Carolina Beach To Add Additional Parking Meters Later This Year

Carolina Beach To Add Additional Parking Meters Later This Year Featured

By / Local News / Thursday, 19 March 2015 04:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - Town Manager Michael Cramer recommended the Carolina Beach Town Council approve the installation of additional parking meters on South Lake Park Blvd and other sides streets during the Council's March 10th, meeting.
Cramer said the Town had a good year for parking revenues, bringing in an addition $254,768. Council approved using a portion of that profit to expand their paid parking program and make improvements throughout Town including installing additional parking meters on South Lake Park Blvd and other side streets.
Town Manager Michael Cramer explained, "Last year we switched parking companies from Lanier Parking to SP Plus and at that time SP Plus put quite a few assets on the table for us. They added two additional pay stations and approximately 60 credit card capable parking meters. Along with that the Town also went and finished off the rest of our meters as credit card capable. In doing that, one of the things we found this year was an increase in our revenue to the tune of about $254,000. Some of that from meters. Some of that from pay stations and citations. Other from better management of our annual passes and our day passes at Freeman Park and those citations."
Cramer said it was a "robust" increase largely due to the technology making it easier for people to pay. He said two additional lots were added with more planned for this year.
He said, "Over the course of the year we added 82 spaces in our parking lots" and the system was run more efficient as well as adding more signs to parking areas.
Cramer explained, "What we are proposing is to continue that trend by investing in technology and additional parking spaces. We expect that we will continue to grow that parking revenue and also make it easier for visitors coming to the Town to find parking spaces. We are interested in adding four parking pay stations. Some of them will swap out with existing pay stations and those pay stations will go to other locations where we have never had them before. We are looking at adding one at the Palms Lot which is the highest use parking lot by far" where there were long lines of people waiting to pay.
Meters that will be replaced by the pay stations will be reused at other locations. The Town will also purchase an additional 16 meters for on-street parking.
Cramer said 28 meters will be added from the 200 block to 1000 block of South Lake Park Blvd. Some of those parking spaces along that section of Lake Park Blvd are for resident-only parking. He said those spaces will not be affected.
Five spaces will be added along Charlotte Avenue, three spaces on Sailfish Lane, five spaces on Texas Avenue and five spaces on Bowfin Lane.
Cramer said, "One of the first things I heard when I got here was, you can't put parking meters on state system streets. Given the fact that I had hundreds of parking meters on state system streets in Greensboro when I managed that program. I found that very unusual. I talked to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and found out that actually you can put meters on state system streets. It has to be a certain type of state system street. It has to have curb and gutter. The parking spaces have to be paved and they have to be marked. We have those throughout Town."
He explained, "Many of our state system streets, for instance, all of Lake Park, could have meters on it if you wanted to. This section of Lake Park actually already has parking spaces designated for it but we have no meters, it's two-hour time limited. Typically what happens is somebody goes there and camps out for the day and spends the entire day at the beach which is fine, however, they take up all of the parking for that area by doing so. What we are suggesting is one, to have a meter in those locations will encourage turn-over, which will encourage more people to find parking next to this area to go to the beach. Two, if they do decide to stay all day long, that's fine as long as they've paid for that right to use that parking spot."
Cramer said the spaces on Lake Park Blvd are south of the Carolina Beach Lake and not in the Central Business District.
Mayor Dan Wilcox said, "There's a difference between spending money and investing it and I'm certainly for taking $108,000 of the $254,000 extra that we have from revenues this year so we can again increase our revenues next year and make these improvements."
Council member Sarah Friede said, "Good work Michael on finding out the DOT regulations along Lake Park... so we can capture revenue from spaces that are being used and hopefully monitor some of that parking better. I think all of these improvements will pay the Town back over time."
Council member Leann Pierce asked Cramer if he had spoken to area business owners in the affected areas about the addition of parking meters.
Cramer said, "I've had a couple of conversations with business owners in that area" and, "They don't seem to be adverse to the meters on that section of Lake Park. Most of those business, matter of fact all of the businesses there, have to have their own parking for their establishments. They already have their parking, this parking we are talking about would really be directed at those visitors and they didn't seem to have a difficulty with it."
He said some business owners recognized the issue with people staying in spots along South Lake Park extended periods of time.
The Council voted unanimously to approve the parking improvements.
Those improvements also included other items including a shade structure for the parking attendants at the entrance of Freeman Park, signs, posts, vehicles stops, gravel for a parking lot and other equipment.

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