Downtown parking facing major changes

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Submitted: Wed, 10/19/2011 - 3:06am
Updated: Wed, 10/19/2011 - 4:27pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)– Parking in downtown Wilmington is facing major changes. Fee and ticket increases will be just a few of the adjustments made to help make up for an $800,000 shortfall.

Wilmington City Council voted to change the 90 minute grace period of the parking decks on 2nd Street and Market Street to 60 minutes. Then they changed the deck fee for festival and event parking from $5 to $7.

“The point of coming down here is so you can walk up and down and enjoy the people and the places. Nobody is going to come down here if they have to pay for that,” said Wilmington visitor Forrest Drake.

One of the other major changes coming in January of 2012 will be a pay in lane at those decks. That means a ticket machine will begin collecting 24 hours a day, thus closing the loophole that currently allows for free parking when the decks are not manned for over 80 hours a week.

Also voted on and passed was the increase of parking tickets from $15 to $20 and the price of a lost ticket from $5 to $8.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” said Cecil Drake, another Wilmington visitor. “It’s like everything is going up (in price) and you don’t even have the freedom to come down and park somewhere and visit the city. I think it’s going to drive a lot of people off.”

City Council will visit extending the hours of parking meters downtown in April of next year.

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20 Comments on "Downtown parking facing major changes"

Wilmington Tax payer
2015 years 8 months ago

Here’s how you recover your money. Sue those rocket scientist who thought building another parking deck when you couldn’t even fill up the other two was a wonderful idea. I bet they’re the same ones that thought making Front Street a two way was a great idea. Oh look we can see the abandoned buildings from two directions now!

Decrease the amount of money the parking Nazi’s make off the citizens and tourist of this town. No one ever really addresses the question of how much Lanier parking is extorting from the parking downtown. Perhaps Lanier parking should pay for the upkeep of all the parking areas they dictate, including all repair work. Let’s change the profit margin for Lanier parking to a minimum amount. So there is no one really patrolling the decks now even with the “Staff” there now, so who will watch over the parking then with the machines in place. If they’re getting the same boot legged machine they have at the Second Street and Market Street lot the traffic will be backed up past Seventeenth Street.

City Counsel is yet to address why first of all anyone would want to come downtown. Harassment while parking (check), bums asking for money (check), urine filled alleys (check). The constant reminder that you’re either overpaying to park or constantly worrying about getting a parking ticket. Obviously city counsel and the “parking committee” do not own any businesses downtown. The prices at Mayfaire by the way are CHEAPER over all than downtown. Not including parking. At least at Mayfaire you can actually shop or eat without having to worry about getting a ticket.

2015 years 8 months ago

I enjoy going to the Cotton Exchange, Azaela, and the Riverfest. But as to paying for parking, WHY should I pay to park and shop or eat. I can visit other places that do not charge to park. Also, I can visit any eating place in New Hanover County and not pay to park either and can stay and enjoy my meal without worring about my vehicle. Yes it is nice to walk on the river front but who wants to be bother with drunks, bums or people who need Hotel rooms.

Lorraine A Corso
2015 years 8 months ago

It seems a shame that the city wants to inconvenience people who want to enjoy the downtown area. More people will stay away and it wont help the economy.

2015 years 8 months ago

We have an idea, how about getting rid of the meters during the day, and only enforcing them at night when the bars are open. That way, the people devastating downtown (the bar crowd) are forced to pay the fines, instead of the decent folks who patronize our businesses during the day.

Wade griffis
2015 years 8 months ago

Huckleberry had a great idea. I am sure that there are many more great ideas about downtown, but nobody on city council listens. Fix the potholes. Quit worrying about signs in windows.

Make city council park in the deck and give up their reserved parking and walk to meetings. Then Maybe, Just maybe they will start to understand.

Wade griffis
2015 years 8 months ago

Why do we need to hire an out of town parking company to walk around and check meters?

Two people could walk the downtown. I am 72 and I could do it. Absolutely, I am not applying for the job. I would get fired in the first week, because I would carry the BOOT in my backpack and would spend a lot of time on Princess St, between Front and Second.

You all know who i am talking about.

2015 years 8 months ago

Festival and event parking increase, $5 to $7 = 40% increase
Parking ticket increase, $15 to $20 = 33.3% increase
Lost ticket increase, $5 to $8 = 60% increase

So the published increases range from 33.3% to 60%. That’s a pretty stiff jump and just one more huge reason to avoid the downtown area. It just isn’t worth it to pay these outrageous fees for events, 7 dollars for a cup of lemonade and 12 dollars for a drippy sausage dog. All of that to walk around, step in dog crap and look at a bunch of cheap vendor junk? They may hang the tourists with these prices, but that’s about it. I certainly won’t support it in any fashion.

My big question is: How does the city “suddenly discover” an $800,000.00 shortfall? Over 3/4 of a MILLION bucks SHORT for parking? C’mon…one would think they would see a $10,000.00 shortfall and institute minor increases along the way that would be a lot easier for the paying public to accept, instead of dropping a bomb like this.

