City study looks at downtown parking

City study looks at downtown parking
February 09
05:00 2017

Photo by Todd Luck



Is there enough parking downtown? Are parking rates too high or too low? That’s just some of the questions being explored in a study currently being done on parking.

The City of Winston-Salem has hired Raleigh-based firm Kimley-Horn to do a study on parking in the thriving downtown area, which is rapidly growing with new businesses and housing constantly being added.

“Parking problems are good problems to have,” said Kimley-Horn’s Fred Burchett.

Today is the last day for an online survey on downtown parking available on the city’s website. On Thursday, Feb. 2, a meeting was held at City Hall that showed some of the results from the 700 people who’d participated so far.

When asked to describe downtown parking in one word, answers like challenging, difficult, frustrating, acceptable and adequate were among the top responses. Aside from getting opinions in the survey, there were interviews conducted with downtown stakeholders.

The amount of downtown parking spaces used was also examined. Early results, shown during the meeting, found that there was no shortage of under-utilized parking in lots, and especially in parking decks, while street parking spaces were often filled to capacity.

The meeting allowed for public comments from attendees like Jason Thiel, president of the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership. He said that the most common reasons people give for not coming downtown are either concerns about safety or lack of parking. However, he said there’s actually no shortage of parking; downtown visitors just need to be willing to use parking decks.

“We don’t have a parking supply problem; we have a parking will problem,” said Thiel.

Several attendees said that visitors often don’t know where the off-street parking is downtown, which has a complex mix of lots and decks that vary in prices and conditions for public parking or may be restricted for use only by a certain business. Some parking policies are not widely known; like how anyone with a handicap placard can have free unlimited parking in on-street parking spaces.

“It’s difficult to disseminate information to people who come down only sparingly,” said City Council Member Jeff MacIntosh, who pushed for the parking study to see how much parking capacity downtown has as it grows.

Burchett said the study results will have recommendations on how to educate the public about parking decks and encourage their use. He said it would also include a recommendation to increase city fees for on-street parking. He said the current fee of up to 50 cent an hour was not enough to encourage turnover needed in on-street parking places.

To take the survey, visit today. For more information about the location of downtown parking, visit

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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