Hybrid reserved parking called discriminatory in Chapel Hill

May 13, 2013
Reserved parking sign

Spaces for hybrids were designated to help the expanded library meet LEED requirements. View this sign here.

Town officials removed eight reserved parking signs (for hybrid and low-emission vehicles) in the upper lot of the Chapel Hill Public Library (in North Carolina) after residents deemed them discriminatory. Residents protested these hybrid parking signs saying that people like senior citizens, mothers with children, and others with greater needs than hybrid drivers could better utilize the reserved spaces.

Officials also received complaints about the under utilization of these parking spots. The town manager, Roger Stancil, said that he took down eight out of eleven signs in response to complaints that the spaces were not being used even when the rest of the parking lot was full. (Source:

The library has retained three parking signs that reserve spaces for low emission and hybrid vehicles outside its main entrance.

A minimum of five percent of the library’s parking spaces need to be reserved for hybrid or low emission vehicles to obtain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The library has been renovated recently, and so falls under a town ordinance that requires new or significantly renovated structures to fulfill that requirement.

“The library’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) application also includes high-efficiency mechanical systems, lighting and water conservation, storm water runoff control, recycled and regionally sourced materials, and bus service. The library’s nearest bus stop is about one-quarter of a mile away at the corner of East Franklin Street and Estes Drive.” [Source: Chapel Hill News]

Commenting on how to resolve the issue, Stancil said, “I’ve asked the staff to evaluate what points do we need to actually achieve the LEED certification and we can decide what options we have about low-emission parking with good information, not just putting the signs up with the assumption that we need them.” [Source:]

Richard Perry, owner of a hybrid eight-year-old Honda Civic, was all for the parking reserved at the library for low emission vehicles. (However, he hasn’t used them yet.) Perry felt that hybrid reserved parking would inspire people to start thinking about environmental issues. In the long term, rewards like reserved parking could be “one extra incentive for others as they consider their next auto purchase,” he wrote.

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Category: Green Parking, News

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