I proposed a downtown parking task force both as a citizen and a candidate for Council. Working, shopping and living (near) downtown for many years, I have seen the parking dynamic shift as development, transit and demographic trends progressed.

Currently, I believe the key parking problem is not supply but allocation of existing resources.

I have some ideas on how we can craft a partnership between town, university and private interests so that we can improve the “downtown experience” without having to pave over more of our vanishing natural downtown areas.

Here’s my request to Council asking to join with other stakeholders in working towards a more sustainable, healthier and friendlier Chapel Hill downtown.

Mayor and Town Council,

During the 2005 election, I proposed forming a downtown parking task force to pull together both public and private stakeholders to solve some of our parking allocation problems.

It was great to see Council Member Cam Hill’s call on April 10th for just such a new task force to review public parking downtown.

I want to join this new Downtown Parking Citizens Committee to help create a sustainable solution to our downtown parking issues.

May 8th, Council formed the Downtown Parking Citizens Committee charged with analyzing existing parking conditions; reviewing conditions in light of the goals of the Comprehensive Plan, Downtown Small Area Plan and the Downtown Development Initiative; proposing plans to mitigate existing parking problems and developing strategies to implement the proposed plans.

Staff also recommended that the committee “consider appointing citizens who work, shop and visit downtown…”

I’ve seen the downtown parking dynamic change over 27 years. I’ve regularly shopped, visited and PARKED downtown for two decades. I’ve worked downtown for over 5 years (and, luckily, have a reserved spot). Day in and day out, school in and out, morning, noon or night, East to West End, I’m quite familiar with the vagaries of finding parking downtown.

Besides the hands-on experience, I’m conversant with the various plans – Comprehensive, Downtown Small Area, Downtown Development – studies (like the LSA [parking(PDF)] [mobility(PDF)] and prior citizen group efforts), ordinances and LUMO restrictions that influence the existing parking dynamic. Further, I’ve read and reviewed a number of key transit and transportation studies and proposals – from town, from NC-DOT, from the University – that should inform any proposed solutions.

Finally, I believe I have some new ideas on how to form a collaborative proposal that brings Town, University and private business efforts into alignment to not only help solve some of the more intransigent of parking issues but to also to add flexibility into our overall parking/transit approaches.

Thank you for your consideration,

Will Raymond

If you’re interested in improving the “Downtown experience” and want to participate on a task force with a constrained and strategic mission, fill out an application and email it to the town’s Town Clerk. Additional Town Clerk contact information.

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