Contrary to popular belief, Carrboro has plenty of parking — spots just aren't particularly accessible.
According to a study presented at the Carrboro Board of Aldermen meeting on Feb. 21, on a typical weekday, Carrboro has a surplus of 1,281 spaces downtown. Only 236 of these spaces are public.
Carrboro Board of Aldermen member Sammy Slade said that it is not uncommon to hear complaints about parking in downtown Carrboro.
“We hear about complaints often, mostly not people coming to the Board of Aldermen, but personally when I am in town, I hear perceptions of there being a lack of parking,” Slade said.
The board was worried about the need to build a parking deck or more lots due to public concern. The study concluded that the town does not need to construct additional public parking spaces in the next five to 10 years.
“It’s very good to know that we won’t be having to invest in a parking deck any time in the near future,” Slade said. “Through facilitating sharing of parking and further advancing alternative forms of transportation, we can push that way into the future.”
Slade said the board heard various recommendations from staff and learned that one way they can help is to facilitate sharing parking with downtown private lot owners.
“A lot of signage on the private lots says no parking, so when businesses close, those lots are empty at night,” Slade said. “It is a matter of developing relationships with businesses.”
Chapel Hill resident Miriam Lieberman said it's not easy to park in Carrboro most of the time, especially on weekends.
“There is a huge lot past the fire stations that is always empty, and it is so ridiculous that we can’t park there,” Lieberman said.
She said the town should let people park in the various unused lots around town.
“I have family who lives in Carrboro and we have to park on the street while that lot sits there unused," Lieberman said.
The study concluded that the most difficult time to park in Carrboro is from 6 to 9 p.m. During this time, however, private parking lots are only 39 percent occupied.
UNC sophomore Rachael Head said she believes that parking in Carrboro can be difficult.
“I think they should make a plan to make the parking accessible to more people, or get more information out to people so they know where they can park,” Head said.
Potential strategies proposed by town staff are regulatory signage improvements, lighting and sidewalk improvements, time-limited parking options, shared parking arrangements between businesses and an annual data collection program to count parked vehicles.
Slade said the board is still in the process of finalizing solutions for the parking problem. After receiving advisory board feedback on their recommendations, the board will hold an open public hearing on April 25, so residents can give feedback.
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