8July 1, 2021 marked the beginning of paid parking in downtown Fayetteville. Original enforcement times were Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. This also marked a time when the country was in lockdown in an effort to control COVID-19 cases. The city council was meeting virtually and with the lockdown and slow traffic around town, it seemed to be a manageable enforcement time. Once the lockdown was lifted and life in the city and the country started to return to outside and indoor spaces, the decision by the city council soon raised issues with residents clamoring to be a part of some sort of normalcy.
9 a.m. to 9 p.m. did not work for a now bustling downtown. On April 12, 2022, city council members voted to reduce weekday enforcement hours from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. starting on May 1, 2022. Now the city council is back at the drawing board, with another reduction being brought forward for a vote.
The new enforcement time will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and was approved at a city council work session on June 3, with an 8-2 vote. Councilmembers Courtney Banks-McLaughlin and Derrick Thompson were the two opposing votes.
This decision is one that many Fayetteville residents would agree with.
“I see no problem. As it stands, I rarely see parking problems down there, and encouraging more people to come in around dinner time and in the evening could slowly increase overall traffic to downtown.” - David Castelli
“Yes! … also remove costs from in front of the library.” -Jessica Taylor
“Yes!” - Liza Hondros Photography
“Even the city hosts events that start around 6 p.m. at times, so yes change it so people can attend and not have to wait until 7 p.m. to show up.” - Bersuada Saunders Clarke
“If pay ends at 5 p.m., I think it’s better. A typical work day ends at 5 p.m. and most people do activities after that time as well. Kind of like going from work mode to leisure. “ - Kimberly Frazier
“Please and thank you.” -Estella Johnson
“Most city parking regulations end by 5 p.m. to encourage more activity, bringing more money to businesses in the evening and encouraging fluctuation in parking throughout the day. I guess that the city would likely generate more revenue from business taxes than parking meters, making it a winning deal.” - Morhia Mote
While no city council member was available to respond, it’s clear by the response of the community that the decision will be a good one. Although logically, the idea of decreased enforcement hours seems to be a good one, there are some that know that money is always at the root of decisions such as these.
“Devil's advocate. The parking decks they currently have, I don’t believe have paid for themselves yet. It’s probably an attempt to attract more people however if it means a tax increase, no thank you.” - Darlisha Warren
According to the June 3 agenda, the Council used values from the 2023 calendar year. Nineteen percent of the daily parking transactions occurred between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., amounting to a total of $30,438.55 in payments based on information provided by the parking enforcement consultant. For the Fiscal Year 2023 period, the total functional revenue was enough to fund the contract services for parking operations, but not debt services. Budget and finance numbers from previous fiscal years indicate that the parking program operates in a deficit and requires subsidization from the general fund for debt servicing. The Council noted that the Franklin Street Parking Deck observed 9,091 parking transactions in 2023 and collected $22,166.00 in parking fees.
The city council is set to vote on the new enforcement hours at their next regularly scheduled session.

(Photo: File photo by April Olsen)

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