Durham’s new downtown parking meters not a hit with everyone

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DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Downtown Durham’s new parking meters have been in place for two weeks but some senior citizens said they just can’t afford it.

Since February 27, drivers in downtown Durham have been paying for parking, including 73-year-old George Mitchiner.

“I really think there should be free parking for us,” Mitchiner said.

He said he visits the Durham Center for Senior Life every week.

As a senior citizen, he said money is scarce – forcing him to find shortcuts.

To avoid paying for parking, Mitchiner said he parks at a nearby McDonald’s.

It’s a short walk for him, in hopes he doesn’t get another parking ticket.

The new meters are a change that is taking some time for people to get used to.

Durham parking officials said the Bull City is one of the last metropolitan areas to install parking meters.

“Some people may consider we are arriving to the game late, but I say we arrived on our own time to which was convenient for us,” said Thomas Leathers, a parking division administrator.

Leathers said a change could come.

“We are working and collaborating with county officials and center officials to try to come up with some feasible solutions to address that parking concern,” Leathers said.

But he said overall, parking has been a success.

Before the meters, it was hard to find parking downtown but now, there’s not as much gridlock because people have to pay.

Mitchiner hopes those conversations planned to happen with the city are in his favor.

“Give us a break,” he pleaded.

Since last Friday, there have been 7,000 parking meter transactions.

The money will go to improving parking downtown, including building a new parking garage.

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