Downtown Chapel Hill
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Info for Businesses

Downtown Parking FAQ

Downtown Parking FAQ

We know there have been a lot of changes to downtown parking in the last few months. And there is #LotsToLove – like brand new meters, consistent times of paid parking, and additional free parking for your customers. But we also know it has been hard to keep up!
Here is a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) to get you updated.
What are the days and times that I have to pay for parking downtown now?
For off-street paid parking, including decks, garages, surface lots - Monday-Saturday from 8am-8pm. For on-street paid parking - Monday-Saturday from 8am-6pm. Exceptions are Town holidays and special promotional days like in July and December (see below). Remember…all public parking is free on Sundays year-round!

Where can I find the most up to date information about parking downtown? is the mobile-ready, comprehensive site for all things parking downtown. Make sure this is on your business website and you promote it in your social media.

What’s going on with the new meters being installed?
As of Wednesday, June 20th, new meters are operating in the decks, garages, and Rosemary/Columbia Lot. Additionally, 50 new meters will be installed starting on West Franklin Street and moving east. This should be completed by July 13th, weather permitting. Goodbye to those old meters!

I never want to touch a parking meter again. Is there an App I can use?
Yes, the App is called Parkmobile. Download the app to your smart phone today to set it up and then paying for parking will take just seconds each time. You can also opt-in to receive reminder notifications prior to your parking session expiring to add time. It is so easy and quick. Promote this to your customers!

When and where is there free parking this summer?
All public parking is free on Saturdays and Sundays in July! This includes all on-street parking, parking decks, and surface lots. Parking is also free on the 4th of July. The new meters will soon display a message letting you know when parking is free. You may see paper signs now, until the software is updated. The three-hour limit for metered parking will be in effect and will be monitored to encourage the turnover you need for customers at your business. Promote this on your social media!

Who are the Downtown Ambassadors? Have the parking attendants lost their jobs?
With the new parking meters, there will no longer be parking booths with attendants in them. However, these Town of Chapel Hill employees are not losing their jobs - they are now Downtown Ambassadors. The role of an Ambassador is to welcome people and provide assistance with directions, parking, and restaurant & shopping recommendations. Most importantly, they are helpful people that make visitors feel welcome downtown. Right now, you’ll see them in all the downtown public parking decks, garages, and on Franklin Street – assisting people with the new meters and the ParkMobile app. Ambassadors will be highly visible in branded uniforms and hats - ready to make downtown even more welcoming!

With the new meters in the decks, will employees of downtown businesses have to pay for 24 hr parking?
No, the meters will not be charging for 24 hrs. Paid parking for the off-street decks, garages, and surface lots is from 8am-8pm, Monday-Saturday. This means if employees use public parking, they only have to pay for the hours up until 8pm. Additionally, the Town offers Employee Parking Passes for $20 per pass. The passes can only be used starting at 3:30pm each day, and in designated parking spots on both the east and west end. Contact Parking Services to get the parking permits.

What about Accessible Parking for people with a disability or mobility issues?
Those with a special placard for Accessible Parking can park for free in any public parking space throughout downtown. This applies to all times, days, and spaces - with or without a designated sign. The three-hour time limit still applies.

That’s great that there is free parking on Sundays and Holidays, but will the meters still take people’s money?
No, the new meters are programmed to not accept money during times and days when it is free. The meters have a display screen that will also tell people that parking is free during those times. You may see paper signs now, until the software is updated.
Will the new meters give a Senior Citizen Discount?
As of right now, no the meters do not have the ability to give a Senior Discount. However, the Town is working to create that capability with the meter software by the end of the summer.
s there a validation system for my business to provide free parking to my customers?
Yes, the new meters have a validation system where you can have a special code to give customers and parking will be free for them. The Town will then invoice you for the usage. Soon, this will be possible using the ParkMobile app. To set up a validation code, call 919-968-2760.

How do I make sure my customers have accurate information about where to park?
(1) Link to on your business website.
(2) Follow Park on The Hill on social media:
Facebook / ParkOnTheHillCH and Twitter /@ParkOntheHillCH and Instagram/@ParkOnTheHillCH
(3) Encourage customers to download and use the ParkMobile app on their smartphone.

Who do I contact about all-things-parking downtown?
The Parking Services office is located at the Chapel Hill Police Department, 828 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Please call (919) 968-2760 or email
The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership brings together the resources of the Town, University and downtown community to maintain, enhance and promote downtown as the social, cultural, and spiritual center of Chapel Hill through economic development.
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