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Parking strained by boom on Durham's 9th Street

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Parking has become a strain as 9th Street in Durham has become increasingly popular. Parking has become a strain as 9th Street in Durham has become increasingly popular.
DURHAM, N.C. -

An area known for its unique shops and locally owned businesses is trying to deal with the increased popularity of Durham's 9th Street.

Merchants are happy that foot traffic on 9th Street has steadily increased since a hotel, new supermarket and soon-to-open apartments added a lot of vibrancy to the area, but the new attention has also created parking problems.

"The streets are busier again," said hair stylist Donna Castenaro. "For a while, we lost a lot of business to American Tobacco."

For merchants like John Valentine, with The Regulator Bookshop, the development is a doubled-edged sword.

"The city needs to figure out how to deal with those spaces -- how to reach some sort of compromise," Valentine said. "The same thing is happening downtown where there is not enough parking spaces for all the people."

Mindy Oshrain, who was frustrated while trying to find a place to park, added, "It will get worse as 9th Street gets more over-developed."

With on street parking a premium, the focus is on a city-owned 70-space parking lot that will likely become paid parking. But merchants and shoppers would prefer it to remain free parking.

"I've written letters to City Council about maintaining free parking on 9th Street," Oshrain said.

Paid parking in the lot would ensure folks don't hog a space all day, but some worry about losing the long-term parking.

"That's going to create a big problem for me because that's where I park when I'm working," Castenaro said.

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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