But Chapel Hill Town Manager Cal Horton said there is no need for new public parking downtown because existing lots have plenty of open spaces daily.
"There is no proposal to expand public parking at this time, nor is there a clearly demonstrated need," he said.
Some students, like junior biology major Mark Dodson, disagree, claiming they have to resort to illegal measures just to park on Franklin Street. "I always find myself parking in illegal spots," he said.
Dan Hunt, manager of the Trail Shop at 308 W. Franklin St., said the inconvenient lot locations contribute to illegal parking on Franklin Street. "You can always find parking in the deck, but people are lazy and don't want to walk the five blocks, and that's a development issue on the town's part," Hunt said.
The town manages four large public lots and two smaller lots in the Franklin Street area. The two smaller lots, which collectively can accommodate less than 36 cars, and the parking deck located on Rosemary Street, which has 50 available parking spots, are leased out privately.
Dennis Erny, general manager of Granville Towers, said he thinks students and residents often park illegally because there is a limited amount of easily accessible parking on Franklin Street.
Erny also said he disagrees with the practice of leasing spaces in public lots to private companies. Half of the town's third lot, at West Franklin and Church streets, is used for public parking, and the other is leased by a local company.
"If the city is trying to alleviate parking problems, than why are they renting (public lots) out?" Enry asked.
With limited options, some people take their chances and park in reserved areas. But Horton said people cannot park in clearly marked private lots without consequences, though he understands that confusion can occur. "People at night assume they can park, and they get nailed," he said. "I do think it is unfair."
Towing currently is not regulated in Chapel Hill, but an ad hoc committee is being charged to assess the situation.
Some people are glad the parking problems are being addressed. Chris Yontz, a 2001 graduate from Charlotte, said his car was towed from a private lot in Carrboro last spring. "There were no signs up, so I thought it was OK to park," he said. "If there were more places to park downtown I wouldn't have had to go there in the first place."
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