The city's parking decks will remain advertisement free. For now.
City Councilors Tuesday rejected a contract with AdWalls LLC to begin advertising in city-owned parking decks. AdWalls would have been responsible for installing and maintaining the advertising posters and there wouldn't be any cost to the city.
The city would have received 30 percent of the revenue, which was estimated to be about $25,000.
City parking staff investigated advertising to cushion the blow from an increasing parking shortfall caused by building new decks and the lack of drivers using them.
While the issue was on the Sept. 18 city council agenda, the contract was moved to the Law and Public Safety Committee for further discussion.
Committee Chair Mary-Ann Baldwin said members agreed they were not opposed to the idea of including signs in the decks, but, “We did object to the program as it was presented."
The estimated return of $25,000 wasn't worth it, she told Councilors Tuesday.
“If a better program came forward, we would consider it,” she said.
Councilor Bonner Gaylord said he is disappointed the contract isn't moving forward, because the city has to start moving on some kind of initiative. He said that this would have only been the first step toward a more robust program.
On the other hand, Councilor Thomas Crowder was happy about the decision. He said the city has done a lot to clean up the outdoor advertising and they should lead by example.
“I think it would be a loss for the city if we went forward with this program” he said.
Councilor John Odom said he was not in favor of the contract because it was not Raleigh-centric.
“I thought this was going to focus more on local business and local people,” he said.
Food Truck Change Heading to Public Hearing
Raleigh's food truck program seems to be going so well that councilors are considering easing some of the rules associated with it, including allowing more food trucks on a piece of property and allowing trucks to do business downtown.
Today, only one food truck is allowed on a quarter-acre piece property. If the change is approved, two would be allowed.
A change would also allow trucks in the Downtown Overlay District (DOD). The DOD covers most of Downtown Raleigh, with the exception of Glenwood South down to Hillsborough Street.
Residents can comment on the changes at the Oct. 16 public hearing.
The current regulations were the result of a contentious debate that lasted more than a year. But, eight months after the program began, city inspections and planning staffs haven't received any negative feedback and only issued one citation.
Almost 20 food truck permits have been issued by the city, along with 11 permits for food truck locations.
ART Program Changes Approved
Councilors Tuesday also approved sensitivity training and education outreach for the Accessible Raleigh Transit program.
The ART program provides rides for the city's elderly, sick and disabled residents. About 25 percent of ART rides are provided by MV Transportation per a $1.7 million contract approved last year.
The rest are provided by brokered taxi companies.
MV Transportation provides shared-rides for people going to, or coming from similar locations.
Community representatives recently called for increased sensitivity training and outreach to ease the transition from single rides to the shared-ride program.
City staff will now looking into the feasibility of paying for a central call center and more specific pickup times.More Goats Allowed on Small Properties
Raleigh goat lovers can thank 11-year-old Caroline Frye for a law change that previously only allowed one pygmy goat on properties smaller than one acre.
Frye presented her case at the Aug. 8 City Council meeting, requesting that officials allow multiple goats. She said her research shows that goats are social animals and will only thrive if they have a companion.
Councilors agreed Tuesday to change the law.
Pygmy goats, or Capra Hircus, must not weigh more than 85 pounds and be less than 21 inches tall at the shoulder.