Parking has always been an issue and problem in historic Downtown Fayetteville. No matter how many times it’s discussed, the problems plaguing the downtown merchants are always articulated and acknowledged but solutions are never forthcoming.
  Well, at this writing a solution may be on the horizon. The Fayetteville City Council is considering (and hopefully approving)a plan to initiate paid parking on downtown streets and parking lots. This is surely a step in the right direction.
  {mosimage}Currently, the existing two hour free parking privilege downtown is pretty ridiculous as a tool to draw visitors and commerce to our city’s center. First, the two-hour limit really doesn’t leave much time for guests, tourists and visitors to enjoy city venues, shop or dine. Second, the constant presence and visibility of McLaurin’s Parking Police, better known as the “ticket Gestapo,” creates an intimidating and negative atmosphere as they walk and stalk city streets relentlessly in search of wayward parking violators. With pencils, pads and computers in hand, these motivated revenue vultures are not necessarily the best image for a downtown trying to build a warm, inviting, friendly and economically vibrant business model. Even many of the downtown  merchants and business owners cannot blame potential customers from staying away. And, they are.
  However, a new day will dawn if this new parking plan is adopted with a $4 per day maximum parking fee. I like it and it can be the “real deal” if, of course, the program is implemented correctly and with dignity. We shouldn’t get over zealous in the enforcement of this new plan. The thought of a daily crew out towing cars and applying restraining boots on the car tires of parking violators is as unpleasant as the sight itself. Again, stalking parking violators is not a viable way to raise revenues for the city or create goodwill.
  Downtown Fayetteville is beautiful and should be a fun and enjoyable destination. The new parking plan presents a great opportunity for downtown merchants and businesses to market and promote their services to the community. They can say “Com on down, and stay all day (for only $4 bucks)!” How cool is that? In addition, the Downtown Alliance, in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce has an opportunity to launch an aggressive marketing campaign promoting the virtues of downtown, taking full advantage of the new parking opportunities. There’s no end to the ways they can promote downtown — but it needs to be fun! They can promote “shop local-shop downtown;” run contests, validate parking tickets, have prize drawings, do cash give aways and provide “bounce backs” to promote and build traffic and loyalty. Most importantly, brand downtown as a “fun” place to give those who venture downtown a reason to return.
  Ultimately we need a parking deck (in the correct location). Until then, let’s make it as easy and fair as possible for people to come visit and enjoy downtown Fayetteville.
  Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly. Now available online.

Contact Bill Bowman at

Latest Articles

  • N.C. Civil War History Center: The “Citizens have Spoken!!” No, not really!
  • There is still work to do in Raleigh
  • Chasing the wind while missing the solution
  • Congratulations to newly elected candidates
  • Volunteer fire departments win federal funding
  • A parade that celebrates the community: The Harvest Train