By Bryan Ward, MBA Candidate, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
ULI Triangle members met on April 26th to learn more about the current state of parking in Downtown Raleigh and how parking here and elsewhere could evolve in the future. Dean Penny and Fred Burchett from Kimley-Horn presented an abridged version of the downtown parking study commissioned by the City of Raleigh in 2016, and Gordon Dash, the City of Raleigh Transportation Director, provided his first impressions of the study. While parking may always be a “hot topic,” it’s encouraging to learn that so much thought and detailed planning goes on behind the scenes.
It was first noted that perception is not always reality; most people assume there is no available parking downtown, but currently, the city has monthly spaces available for rent, metered parking on the streets, and decks open on the weekends. As Raleigh continues to grow and demand for parking increases, it is important to think strategically when planning future parking and consider methods that encourage parking in certain locations. Between technology innovations for driverless cars and continued growth of ride sharing services, we can predict that demand for parking per person will decrease, but as urban migration increases, total demand for parking will likely increase with it.
The study revealed that even at peak demand there are ample spaces available in downtown Raleigh, but a significant portion of those spaces are privately owned. Unlocking the value in these privately-owned spaces by increasing their availability to the public is paramount to reduce redundancy and maximize overall uses. The study also highlighted the utilization of tiered parking prices to ensure those that demand parking the most receive it and increased efforts to ensure street parking is available for transient customers in the evenings.