Downtown parking presents problems in Fayetteville

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Downtown parking is the center a heated debate in Fayetteville. Some business owners say they’re losing business because of it, but city leaders are meeting to do something about it.

It was only meant to be a study session between the city and parking services, but dozens showed up to see how they plan to solve on going parking problems downtown.

With major events plus a new baseball stadium, more people are coming downtown but parking enforcement says they just don’t know where to park.

“They get confused and they get scared like ‘hey can I park here?’ ‘will I get a ticket if I park here?’ ‘how long can I park here?'” said Parking Enforcement Worker Jonathan Wigfall.

He says he writes an average of 25 tickets a day, mostly to drivers parking past the time limit.

“I’m just doing my job, I mean I don’t make these rules I just enforce them,” said Wigfall.

But business owners say those rules are impacting their job and their business.

“By the time they get their hair cut and come out they got a ticket, cause they only get two hours,” said Downtown Barbershop Owner Reuel Ortiz.

It’s a problem business owners say is causing them to lose business even with a bigger crowd downtown.

“You won’t be able to see the other businesses or spend your money at other businesses because you have to move your car to another block, and that’s bad for business,” said Ortiz, “I think they should do parking meters,” he said.

The mayor says the city plans to add meters and is taking a serious look at it in a meeting with parking services Wednesday night.

“Part of what we’ll assess tonight is which areas will be metered first and how we’ll treat and enforce those,” said Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin.

But in an online petition now signed by thousands, they want parking free all together on nights and weekends.

“If parking is free on the streets with no time limit or enforcement, then you have some people possibly attending the games that park there in an avoidance of paying the paid parking lots,” said Colvin.

Nothing has been finalized just yet. The mayor says that’s expected to happen in the next four to five months.

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