Wednesday, June 23, 1999

Parking rates may rise

City looks at its downtown garages

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        City officials are asking Cincinnati City Council to increase downtown parking rates to free more spaces for shoppers and visitors.

        In a report to council Tuesday, Kevin Shepard, the city's director of general services, argued that higher rates will increase turnover of spaces, making at least 150 more spaces available each day at the Fountain Square garages.

        Under the plan, parking in city garages would cost $1 for two hours — up from the current rate of $1 for three hours. The next three hours would cost $2 each with additional hours costing $3 each.

        The maximum daily rate for the Fountain Square garages is currently $8. The proposed maximum is $15.

Fighting for spaces
        The city would lower weekend and evening rates, offering a $1 maximum rate for evenings after 5 p.m. and weekends.

        But some merchants struggling with downtown's parking problems question whether that will help.

        “When you go to a mall, you don't pay for parking. When you go downtown, you pay for parking,” said Phyllis Karp, whose Main Auction Galleries sits on Fourth Street. “We're struggling with what's going on right now.”

        The city is trying to balance the needs of downtown office workers, who want a place to park all day, with the needs of shoppers and visitors, who need short-term parking near their destinations.

        Construction of the Bengals' new stadium, the overhaul of Fort Washington Way and the demolition of the city garage at Fifth and Race streets have eliminated hundreds of spaces.

Meters may change
        The city also is considering a change in the hours downtown meters are enforced. Instead of enforcing parking meters from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, the new plan would delay enforcement until 9 a.m.

        Downtown Cincinnati Inc., the advocacy group, recommended that change to give residents an extra hour to move their cars from the street. Most of the rate changes would take effect 60 days after council approval.


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