Southwest Wake News

Fuquay-Varina sets new downtown parking rules

New parking restrictions for Fuquay-Varina’s downtown Varina district went into effect earlier this month, thanks to the area’s frugal teens.

Fuquay-Varina High School students were parking in downtown and walking to school so they could avoid paying for on-campus parking.

Now, there will be a two-hour limit on the lot the students park in. Officials are looking into a similar limit for on-street parking in the Varina district, which is home to Aviator Brewing Company’s many bars. Rules won’t change for the Fuquay district, which hasn’t experienced the same problems.

The town will grant violators a brief grace period and will put fliers on cars to let people know of the new rules. After that, violators will be given a $10 ticket that will rise to $25 if not paid within 10 days.

“Towing is also an option but not the preferred method of enforcement,” Town Manager Adam Mitchell said. “Habitual offenders are more likely to be subject to towing.”

Town leaders said they previously reached out to school administrators and asked them to tell young people not to park in downtown, but the warning had no effect.

“These spaces are meant for businesses,” Mayor John Byrne said.

The students’ parking habits meant that many downtown parking spots – particularly in the lot at the corner of Broad and Fayetteville streets – were occupied from early morning until mid-afternoon. Would-be shoppers and diners had to fight over a shrinking amount of spots, or simply leave.

On Nov. 2, when the town board passed the new rules, several teenagers were in attendance. Fuquay High students were there to watch and take notes for homework.

“Perhaps our friends here from the civics class can help spread the word,” Mitchell said.

The students giggled.

Doran: 919-460-2604; Twitter: @will_doran