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Columbus' parking meter rates now higher than NYC and Boston!

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Columbus’ parking meter rates now higher than NYC and Boston!

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  • #321324

    Bear
    Participant

    spookygoddess78 wrote >>

    drew wrote >>

    spookygoddess78 wrote >>
    The Mayor is halting meter rate increases? That must have been in a different letter that I haven’t seen.

    Was thinking the same thing… hope it’s true, though…

    I do too…this is an instance where I would be really happy to be proven wrong about my hunches.

    ‘d be nice, I agree. I don’t see anything on any news web sites, Twitter searches, etc., that’d suggest that it happened, though.

    #321325

    ja
    Member

    For your information, there has been no halt in the fee increases that went into effect on November 30. You must continue to pay the new rates or face getting ticketed. The mayor simply asked for the formation of an advisory committee to look into various parking meter matters; he did not ask for a halt to the recent parking meter increases.

    #321326

    ja
    Member

    Walker wrote >>
    Dear Short North and Downtown Business Owners:
    This afternoon, in an open letter addressed to Director Mark Kelsey, Mayor Coleman spoke up for the business owners of the urban core. Mayor Coleman issued a sincere apology, stating: “the City did not involve the public as much as it should have.”
    “Though we were tardy in soliciting it, the public input that we have received in recent weeks has already been valuable and has produced some very constructive and creative ideas about parking meter policy.
    The mayor went on to outline a series of steps he has asked Director Kelsey to undertake with full input from “those who have shared their concerns.” These steps include:
    1. Review meter pricing zones
    2. Review meter operation hours
    3. Review pricing… The Mayor commented: “My goal is to use our meters to help, not hurt our businesses.”
    4. Review meter enforcement
    On behalf of the Short North Business Association, I want to thank the Mayor for agreeing to step back and look at creative alternatives that are mutually beneficial to the city and to business owners. We are all supportive of the development of the Convention Hotel, but as has been pointed out, there are numerous ways to use parking meter revenue to achieve the goal without overtaxing our highly valued customers.
    By halting the meter rate increases until such plans can be reviewed, the Mayor has shown strong support of our symbiotic relationships and has extended a genuine invitation for open collaboration.
    More to come, I’m sure.

    John
    John Angelo
    Executive Director
    Short North Business Association
    1126 1/2 A N. High Street
    Columbus, Ohio 43201
    614.299.8050 x13
    [email protected]
    http://www.shortnorth.org

    John Angelo appears to be misinformed about the mayor halting the meter increases which have already gone into effect.

    #321327

    Not necessarily, as Tigertree pointed out, he may have had conversations with city officials that go beyond the letter he is quoting. But, I agree that if his statements are based entirely on the letter…his interpretation could be off.

    #321328

    ja
    Member

    spookygoddess78 wrote >>
    Not necessarily, as Tigertree pointed out, he may have had conversations with city officials that go beyond the letter he is quoting. But, I agree that if his statements are based entirely on the letter…his interpretation could be off.

    The local news is informing residents that the mayor did not halt the meter fee increases.

    #321329

    ZHC
    Member

    Nice Press Release I guess.

    I didn’t see any mention of a rollback or halting of the meter increase until a study is to be done.

    To me it just sounded like a friendlier version of what Kelsey said on monday night.

    I’m withholding judgment until I hear from Angelo or the Mayor’s office but with 14 shopping days until xmas it doesn’t sound like any meaningful action is being taken when it really matters most to retailers.

    #321330

    ja
    Member

    ZHC wrote >>
    Nice Press Release I guess.
    I didn’t see any mention of a rollback or halting of the meter increase until a study is to be done.
    To me it just sounded like a friendlier version of what Kelsey said on monday night.
    I’m withholding judgment until I hear from Angelo or the Mayor’s office but with 14 shopping days until xmas it doesn’t sound like any meaningful action is being taken when it really matters most to retailers.

    I agree. It’s nothing more than a good pr piece for the administration. I give the mayor credit for taking responsibility for lack of public input and not throwing his director under the bus for something the mayor as well as city council were in the loop.

    #321331

    myliftkk
    Participant

    ja wrote >>

    ZHC wrote >>
    Nice Press Release I guess.
    I didn’t see any mention of a rollback or halting of the meter increase until a study is to be done.
    To me it just sounded like a friendlier version of what Kelsey said on monday night.
    I’m withholding judgment until I hear from Angelo or the Mayor’s office but with 14 shopping days until xmas it doesn’t sound like any meaningful action is being taken when it really matters most to retailers.

    I agree. It’s nothing more than a good pr piece for the administration. I give the mayor credit for taking responsibility for lack of public input and not throwing his director under the bus for something the mayor as well as city council were in the loop.

    I don’t think you get as much public “under the bus” throwing as people think. The onus is on Director Kelsey to interpret the Mayor’s memorandum into action. Let’s hope over the weekend that the Director comes to the proper interpretation.

    #321332

    drew
    Participant

    myliftkk wrote >> I don’t think you get as much public “under the bus” throwing as people think. The onus is on Director Kelsey to interpret the Mayor’s memorandum into action. Let’s hope over the weekend that the Director comes to the proper interpretation.

