CARRBORO — Carrboro town officials met all day Friday with local business people and other concerned citizens to find, at least, some short-term solutions to Carrboro’s public parking shortage.
“We all need parking,” says Cliff Collins, owner of Cliff’s Meat Market in Carrboro for more then 40 years.“We all need to share.”
Collins was one of several business owners that attended at least one of three Parking Summit sessions at the Century Center on Friday. The focus was on employee parking.
After one session, Alderman Michelle Johnson said she heard a lot of citizens complain that the parking downtown is barely adequate for people working there. She said that’s a potential turnoff to people who’d like to shop and dine there.
“The biggest concern is if employees are taking up [all the] parking,” she said.
Nathan Milian, manager of Carr Mill Mall, attended all three sessions. Milian said he liked a lot of the ideas he heard Friday, including shared spaces, park-and-ride lots, and the use of shuttles. He also thinks the days of free parking in Carrboro may be finished.
“I think all the ideas are good and viable,” he said. “I think it’s probably going to take a combination of all of them. But there’s a cost involved in it. And that’s one of the reasons I don’t see a way around having to go to paid parking.”
Economic & Community Development Director Annette Stone was a moderator at the summit. She said it may be time for the small Town of Carrboro to view parking more like people in Raleigh and Durham see it.
“Folks are routinely used to parking in a deck somewhere in downtown Raleigh and walking several blocks to where they need to be,” says Stone. “It’s just the growing pains of a vibrant downtown, like we have.”
Stone said the town will look over all of the suggestions presented on Friday, and come up with a presentation soon for the Board of Aldermen.