The Carrboro Board of Aldermen met Tuesday night to discuss the growing parking deficit in the town and the site of a potential branch library on town property.
Board members said Carrboro is attractive to many of its patrons because of free parking, but more people are visiting, leaving little room left for parking.
Three engineering consultants proposed studies to the board, researching ways to move forward with a parking project.
The firms proposed plans with different emphases on bike and bus transportation and paid parking, which was a controversial issue with the board.
Board members had concerns about how the firms’ plans would affect the town’s small businesses and how their plans would cater to the event-driven culture of Carrboro.
Board member Randee Haven-O’Donnell raised questions about Carrboro patrons’ dependency on the Chapel Hill Transit routes and how it restricts people from coming out on weekends.
“We want them to come out Friday and Saturday nights for dinner, because this is their hometown,” Haven-O’Donnell said.
The most notable topic of discussion was the importance of keeping public parking free of charge to the visitors of Carrboro. Jacquelyn Gist, aldermen member, said downtown Chapel Hill businesses suffer due to paid parking.
“I think for most of us, paying for parking is not an option,” Gist said. “We have seen what paid parking has done to downtown Chapel Hill, just walk down Franklin Street and ask them why their businesses are in trouble.”
The other main item on the agenda for the meeting was the discussion of the site selection for the Southern Branch Library near Town Hall.
The board resolved to consider what the site can bear as far as combined uses and how Orange County would like to move forward with the project.
Town Manager David L. Andrews said parking and transportation are main issues for Carrboro to consider.
“The county is well aware that we would have to address parking,” Andrews said.
The Carrboro Board of Aldermen and the Orange County Board of Commissioners will meet on October 15 to further discuss the site location of the Southern Branch library.
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