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Group to Decide How to Spend Downtown Parking Meter Revenue

Brent Warren Brent Warren Group to Decide How to Spend Downtown Parking Meter RevenuePhoto by Brent Warren.
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The city is in the process of setting up a benefit district that will allow revenue from parking meters Downtown to stay in the area and be fed back into transit and other mobility improvements.

It’s a model that has already been established in the Short North, where a committee made up of neighborhood leaders and area commissioners makes recommendations to the city about how the money generated there should be spent.

Since the new Short North parking rules were established last year, a total of $2.6 million in parking revenue has been generated in the neighborhood. After the city’s implementation and enforcement costs are subtracted, about $600,000 is left – of that, a little under half went to a contract with the Short North Alliance to implement a parking validation program, provide marketing service, and to establish an employee benefit fund that offers bike share and ride-hailing discounts.

There is still another $300,000 left, and the Short North benefit district committee, along with the city, is currently working to determine how that money will be spent.

The update on the Short North program comes from Robert Ferrin, the city’s Assistant Director for Parking Services, who spoke to the Downtown Commission yesterday about new parking rules and the plans to establish a benefit district Downtown

When asked how much revenue might be generated for use Downtown, Ferrin said it could be $250,000 a year or more, but stressed that at this early stage providing a reliable estimate is difficult.

“We anticipate, over time, that it will grow,” he added, citing the number of buildings going up Downtown on lots that once held off-street parking. “As more surface lots go away, rates will eventually increase.”

Ferrin said the money could be spent in any number of ways, including to subsidize the popular C-Pass program, which provides free bus passes to some downtown workers. Other possibilities include a direct payment to the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) to extend service or improve frequencies on certain lines, or supporting more mobility demonstration projects, like last year’s temporary bus lanes.

The committee, which will include representatives from the Downtown special improvement districts as well as a member of the Downtown Commission, will be formed in late spring or early summer.

For more information on the city’s parking plans, see www.columbus.gov.

Related Article: Amphitheater Among Items Approved by Downtown Commission

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