    As a public memo, it does at minimum serve to reaffirm exactly who the mayor wants to be known as holding responsibility for the decision… and to express concern about the decision as it stands. Maybe not quite ‘throwing him under the bus’, but at least a good, hearty ‘this is your hot potato, buddy – own it’.

    Whether or not the metaphorical spud-scalded hands lead to a metaphorical mangling by public transport is entirely up to Kelsey.

    Ouch. I sure hope he sees the wisdom in a temporary halt to the rate increase.

    #321333

    deraj1013
    Participant

    The latest from the Dispatch…

    City stands by increase in parking rates

    #321334

    Bear
    Participant

    That’s unfortunate.

    #321335

    drew
    Participant

    deraj1013 wrote >>
    The latest from the Dispatch…
    City stands by increase in parking rates

    Holy hell, the amount of bullshit, misdirection, and outright lying is astounding! Look at this:

    “Kelsey said the idea first was made public in March, when Coleman and Franklin County commissioners announced plans for the new convention-center hotel. But the official news release made no mention of raising meter rates, and reports in The Dispatch and Business First mentioned “new parking revenue” and “Downtown parking revenue” as sources to back the bonds.”

    and

    “Legislation approved by the City Council in April referred to a “recent 2008 increase in parking-meter rates,” not to any pending increase in 2009. Coleman’s deputy chief of staff, Greg Davies, dismissed the wording as a typographical error. Rates were not increased in 2008.”

    and

    “Scott Peacock, a spokesman for Experience Columbus, said the group began hearing this week from members who thought Brown’s e-mail suggested an endorsement.

    “We definitely were never approached by the city to discuss or solicit our opinion, or endorse it, or anything at all,” he said.

    Brown said he was referring to Experience Columbus’ involvement in the hotel, not parking meters.”

    ———-

    I’ve never been so disillusioned by our city’s “leadership”. This is nothing short of an ongoing insult to the intellect of the voters.

    #321336

    Hmmmm…well maybe the mayor, Kelsey, and council lied or just didn’t say anything about that part. Wouldn’t that just be a real shocker!!! The only question I would ask to those who are mad is, “did you guys vote for these people?” and if so, “why”? There were probably other people running for those same offices.

    #321337
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    Another email from John:

    —————

    Mayor Coleman –

    Please tell us that the media is spinning your apology and related gestures in a twisted way.

    According to the media, though you apologized and indicated there were numerous interesting ideas the community has brought forward, you have no plans of halting or even slowing the meter reprogramming and implementation of the dramatic parking rate increases across Columbus.

    Prior to your letter to Director Kelsey, the director had tried desperately to divert attention from the decision making process by pointing vigorously to forming an advisory committee that would look (after the fact) at meter price zones, review pricing structure, review meter times and review aggressive ticketing. According to the media, all your letter did was mandate that the Director do what he had already publicly say he was going to do. According to the media, your plan remains to reprogram the meters as quickly as possible… force the meter change on Columbus… and then put on the merchants of Columbus the burden of proof that the rate changes are indeed detrimental to the development of the urban core.

    According to the media, the new way of doing business in Columbus is to sidestep due diligence and stakeholder input, ramrod arbitrary policies, deflect the vocal opposition until they wear down, and then ask to be trusted on the next issue.

    We do not believe this is the standard operating procedure of City Hall.

    Dan Williamson said. “The mayor signed off on this policy because it was the right one.”

    In that case, on behalf of the businesses of the Short North Arts District, we request the following:

    Your staff has adamantly said that ample funding decisions were considered before the parking meter rate increase was selected…

    · Please ask staff to provide the complete list of alternatives that were considered along with the studies conducted that eliminated each as viable

    Your staff has adamantly defended what would be Columbus’ new parking meter pricing structure…

    $3.50 to go to the YMCA on a Saturday (14 quarters to exercise). $4.50 to visit Tip Top for lunch and check out a couple of store windows (18 quarters to have a salad and quickly shop for holiday gifts).

    In Cleveland, parking downtown for these same activities would cost $1.50. In Cincinnati, $2.00. In Toledo, $2.00. In Lexington, $2.00. In Dayton, $1.20.

    · Please ask staff to provide the visitor studies that indicate parking demand in Columbus is so much greater than any of these cities, that our rates can easily be 50% – 125% higher with no ill effect on the businesses the meters serve.

    Your staff has said the rate increase of 50% was chosen because they used a 3% rate of inflation compounded annually over a 13 year period (the length of time since the last “citywide” rate increase, ignoring, of course, downtown rate increases in 2005)…

    Yet they were not able to site any examples of any other neighboring city that has arbitrarily evaluated parking meter rate changes in this manner

    · Please ask staff to provide the complete report along with supporting evidence from the studies to justify the manner with which they determined the 50% increase

    · Please ask staff to share the final report you signed authorizing the meter rate changes. Please ask them to include the sections on studies and stakeholder input.

    Your staff has said on television during council session: “We do not operate in a vacuum.” Implying ample conversations were held to gather stakeholder feedback…

    To date, not one constituent has been identified as having participated in any conversation whatsoever.

