Friday, September 29, 2023

Black-lined parking spaces cause confusion and lead to tickets on Wrightsville Beach

One of the now-gone parking spaces (right), across from the surf club. (Port City Daily/Preston Lennon)

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH — The erasure of two parking spaces on an ocean-side Wrightsville Beach street caused social media controversy after someone claimed to have been ticketed for parking in the removed spot. 

At least two Facebook posters claimed recently their cars were ticketed on Wrightsville Beach after they paid for parking through the mobile platform run by Pivot Parking, a private company contracted by the town. 

The parking spaces in question are two roadside spots on Mallard Street, home to the Surf Club. Some time ago, around Labor Day, lines bordering spaces on the road were painted over in black — indicating to parkers they were no longer valid spaces, town manager Tim Owens told Port City Daily.

One Facebook poster, Jordan Gush, said he appealed the ticket, but the decision was upheld and he’s stuck with the $150 fine. Even though the town no longer considered the spaces valid, the mobile pay station that serves spaces on the entire street remain. 

Many comments on the posts were critical of Wrightsville Beach for conducting allegedly sneaky parking practices, though many commenters had no sympathy for those ticketed, stating it as a fact of life that black lines mean “no parking.” 

“That’s not black striping, that’s black paint to cover up what used to be a parking spot and is now no longer a parking spot,” one commenter responded. “Not sure if anybody else has pointed that out yet, as I’m not reading through 342 comments.”

This week the spaces were ground out and erased entire Monday or Tuesday morning one parking enforcer making the rounds on Mallard Street in a golf cart said Tuesday afternoon.

Owens said the decision to erase the two spaces was made for safety reasons and the thinness of the road. 

“We blacked those out mainly because it’s hard to get in and out of the Surf Club there,” he said.

“If you know anything about Mallard, it’s a real tight street, and it’s hard to get two lanes of traffic going down. That was the main reason we did that, because of safety.”

One man sitting on the porch of a Mallard Street home on Tuesday afternoon told Port City Daily the homeowner had previously asked the town to take away spaces in front of their house because of the difficulty getting in and out of the driveway when traffic is busy and all spaces on the street are filled. 

At this time, the two spaces on Mallard Street are the only ones to have recently been ground or blacked out. It’s part of “tests” the town is doing to help the traffic situation, Owens said. 

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