Wilmington City Council has approved a series of revisions in downtown-area parking laws, which often lead to tickets, misunderstandings and sometimes angry confrontations. The changes take effect this Monday, November 8th.
City Council Member Hanifa Shabazz sponsored the ordinance as a result of recommendations that developed from a Downtown Parking Summit she convened and a task force that included representatives from government and the community.
Throughout the city, motorists will be able to return to the same block in which they previously parked one hour after departing that block. Previously, drivers could not come back to the same block for two to four hours.
Wilmington’s prohibition on the “feeding” of parking meters to extend the time beyond the legal limit will also be strengthened. Adding coins to the meter does not extend the legal time limit, which is typically one or two hours.
Commercial vehicles that are clearly marked will be allowed to stay parked in a posted loading- or unloading-zone for up to one hour. The limit had been 15 minutes. The vehicle must be continually loaded or unloaded in order to remain legally parked.
Residents of the downtown area who have a valid parking permit (X, Y, or Z) will be allowed to park without restriction in legal parking spaces on certain streets in order to keep their vehicles close to where they work or live.
Other possible changes are being considered, including a revision to the one-hour time limit for parking along Market Street. Wilmington’s visitors parking permit program is also under review for possible changes.
A pilot program that offered parking permits for downtown students will end on June 30th, 2011. As the program is phased out, students will be allowed to park for free on designated streets in the city.