Roger L. Stancil, Town Manager


Dwight Bassett, Interim Director, Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership
George Draper, Chairman of the Board – Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership


Parking Study Recommendations


March 16, 2009


The purpose of this memorandum is to present parking study recommendations to Town Council.


On February 26, 2007 a Citizens Parking Committee presented a Parking Report to Council which included a recommendation for a Parking Study. On November 11, 2007 Council supported a budget amendment for the Downtown Partnership to undertake the Downtown parking study.  The Partnership selected Rich and Associates to complete the study after sending out a Request for Proposal to multiple firms and hosting interviews with the top two submitters. Rich and Associates began meeting and completing their parking counts in early 2008. Meetings were held with concerned citizens and a survey was completed for additional information to be used in the study. Rich and Associates presented the Parking Study findings to Council on October 15, 2008. The Downtown Partnership held a public meeting on October 30, 2008 to gain input from citizens. There is an attachment which has the public input, Parking Recommendations and comments from the Downtown Partnership Board.   


The Board of the Downtown Partnership appointed a Parking Committee to finalize recommendations for the Board of Directors.  The Committee consisted of: Dwight Bassett (T&P), Meg McGurk (P), Tommy O’Connell (P), Glenn Booth (P), Kumar Neppalli (T), Chris Jones (P), Catherine Lazorko (T) and Brenda Jones (T) [P=Partnership, T=Town] The Partnership’s Parking Committee met twice. Dwight met with Brenda Jones and Chris McClay of Parking Services to share the recommendations and seek input based on budget impact.

These recommendations come from the Rich Parking Study, Board and public comments. These recommendations also are consistent with the findings of the 2007 Citizens Parking Report and were adopted by the Downtown Partnership Board of Directors.


The mission of these Parking Recommendations is to utilize Parking as a tool for economic development for downtown.

1.      Develop a Parking Board to oversee policy and parking operations for the Town.
(Parking Board – 5 members; (3)Downtown Partnership members, (1)UNC staff member and (1)other)

2.      Rename the existing parking lots to help visitors and citizens to be able to locate them. The Committee felt it is difficult for citizens and visitors to find parking based on the names currently used.  They felt it would be easier, and as recommended by the Parking Study, to name the lots according to location. They agreed to use street names, and cross streets, where appropriate. (Signage for name changes - $3000)


Parking Lots:



100 East Rosemary

Lot 2

Rosemary/Columbia Parking Lot East

415 West Franklin

Lot 3

West Franklin Parking Lot

104 West Rosemary

Lot 4

West Rosemary Parking Lot

West Rosemary

Lot 5

Rosemary/Church Street Parking Lot

127 West Rosemary

Lot 6

127 West Rosemary (not publicized)

Wallace Deck – 150 East Rosemary-


Rosemary Parking Deck

PH Craig Lot – 113/114 N. Basnight Lane (new)


Basnight/Franklin Parking Lot

3.      Work to add consistency and simplicity to parking in downtown Chapel Hill to further encourage support of downtown businesses and economic development.

a.       RECOMMENDATION: Implement a courtesy ticket system for on-street first-time parking offenders (annually). Try for one year to see if it helps with understanding and perception of parking.  If this program is continued long-term institute a $25 fine for parking violations. (Tickets are currently $15, move to $25) IMPACT: (Projected revenue loss from Courtesy Tickets <$12,394> (if no more than 33% of tickets, estimated to be 20% of tickets by Parking Services), Additional revenue generated if fines are increased to $25 is $12,640.)

b.      RECOMMENDATION: Institute free parking at all locations after 6:00pm with the exception of the Parking Deck. (Lot 3 and 5 currently operate until 8:00pm. Wallace Parking Deck and Lot 2 operate as late as 1:00am Friday and Saturday evenings.) IMPACT: (Loss of revenue from 6pm till 8pm if changed - <$175,000>)

c.       Move toward a more unified payment system at all parking locations. (i.e. tokens utilized everywhere, Smart Cards everywhere) Cash, tokens or Smart Cards should be the short term goal and the long term goals should be pay-by-cell and credit cards added. IMPACT: ( None short term, long-term upgrade technology)

d.      Develop a pricing system that encourages downtown patrons to utilize off-street parking when possible.  Price on-street parking higher that off-street/deck to encourage utilization of off-street spaces. UNC prices their public parking at $1.25 and the committee felt this would help with simplicity if the Town’s parking was priced the same.  RECOMMENDATION: Institute $1.25 cents per 60 minutes for on-street parking in downtown. IMPACT: (Meter fees are at $250,000 for 2008. We are asking for a 25% increase for parking fees associated with on street parking (from $1 per hour to $1.25 per hour) then our new projected income would be $312,500 (Net increase of $62,500).

e.       Evaluate Event parking fees with the thought that parking is to support downtown business and economic development. As a short tem goal, add a bright creative sign for Wallace Deck that informs potential users before entering the Deck that Event Parking fees are in effect. IMPACT: ( Banner for Wallace deck for Event Parking  - $250)

f.       Condense all leased parking to one lot in the East and West ends of downtown. IMPACT: (No Fiscal impact)

4.      Develop a comprehensive parking signage program (vehicular and pedestrian) to guide citizens and visitors to all public parking. (Signage program for first year $5,000.)

5.      Work to add additional public parking using private lots. Look for opportunities to repurpose private lots for events and after hours.

6.      Begin planning for the future needs of parking. Look at taking one space in the east and west of downtown to subdivide for licensed/tagged scooters.

These recommendations are not meant to be inclusive of all issues related to parking.  There were additional issues that the committee felt deserved ongoing discussion before becoming recommendations.  Some of those issues to be addressed by a Parking Board include: 1) Pricing for off-street and deck parking, 2) Peak and event parking pricing, and 3) Payment systems.


1.      Parking Study Recommendations and public input (p. 5).

2.      Parking Services Memo from Stopping Parking at 7pm (p. 9).

3.      Parking Service Memo on Ticket Forgiveness (p. 10).

4.      Citizens Parking Report -

5.      Full Parking Report -