Wake County

You might soon have a new way to pay when you park in downtown Raleigh

Drivers pay for on-street parking in downtown Raleigh on Aug. 17, 2018.
Drivers pay for on-street parking in downtown Raleigh on Aug. 17, 2018. ajohnson@newsobserver.com

Ever had to run out mid-lunch to feed the parking meter in downtown Raleigh? It may soon be a thing of the past.

Drivers who park downtown may be able to pay for on-street parking through a mobile app, and they would be notified if they were about to run out of time on the meter. Then they could add more time from the app without walking back to a pay station.

The Raleigh City Council will consider the idea during a meeting Tuesday.

People have been able pay for on-street parking on Hillsborough Street using the PassportParking app since 2016. The app has been used on N.C. State University’s campus since 2015.

The Hillsborough Street area has 31 pay stations, and about 15 percent of payments have gone through the app.

Max Palmer, who was unloading his music gear to play at Isaac Hunter’s Tavern on Fayetteville Street on Friday night, said he knows the struggles of finding on-street parking downtown. He said he would rather pay through an app instead of using cash or a credit or debit card.

“Make downtown more bike friendly, and that would eliminate the need for the app or parking spots,” Palmer said.

Jessica Williams said she worked at Chick-fil-A on Fayetteville Street for more than a year, and she often had to park on the street.

“An app would be awesome,” she said. “If you’re in a meeting it takes you at least 10 minutes to get down the elevator to feed the meter.”

Raleigh leaders will also consider adding 12 on-street handicap-accessible parking spots, the first of their kind for the city..

The locations for these spots were picked because they are close to places of interest, including government, education, recreation and medical offices and are near the end of metered zones. That means they are closest to the curb, making it easier for people to exit a vehicle on the passenger side or through the rear of a vehicle.

Other major cities in North Carolina have on-street handicap-accessible parking, said Mark Ezzell, adding that Raleigh’s proposal sounded like a good first step.

“I use a wheelchair and try to go downtown if I can find a place to park, and that is not always an easy thing to do,” Ezzell said.

Parking garages have several handicap-accessible spaces. But city staff have received numerous complaints about the lack of on-street parking that is accessible to wheelchairs.

“Handicap on-street accessible parking spaces will be located at the shortest and safest distance to access the public sidewalk,” according to the city manager’s report to council members. “The proposed spaces will need proper handicap signage but little to no infrastructure changes will need to be made at this time.”

Here are the proposed locations:

  • 300 block of West Hargett Street, space 185

  • 200 block of Fayetteville Street, space 352

  • 400 block of Fayetteville Street, space 400

  • 100 block of East Davie Street, space 324

  • 200 block of South McDowell Street, space 249

  • 0 block of West Martin Street, space 501

  • 100 block of West Jones Street, space 306

  • 0 block of West Edenton Street, space 266

  • 200 block of East Hargett Street, space 259

  • 100 block of South Wilmington Street, space 114

  • 200 block of South West Street, space 259

  • 100 block of West Lane Street, space 375
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