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Manteo parking issues are complex

Any vision the Town of Manteo could solve parking issues by a worker with a can of paint and paint brush were quickly dispelled in a preliminary report. Manteo town manager James Ayers told elected officials easing town parking congestion was, “not as simple as putting paint on the ground.”

This latest discussion on Manteo parking problems was prompted by an incident in late August when an illegally parked car caused a traffic jam in downtown Manteo and a resident’s suggestion that marking curbside parking places might be the solution.

The manager’s preliminary report, delivered at the September mid-month Board of Commissioners meeting, didn’t make specific recommendations. Instead, the report outlined the complexity of developing a plan addressing a town parking plan.

Ayers told the mayor and commissioners a study would be needed to determine parking needs at the various times of the year and day and the behavior of motorists would use them. The town would need to determine restrictions, if any, that could be placed on curbside parking. Community involvement in developing the plan should be encouraged. Even the choice of how to mark parking spots could change the aesthetics of the village-like ambiance.

To study and implement a comprehensive parking plan could cost $25,000 and would need a budget adjustment if undertaken during this year’s budget cycle. With the Manteo Common project – which will provide 60 parking places – expected to be completed before next spring, Mayor Bobby Owens told the board they shouldn’t rush a decision. The board’s consensus was that addressing a curbside parking plan could wait for a more complete study, perhaps by next year.

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