Parking Available At City Plaza?

I took this picture on Saturday while walking on Fayetteville Street and enjoying the great weather. Cars were parking on City Plaza!

The plaza had a little activity that day because of the Home Show that was at the Raleigh Convention Center. Also, the Krispy Kreme was getting some good business and customers were sitting outside on the plaza or playing with the interactive fountain. I’m a big fan of City Plaza and would like to see more urban spaces like it for pedestrians as downtown Raleigh grows. But the fact that cars were parking on this block irked me a little. This should be a space for pedestrians, not cars.

I people watched a little while sitting at one of the several tables that have been put out on the plaza for anyone to use. I guess you could say I was car watching as well. Some cars slowed as if confused, figuring out if they could park here or not. Others parked for two minutes as they ran into Krispy Kreme for a coffee then drove off. Some were there longer then my thirty or so minute stay so its possible they used the spots for long term parking. We asked a group of downtown Raleigh Ambassadors if parking was allowed on the plaza and three of them had no idea and also don’t enforce it. I may be making this a bigger deal then it is but if cars start to park on City Plaza, in my opinion, we have ruined the intent of the entire project.

Now maybe this is a different case because it is a Saturday with slow traffic and no enforcement so why not let a few people park here, right? The work week is much busier and parking on all downtown streets are enforced so City Plaza is kept car free during those hours. I’m assuming this cause I still have not seen it for myself during a weekday. But for those that visit downtown on the weekends and are in town for a convention, why should their visit to the plaza be different?

I’m romanticizing a little and imagine the plaza to be a gathering space for downtown visitors and residents without the parking lot severing the two sides from each other. Some may not mind it but it makes a stronger statement by the city that they back the Livable Streets policy they wanted for Fayetteville Street by prohibiting parking on this block and making pedestrians come first. It may be too early to really criticize as the plaza is still brand spanking new. Either way, I’ll take notice as to how people use the plaza, in and out of their cars.

The area plan calls for forty feet between the row of bollards separating the pedestrian area and the street for cars. This is plenty of space for two way traffic and parallel parking on each side. Was this done on purpose? This may be too much room for a through street. Click for a larger view.

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  1. Interesting….I’m actually surprised the street at City Plaza is wide enough to have parking lanes in addition to the travel lanes. But I just guess they made it the same width as the rest of Fayetteville Street.

    Frankly, I think they should be left as loading zones mostly, allowing for people to drop off friends at a hotel or office building. Maybe a few 10 minute spots for folks to grab a coffee I suppose, but that’s it.

  2. Leo,

    Completely Agree! There should NOT be parking on the Plaza. People who park to get a coffee, just shows me how lazy American’s are becoming (it happens all the time at Brier Creek at Caribou Coffee (park right in the road, run in to get a coffee, cops should be ticketing this lazy pathectic people).

    How could Raleigh ambass. not know if there is parking. The city opens the Plaza and does not communicate the laws to these people? Another half _ _ _ job by city council and DRA.

    Anyone who parks on the Plaza should be ticketed. If the city allows parking, they lost me as a customer. Parking on F Street is becoming a mess (there are enough parking decks within a couple blocks walk to get these cars off the street.

  3. i agree that the parking ruins the effect, but i’d rather have people park to use the area, like sit down or buy a donut, than just feel it’s stupid to park at a deck 2 blocks away, walk down, buy a donut, then walk back to their car, then drive away. if that happens, city plaza fails. it needs to be convenient, and while it would be better if people weren’t lazy, that’s not going to change. people will just avoid the area. now if people are parking there just to go to a restaurant or hotel or whatever, then that’s a different story.

  4. I think parking cars will perhaps ruin the new brick work!
    I wish they would have covered the area in sod, like the plaza space in downtown Charlotte. Really made it a true park.

  5. Are there any plans for the surface parking lot between the City Plaza and Memorial Auditorium? Now that would be a wonderful public space and a true plaza. Surely the surface parking could be moved to a parking deck. The whole block could be a place for art and fountains much the way Chicago has done.

  6. It’s un-American to expect fatty to walk for his doughnut.


    It does NOT have to be convenient to motorists. Get your POS car out of my public space.

  7. Leo, I also agree with you. I was at the City Plaza last week and was able to find parking one street away. Since the area was likely originally meant for pedestrians, but isn’t marked, the city should post signs designating appropriate parking spots and no parking zones. Since Krispy Kreme is nearby, perhaps they could include 10-minute parking, but more than that defeats the purpose of making the city more pedestrian-friendly.

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