Controversial Raleigh parking fees begin this weekend

Raleigh is about to charge to park downtown on the weekend evenings. (WNCN)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – his Friday marks not only a New Year but also the beginning of new parking fees for anyone parking in city decks in downtown Raleigh.

The city wants to make sure people know about these new fees. There are signs out in front of city decks right now, with the costs being $5 starting at 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. The fee lasts until 7 a.m.

This is an issue where people remain divided.

Jordan Weber, who opposes the fees, said, “Of course, I don’t want to pay it.”

But Ashley Simms, who works downtown, said, “anything to keep the city clean, I’m all for it.”

It’s no secret downtown Raleigh is a destination. And to get there, drivers often have to park.

“The first thing that people see when they come downtown are the parking decks and it’s the last impression that they’re going to have when they leave,” said Gordon Dash, the Raleigh parking administrator.

Dash said that over time the decks have needed more maintenance. And, especially after weekend nights, some people leave a mess behind. Dash said the continuing problems would lead to people not wanting to come downtown.

To pay for that maintenance, the city will now start charging a $5 fee starting at 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

That concerns some people, who feel like the new fees may dampen the enthusiasm for going downtown.

“People are going to come downtown less and we’re just going to lose attraction to downtown essentially,” said Jenna Bowman.

Business owners downtown have raised similar concerns.

But Cathy Smith, who supports the fee, said, “I think it’s a great idea.  I think that this town needs to stay clean.”

The fee takes effect Friday, but the city has talked about it for months.

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