City considering plan to add accessible street-level parking in downtown Raleigh

Wake County News

There isn’t a single on-street, metered, handicap-accessible parking spot in downtown Raleigh.

The city council is now considering a pilot plan that would add a dozen of these spots in the downtown area. Most of the proposed sports are near medical or government buildings. They would have access to ramps.

There aren’t any designated spots near a restaurant or bar on the proposed list.

This is welcomed news to Kris Mercer. He has been in a wheelchair for 20 years and has learned to drive using special controls.

Mercer invited a CBS 17 crew to ride with him around downtown Wednesday. He said he tries to find a spot close to a street corner with a ramp.

“I would have to get out and go all the way down the street, get on a ramp to get up to come all the way back just to access the meter,” he said.

Right now, Mercer is often forced to take the first spot available. He said getting over curbs is an acquired skill.

“There are no ramps or anything to get up unless you come all the way up. Unless you come up to the corner, that is the only way you can get out of the street,” he said.

Mercer welcomes any accessible parking downtown. He hopes the council makes them permanent. 

However, the proposed ordinance isn’t on the current council schedule, and isn’t expected to get a hearing for at least two months. 

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