"There is just fundamentally not enough structured parking spaces," said one city planner hosting the meeting.
Tuesday evening's meeting, held at the Raleigh Convention Center for business owners and the public, was meant to introduce the idea of proposed changes coming Fall 2019.
Here are the proposed changes by the City of Raleigh:
- Current metered parking ($1.00-$1.25/hour, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon-Fri)
- Proposed metered parking ($1.25-$1.50/hour, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon-Fri)
- Current parking deck rates ($2/hour, $12 daily maximum)
- Proposed parking deck rates ($1.50/hour for first 4 hours, $2/hour until max, $14 daily maximum)
- Current special event rate ($7.00 flat rate)
- Proposed special event rate ($10.00 flat rate)
- Current lost ticket rate ($12.00)
- Proposed lost ticket rate ($25.00)
Flat rate parking after 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday will not see a change. In Fall 2020, the city is looking to increase metered rates again to $1.50-$2.00 per hour and may begin charging for Saturday parking.
The City said the goal is to increase metered parking turnover and encourage more visitors to take advantage of the parking decks. They also believe their proposal will discourage what they believe is long-term parking abuse and make it easy for people to park for special events.
"We have the opportunity to be forward-thinking on as a city and learn from the mistakes and successes of other cities with a similar growth pattern that we're having now," said Caitlyn Goalen with Ashley Christensen Restaurants. "I just really hope the city will consider new ideas and innovative ideas that will solve these problems."
For others, like Paul Siler, who owns Garland, King's, and Neptunes, the dilemma is challenging.
He feels the population growth downtown grew at a faster pace than what the city predicted and could keep up with.
Parking in front of his businesses, which all share the same building, comes at a heavy premium.
"You get here, you drop off, whoever's with them they go to the reservation and then the person driving takes 15 minutes to find a space," Siler said. "They're very annoyed and then late for the reservation. It's just -- it's a process."
For Portia Taylor, of Durham, who was enjoying a Tuesday evening in downtown Raleigh with friend Steven Drayton, the proposal is enough to change her behavior for enjoying the area for leisure.
"It's going to make certain people not come down for sure," she said. "I've actually come down here after 5 looking for that free parking space because I know reliably I'll be able to get it," Drayton added.
There will be another parking meeting on Wednesday at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Hampton Inn & Suites Glenwood South.
Wednesday's meeting will address parking challenges in the Glenwood South District.