Welcome to our downtown public parking page! Here you’ll find all the information you need to make your visit to our downtown hassle-free. Our map will help you find the best spot for your needs. Plus, all the Town's public parking is FREE. Park with us and enjoy all that downtown has to offer!
Parking Options and Map
The Town offers a variety of parking options, including street parking, garages and lots. All public parking in Downtown is FREE with a 2-hour time limit. View our map below or use our interactive map on your smartphone with the Google Maps app. Make getting around downtown easy - park once and utilize Chapel Hill Transit's fee-free "J" bus route or "CW" bus route to get to your destination.
- Why do I have to pay for parking at the Sunset Drive parking lot?
The parking lot at the corner of Sunset Drive and Rosemary Street is jointly owned by the Town of Carrboro and the Town of Chapel Hill. Just over half of the lot is owned and managed by Chapel Hill which does require paid parking. The other portion of the lot is owned and managed by Carrboro which does not require paid parking. Look for the spots with a sign that state "Carrboro Business Parking" to find the free parking spaces.
- Can I park my car in a public parking lot overnight?
In short, no, the Town code does not allow cars to be parked in public parking lots past 3:00am.
- Can I lease or rent a parking space in a public parking lot?
No, at this time the Town does not rent or lease spaces in public parking lots to businesses or residents for their use.
- Has the Town considered adding wayfinding signage to help people find public parking?
Yes, the Town is currently working on implementing a wayfinding program to help citizens and visitors find available public parking locations. The Town anticipates signage to be installed before Summer 2024.
- Is the parking lot at Carr Mill Mall public parking?
No, the parking lots surrounding Carr Mill Mall are for shoppers and visitors to Carr Mill Mall retailers, restaurants, and offices only (this also includes Harris Teeter and CVS). Parking here and leaving the property may result in your car being towed at your expense.
- What are businesses required to do before they can tow from their parking lots?
To be clear, businesses and other private parking lot operators can tow your car at any time for any reason as long as it is in compliance with State statues and Town ordinances since you are parked on private property.
Before they can tow a vehicle, however, State law requires that all private lots that tow must have a sign prominently displayed that states that parking is restricted to certain uses, that violators may be towed, and a phone number for retrieving the vehicle. Additionally, the Town requires that the Police Department be notified of such a towing situation within 30 minutes, that no fee will be charged unless a vehicle has been attached to the tow truck prior to the arrival of the owner, and that the sign must state that credit and debit cards are accepted for payment.
- I feel that a tow company or property owner did not follow the regulations before towing me. Is there anything I can do?
Yes, the Town Police Department has an online form to handle concerns about improper towing. A representative of the Police Department will investigate the complaint to ensure they are following the proper State and Town regulations.
- Beyond what is already required, what else can the Town do to regulate towing practices?
The Town is restricted on what it can do to place limitations on towing on private property due to legal protections for private property owners and case law from King v. Town of Chapel Hill.
In this court case, the N.C. Supreme Court held that a municipality has the power to regulate towing within its jurisdiction under the general police power, G.S. 160A-174, to the extent the regulations rationally address issues affecting citizen health, safety, or welfare that arise when one’s car is involuntarily towed. Thus, the court upheld Chapel’s Hill’s signage and notice provisions regarding towing. However, the court struck down Chapel Hill’s regulation of fees that can be charged by towing companies because this type of regulation had no rational relationship with protecting health, safety, or welfare and unduly interfered with the right of towing companies “to the fruits of [their] own labor.”
Additionally, in North Carolina, municipalities are limited to exercising certain powers that are either expressly conferred or necessarily implied from enabling legislation passed by the General Assembly which may further limit the ability of the Town to take additional actions.
Parking Studies and Counts
The Town has conducted two studies and will be conducting annual counts of our public parking occupancy. These documents and updates can be found for public viewing below.
|2017 Downtown Parking Plan
|2022 Downtown Carrboro Parking Study
|2022 Downtown Off-Street Public Parking Count Update
If you have questions about parking in downtown or have parking and are interested in entering into a lease agreement with the Town, please reach out to Jon Hartman-Brown at 919-918-7319 or EconDev[at]CarrboroNC.gov.