thomas Leathers.

He said City Council will get the final study results and recommendations about downtown parking plans later this summer.

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