    · Please ask staff to provide the roster of stakeholders who were specifically included in conversations about unilaterally raising all meter rates by 50%.

    Please have staff clarify who was in favor and who opposed. Particular confusion appears to exist over this topic. Your staff has issued announcements such as: “”We talked to institutional groups with mass memberships like the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority and Experience Columbus rather than grass-roots groups, and that is our bad.” Later, they claimed that even though the reference was in a letter regarding parking meters, they had switched topics and begun talking purely about the convention hotel. This is an interesting twist, since everyone in the world has been involved in conversations about the hotel. Why would staff say the city only talked with institutional groups and not grassroots groups re: the convention hotel?

    Your staff has indicated that the city clearly announced back in March and April its intentions to raise parking meter rates (thereby giving constituents ample time to weigh in)…

    In reviewing stories in the Dispatch and Business First, we can find no mention of the city’s plans to raise parking meter rates. It appears that nothing was printed until the Dispatch announcement in October, at which time stakeholders became extremely vocal. That announcement indicated the decision was fait accompli and would take effect at the end of November.

    · Please ask staff to provide the press releases and public announcements that were issued prior to October that served as public announcement (and thereby opportunity to comment) and clearly stated the city’s intention to unilaterally raise parking meter rates 50%.

    Your staff has indicated that the rate increases had to be implemented immediately to begin gathering the $1.4 million in funds for the convention hotel. It was stated that the funds were needed by the end of 2010…

    Urgency was stated as the reason why the rates had to be increased at the launch of the ’09 holiday season when businesses compete most with suburban counterparts for consumer spending. Staff apologized for the horrific timing, but stated there was no alternative, time was of the essence. Reports from varying sources indicate, however, that staff may have exaggerated the urgency and that the funds do not have to be in place until 2012 or even 2013.

    · Please ask your staff to clarify the urgency they reported to council and the citizens of Columbus.

    Your staff is aggressively planning changes to parking meter rates, meter locations (including adding 2,000 meter to the current fleet of 4,300) and hours of operation that will ultimately generate $2.5 million or more in new revenue per year…

    Over the course of the next 10 years the new revenue will amount to $25 million or more. Yet the only impetus for the meter rate increases was to cover the $1.4 million fund for the Convention Hotel and $3.6 million in new meter heads. One-time line items totaling $5 million.

    · Please ask your staff to provide the budgetary reports that warranted a permanent rate increase and modifications that, combined, annually will extract $2.5 million additional dollars from the pockets of the very people trying to support the urban core… our customers.

    · Please indicate what the plans are for the additional funds. If no plans have been determined, please provide the rationale for charging customers higher than necessary rates to reach urban businesses.

    Hopefully the administration will be able to:

    · Demonstrate due diligence in considering alternatives to raising funds for the Convention Hotel,

    · Share reports that clearly indicate small businesses will not be affected by the steep meter increases,

    · Demonstrate that Columbus’ parking rates relative to other cities will not damage its reputation and accessibility,

    · Demonstrate that our city government does not “work in a vacuum” and that genuine stakeholder input was sought on an extremely impactful topic,

    · Verify that urgent legislation was paramount to meet funding deadlines,

    · Verify the clear public announcements that were issued in March and April as staff has claimed,

    · Demonstrate the permanent 50% increase was absolutely necessary not only to bring Columbus in line with standard parking rates across the state, but to meet ongoing budgetary demands that have been clearly identified.

    Finally, we again ask that you request a halt to the meter rate changes until the administration clarifies the issues outlined above and demonstrates that it acted with the utmost care and consideration for the constituents it serves.

    Before the burden of proof that the meter rate changes are detrimental to business is placed on the merchants of Columbus, the burden of proof that this administration acted diligently, openly and responsibly should be met. All we are asking for is review of the studies and conversations.

    Mayor, you publicly apologized for not including more voices in the decisions. You also stated that your goal is to use meters to help, not hurt our businesses. If the city does not have the studies, input and support to warrant drastic changes that undoubtedly impact visitor behavior, it would be reckless to trial-balloon business environment changes of this magnitude. By forcing the changes and then studying the impact, you would be clearly saying: “I have no qualms about putting my businesses in harms way, letting them suffer, and then, only under duress, listen to what they have to say.”

    Mayor, businesses are speaking now. Hopefully you will choose to listen to them now, before you turn them against you because they cannot afford to survive in downtown Columbus.

    Sincerely,

    John Angelo
    Executive Director
    Short North Business Association
    1126 1/2 A N. High Street
    Columbus, Ohio 43201
    614.299.8050 x13

    [email protected]
    http://www.shortnorth.org

    #321338

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    I’m so disgusted.

    If they want to work in a vacuum, I wish it were at least an honest vacuum.

    The folks spinning this b.s. are all earning six figure salaries and worse, they are public officials. I’ve spoken to scores of small business owners active in SNBA, CORA and DOC, folks are nothing short of outraged.

    Most of us are struggling to survive in this recession, the administration is entirely out of touch with the small business community.

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