Fayetteville To Begin Parking Enforcement

LENIENCY TO BE LIFTED FRIDAY

— Motorists have only one more day of leniency when it comes to paid parking in the area of Dickson Street.

The elaborate system of paid parking implemented by the city government on Aug. 16 has largely operated without parking enforcement officers citing motorists who go over on their time in the on-street or parking lot spaces.

The leniency was intended to give motorists time to get used to the new paid parking system, but Sharon Waters, parking and telecommunications manager, said enforcement officers will get the go-ahead to start writing tickets on Friday.

WEB WATCH

Parking Map

For an interactive map of the parking in the Dickson Street entertainment district and downtown go to, http://www.nwaonline.com/faypark/

“On Friday night, if they don’t pay for their parking, they’re going to get a parking ticket,” Waters told newspaper, radio and television reporters Wednesday at a city-initiated tour of the paid parking system.

Until this month, the public parking lots on and around the Dickson Street entertainment district were free. But the administration of Mayor Lioneld Jordan proposed a paid parking plan designed to fund enforcement and raise money that may eventually be used to build a parking deck on or near Dickson Street. The City Council adopted the plan in June.

The parking program will also provide some annual revenue to the Walton Arts Center, an institution whose customer parking needs have in large part driven development of the new parking system.

Waters used the tour to explain equipment features, and also limitations. For example, the walk-up pay stations for on-street parking do not give change. The pay station at the exit gate of the large Walton Arts Center lot at the corner of Dickson Street and West Avenue only accepts credit card payments. However, the walk-up pay station inside the Walton Arts Center or under the shelter in the lot will accept cash. Motorists have 20 minutes to return to their cars and exit the lot after paying.

The lot equipment also provides a 15-minute grace period after a car enters during which the driver can exit without being charged.

In October, the Walton Arts Center will launch its reservation program for the West Avenue lot. That program will give arts center patrons attending certain events an opportunity to reserve a parking space before arriving. The city will set aside 50 spaces in the lot for the reservation program. The equipment will indicate “lot full” if the lot reaches its capacity minus the 50 spaces, but arts center patrons with reservations will be allowed to enter when they scan a reservation code printed from their home computer into the parking gate equipment.

The Walton Arts Center will charge a premium for those reservations. Waters said the rate is expected to be $10 to $20 depending on the popularity of that evening’s show. The city will be paid the $5 per space it normally would earn on the spaces.

“They’ll work together with the city to work out the amount,” Waters said.

The new paid parking plan seems to be showing mixed results and popularity. Nighttime parking is still busy, but on Wednesday afternoon, the gated lots were at least 90 percent empty. At 3 p.m. Spring Street between Block and West avenues had one car parked on it.

Two college students walking by the media tour pointed to the lots and said their emptiness showed the parking effort was a failure.

Waters and Terry Gulley, Fayetteville’s transportation services director, said the City Council will revisit the parking program’s specifics in three months and make necessary modifications. Waters said it’s possible the city may tinker with daytime parking policies then. Until then, the city will gather data on the use of the paid spaces.

“We’ll look at the day rates. We’ll look at the occupancy rates, and see what we need to do,” Waters said.

“We’ll give all that information to the council and let them decide where they want to go,” said Terry Gulley, Fayetteville transportation services director.

Upcoming Events