Parking spot No. 378 once was the siren of Fayetteville Street, its oft-vacant pavement luring many a driver toward a $50 ticket. No more.
It’s one of 23 spots in Raleigh that are reserved exclusively for electric cars – a fact explained by a curbside pole sign and ignored constantly by unmindful navigators.
As The News & Observer reported in December, the troublesome spot produced seven times as many fines in a recent year as other spaces on the same block. Now a simple fix appears to be getting the message across.
On May 4, the city had the letters “EV ONLY” painted in large letters across the spot’s pavement. Since then, the rate of ticketing at the spot has decreased by more than 99 percent from its peak.
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Two years ago, the city was giving out about 81 tickets per month at spot 378. After a minor adjustment in 2013, that figure dropped by half.
And since the most recent changes two months ago, only one vehicle has been ticketed for parking in the electric-only spot. (It was a Toyota Highlander hybrid, which doesn’t qualify as electric.)
“This particular EV space has been the only one to have so many violations, due mainly to citizens frantically trying to find a parking space close to the courthouse and failing to notice the EV Only sign directly in front,” wrote Gordon Dash, the city’s parking administrator.
Dan St-Germain, a freelance driver for Uber, was the first to raise a red flag about the spot. St-Germain saw people ticketed constantly, he told the newspaper last year. In its original configuration, the spot could have generated more than $50,000 a year for the city.
“I feel a hundred percent that the city was taking advantage of the situation to generate money, which I felt was an injustice,” he said. Dash said last year that the city was simply trying to provide information without cluttering the street.
St-Germain wishes the new lettering was green, to further signify that the spot is for electric cars – but it’s an improvement, he said.
“I feel great,” he said. “We made a difference.” And left a mark on downtown Raleigh.