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Public parking forum addresses Carrboro residents' concerns

public parking forum Thursday at Carrboro Elementary School took into account the opinions of the public regarding the current parking situation in downtown Carrboro.

VHB engineering, a consulting firm working with the town of Carrboro, and town staff are gathering thoughts and ideas from the public to see how they feel about the current parking setup. 

Transportation planner Bergen Watterson explained how important the opinion of the public is to a situation like public parking

"It is these people that are doing the parking, not us. We don't have feet on the ground all the time," she said. "It's always important to get the public's opinion. I mean these are the people, to be cliche, who 'live, work and play' in Carrboro."

The project is currently in a trial period, in which the main priority is to collect general data from the public to come to a general conclusion that will lead town leaders of Carrboro to a solution.

"We've got to collect the data in order to make recommendations, that's why we've got the consultants doing that," Watterson said. 

The major project goals include engaging citizens, identifying parking challenges, estimating a future parking demand and seeking an overall transportation balance.

"Right now we're just gathering and trying to find out information," said Meg Bryson, marketing assistant at VHB. "It's not a conclusion we're jumping to — to expand the parking — but maybe we need to expand which lots are being used at which times so that everyone that needs a place to park at that time has a spot that's convenient." 

Carrboro resident Adrienne Jimenez said she thinks there is more of a lack of knowledge about the spots that are available, rather that an actual lack of parking spaces. 

"Sometimes if you know where some lots are, like there are some lots on West Weaver Street, it's often open at the times the other lots are not open," Jimenez said. "There is minimal and sometimes on the weekends and after-hours there's plenty, but mostly in Carrboro around the days and times you want to be downtown, it's minimal because everyone else wants to be there too."

One idea that Jimenez proposed is giving Carrboro parking a brand.

"It's not so much that it's not well-known, it's just that people don't know to look for the icon or the signs," she said. "We need to advertise and tell people where to park, but the way we should advertise is to brand the parking and make those unknown spaces known."


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