You guys in the city either have an extremely incompetent bean-counter or somebody(s) is stuffing their pockets so fat they can hardly walk! More than likely…both.

2015 years 8 months ago

The people that say they will not visit because of a slight parking increase are the same people who don’t spend money downtown anyway. It cost money to keep things nice and attractive for Wilmington residents and visiting tourist. If you want to visit and enjoy an area with a pleasant view, clean streets, clean sidewalks and friendly people in a safe environment (before 10pm)then you shouldn’t complain about $5 for parking. I don’t see how people who gladly spend $5 for a beer, $4 for a coffee or $20 on a steak suddenly feel taken advantage of when the City charges a parking fee. Now, if these same people argue they don’t spend money on these types of items then what is the City really loosing if they don’t come to visit?

Make it a Great Day!!

John N.

2015 years 8 months ago

“If you want to visit and enjoy an area with a pleasant view, clean streets, clean sidewalks and friendly people in a safe environment” I can do that at MayFaire for FREE!!! I WILL NOT PAY to visit dowtown…PERIOD! They can charge 20 dollars and it won’t phase me a bit!

ilm consumer
2015 years 8 months ago

If you charge to park downtown nobody is going to visit. The parking situation is bad enough already

Guest CommonTater
2015 years 8 months ago

There are so many other places to get what you want instead of a trip downtown. Seems these “officials” would be after more ways to bring folks downtown rather than run them off…. Oh well you get what you vote for!

2015 years 8 months ago

There’s two ways to balance a budget. Increase income or cut expenses. Has city council looked at trimming the fat? Also, what do organizations like ” Do It Downtown” and the small businesses downtown think of this?

2015 years 8 months ago

What, The courthouse isn’t keeping the parking decks full enough for ya? Why would anyone want to pay to park downtown? Especially in a dark and musky parking deck, only to walk down urine soaked stairwells or ride an elevator you are afraid to touch the buttons on, while looking over your shoulder in fear of getting mugged while walking two or three blocks to get to….

Downtown is a thing of the past for shoppers. Take away the courthouse and it’s an instant ghost town untill the drunks take over at night. Why would anyone want to pay to park to spend their money on overpriced merchandise anyway?

Raising the rates and fines will only reduce the number of people that go down there, then the city will have to raise taxes on everyone to cover the costs, then they’ll have to pay more consultants to tell them where they went wrong and more consultants to tell them how to try and fix it.

Justin LaNasa
2015 years 8 months ago

City council should make on street parking FREE for 1 or 2 hours while someone chalks tires and writes tickets on the streets. Charging a little more in the parking decks but running the decks 24 /7. Its just poor leadership/spending/management that’s all.
Thank you YFM Justin LaNAsa

Downtown merchant
2015 years 8 months ago

You can raise rates slightly and still help the downtown economy. But before doing so, the pork and people’s special interests that are insignificant needs to be trimmed from the budget. Also, if rates are raised, discounted rates & passes should be given to downtown business owners, managers and help who must park there.

2015 years 8 months ago

Yes you can visit Mayfaire; however, what you are save in parking you spend on the inflated prices for food, movies, clothing etc in the stores. You can’t argue the view/downtown experience is comparable to the boardwalk, river, battleship etc so don’t even try. Sounds like people are complaining just to complain.

BTW. I live beside Mayfaire but I do enjoy going downtown on weekend mornings. I don’t mind $5-$10 for the experience. Also the young people who spend tons of money on drinks and food downtown aren’t going to stop going because parking is now going to equal the price for one or two more drinks.

2015 years 8 months ago

yeah john, you can have the attitude of being able to get away with it. (I think perhaps you dont understand the younger crowd mindset and behaviors either. so consider this.. )

BUT.. if they (customers) are unhappy about parking fees (and not telling you or you having no way to monitor and find out customer satisfaction) does this create more hidden trouble?

ie: will they become less respectful and likely to trash the place rather than take care of it because they like it? and dont get the feel of being nickle and dimed to death.?
It (charge more anyways attitude) only works until alternatives options open up – like Mayfaire. Youre risking building up resentment until it explodes at a later time.

Dont you want to create an enjoyable environment for return visits and a create a good mental memory for the people who DO come downtown?

People love going to Mayfaire because its free and easy to park there – not to mention new and fresh as well. And thats where theyd rather spend a ‘little more money’ – because its LESS negatives of a hassel ruining the experience of an enjoyable evening out.. away from the daily stresses of life these days.

The tourist crowd is not enough to support the downtown business all week. You need the locals as well who already know about and have seen the views.

Justin LaNasa
2015 years 8 months ago

No, we all don’t know who you are talking about.

Wade Griffis
2015 years 8 months ago

I am downtown every morning- early. I intend to come to your shop someday and tell you excatly who I am talking about.

I have been favorbly inclined toward your run.

It will have to be midday, since that is when you open up. I do not need a tatto of Madonna on my A–., but, I might (at the age of 72) like to have a picture of the mayor on there, since that is where he belongs.

Justin LaNasa
2015 years 8 months ago

Would you like a portrait of current Saffo on your rear?