The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 3rd

Carrboro Board of Aldermen lift early morning parking ban

Just because the Carrboro partier goes home at 3 a.m. doesn’t mean his car has to.

At the Board of Aldermen meeting last week, members lifted a ban on early morning parking in town lots that was implemented last June.

The ban prohibited any parking in town lots from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m.

Alderman Damon Seils said some residents were concerned the ban was encouraging an increase in drunken driving.

“We’ve heard that a number of people in the community were concerned that (the ban) might lead some people, rather than risk getting a ticket, to get in their car when they shouldn’t be driving,” Seils said.

The vote to repeal the ban received unanimous support from the board.

“We did it very quickly, we didn’t even spend a lot of time discussing it,” Seils said.

The board also examined other parking issues that continue to affect Carrboro residents and businesses.

The aldermen have been looking at its supply of parking since September when seven cars were towed during the Carrboro Music Festival.

The board discussed a study it initiated last November. The study will determine what the town can do to increase the number of parking spaces in the area.

Alderman Jacquelyn Gist said the timeline for the study is still relatively vague, and it will not begin until later this year.

Alderman Sammy Slade said the board is putting together a request for proposals in order to begin searching for a group of consultants to perform the study.

The board also plans to discuss each member’s more specific goals for the future of parking in Carrboro.

“It was decided that we’re going to have a work session to discuss what our philosophy is on parking downtown,” Slade said.

Slade said his personal philosophy on town parking involves a focus on reducing carbon emissions that cause climate change. He said this could be accomplished by encouraging the use of alternative transportation, which would also free more parking spaces.

“We are a car-dependent culture,” Slade said. “We should be looking for ways to use alternatives to cars to the degree that it doesn’t hurt access to the downtown businesses.”

Gist also said the way in which parking affects Carrboro businesses should be emphasized.

Gist held a parking summit on Jan. 31 for local business owners to develop a way for businesses with different hours of operation to share lots.

“It pulled them together to talk about ways of sharing parking,” Gist said.

Gist said she thinks the main problem is not a lack of parking space, but a lack of awareness of the availability of certain lots. The Hampton Inn and Suites in Carrboro offers 300 parking spaces where anyone can park for two hours for free. Gist said these spaces are a resource that too few people are taking advantage of.

“We actually have close to plenty of parking, but one of the issues is that nobody knows where it is,” Gist said.

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