Community and Businesses React To Short North Parking Proposal

This Wednesday, businesspersons and residents of the Short North sat with city council representatives to discuss the area’s new parking program.

 

It all started with bullet points and brass tacks. Amanda Ford, the Parking Coordinator for the Short North’s new pilot program, laid out each step moving forward in detail. Her audience was a hushed crowd of concerned proprietors and city dwellers, all listening carefully, some occasionally shuffling for a better position on the hard backed wooden pews.

Ford made clear from the beginning what the program’s goals were; to better understand public opinion and to free up congestion in the city’s thriving Short North area. By dividing it up into different zones, some for residents, others for businesses, the idea was to create a system that could benefit everyone. By charging more for High Street parking and less for garages, the hope was that people there for longer stays would decide to stay off the street. This would hopefully create a ripple effect, alleviating High Street crowding and offer residents closer parking to their housing.

Addressing concerns for residents was the idea of parking permits. For 50 dollars a year, folks living in the area could purchase permits giving them the freedom to park on streets around their house without fees or charges. Guests of the residents would still have to pay for temporary passes, starting at 5 dollars for a day and going up to 40 for a month-long stay.

Street kiosks to pay for parking and increased security with license plate technology all came to a hefty ballpark figure of 5 million dollars, the idea being that fining development projects that won’t be providing their own parking could offset the number.

Amanda Ford wrapped up by assuring everyone that the project would only move forward if the community and city council could both agree on what would make the situation easier on everyone.

A round of questions followed, initiated by Councilmember Shannon Hardin and eventually making it’s way to the few chosen community members sitting eagerly for their turn at the podium. The most memorable of these came from a Short North resident named Rachel. Perhaps in her mid to late twenties, she explained that her housing options were fairly limited as a working divorcee. She described, through strained tears, how she lived in an apartment with a total of two other adults that had to pool their incomes together in order to afford housing. With the upcoming parking program, only two people per household would be afforded permits.

Her story wasn’t unfamiliar, especially among adults in her age group trying to make a living. It is interesting to consider; that the city’s parking program, which relies on a ripple effect to alleviate crowding, could be the solution to a parking problem, itself caused by the ripple effect of a tightening economy and denser community living.

 

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