The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday December 3rd

Parking ?nes rake in $220K for Chapel Hill

Most people familiar with Chapel Hill parking difficulties wouldn’t be surprised to hear the town brings in almost a quarter of a million dollars every year in parking fines alone.

Brenda Jones, the town’s parking superintendent, said the Chapel Hill collected $221,000 in fines and another $30,000 in late fees last year.

Price of parking

$221,000: collected by Chapel Hill in parking fines last year
$30,000: collected by Chapel Hill in late fees last year
$100,000: Chapel Hill’s estimated 2014 parking services budget deficit

Jones said a majority of these tickets are written to vehicles parked on East and West Franklin Street.

Nathan Babcock, who graduated from UNC in 2001, received a parking ticket in July while visiting the University.

Babcock said he was parked outside of Sutton’s Drug Store when he received his ticket.

“It had been a while since I had been in Chapel Hill,” he said. “I forgot there was a meter on Saturdays.”

But thanks to the Chapel Hill Parking Division’s courtesy ticket program, a person’s first ticket on a street meter will be waived.

Even though the town collected more than $250,000 in parking fees and fines, it’s still not enough to cover its growing parking costs.

In its fiscal year 2014, the town estimated an almost $100,000 budget deficit in its parking services division

The town’s parking fund has been running a deficit since fiscal year 2011 after it lost a parking lot during the construction of the mixed-use development 140 West. The division’s other operating costs have increased while its revenues have largely been flat.

For many students, their parking woes stem from limited on-campus parking.

Ashley Webster , a UNC junior, has received multiple tickets during her time in Chapel Hill.

She has received two tickets on Stadium Drive, one of which was when she was visiting a friend last summer. Webster said some of her tickets were written when her car was illegally parked for only a few minutes.

“When I lived in Parker dorm, I’d park in front and run up to my room and grab something,” she said. “When I came back I’d have a ticket.”

Webster said she would prefer if there was more parking available to students.

Jones said while the town doesn’t manage on-campus parking, there are plans for a new parking deck coming to University Square.

As for the rest of Chapel Hill, Jones said there is a 16-space lot on Rosemary Street that rarely fills up and the meters in the town are usually not occupied. She said parking problems cannot always be attributed to a lack of space.

“I don’t know that the problem is that we don’t have enough parking,” Jones said. “It may just be that it’s not advertised well enough.”

city@dailytarheel.com

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