09baseballStadium rendering 1 12The city of Fayetteville has begun collecting data and seeking public opinions during a downtown parking study. Input is being collected through stakeholder committee meetings, public forum opportunities and an electronic survey. The survey is available online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/Parking_Fayetteville.

The parking study will evaluate current and future parking demands, especially those prompted by baseball games at the new Hay Street stadium. Regulations and performance comparisons to other cities in North Carolina will also be considered. The city received a revitalization and economic development grant to conduct the downtown parking study.

At this point, city officials believe there are enough existing and planned future parking spaces downtown to accommodate baseball fans. Officials believe 1,500 to 2,000 additional vehicles will go downtown for a typical ballgame. One question is whether the city is running a risk of expecting some people to walk three or four blocks to the stadium. City traffic engineer Lee Jernigan said that is not the case, and that parking studies should confirm that.

Park and ride opportunities are a possibility, said Jernigan. “FAST or a private company could provide mini-bus shuttle service,” he added. That’s another one of the things the parking study may determine as to need.

Currently, on-street parking restrictions vary from two to three hours, but they only apply during business hours, Jernigan noted. The city doesn’t use parking meters, but parking enforcement officers patrol the downtown area.

Finding a parking spot for a ballgame will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Downtown parking lots should fill up rapidly, at least those owned by the city. They include the Airborne & Special Operations Museum and Festival Park lots, among others.

Owners of private lots near the stadium have not yet been asked by the city to make them available after business hours, according to Jernigan. Limited spaces at the parking garage, which is now under construction next to the train station, will be for disabled and handicapped parking. Most of those spaces will be for tenants of the new hotel and Prince Charles apartments.

Chances are that city-operated parking lots and the Franklin Street parking deck will be paid parking for special events. Jernigan noted that during the recent Dogwood Festival, people did not object to paying fees. He said motorists will also be charged parking fees during the upcoming International Folk Festival in the fall. “This is a dynamic process for us, which will be tweaked as we go,” he said.

City officials hope the parking study will be ready for review by the end of the year. The new stadium is scheduled to open for ballgames by April 2019.

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