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Work continues on OTR parking permit plan

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Cincinnati officials are continuing work on a plan to bring residential parking permits to the city's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.  

Council's Neighborhoods Committee heard Tuesday about the latest proposal.  

One change is the price.  The original plan called for the permits to cost $300 a year.  That has now been reduced to $108 annually.  There would also be a lower rate of $18 a year for people in rent subsidized housing.  

Mary Rivers with Over-the-Rhine Community Housing says she's still concerned with that part.

“Some of the units are subsidized, the rents are subsidized,” Rivers said.  “But not all affordable housing units have subsidized rents.  

The hand full of residents who addressed the committee want a flat rate of $30 a year, similar to residential permit programs in Pendleton and near Cincinnati State.  

OTR resident Peter Hames said the plan needs more work.

“This plan is in essence a stop gap measure,” Hames said.  “It will not solve the parking issues in Over-the-Rhine that exist today much less 5 years from now, 10 years from now.  We really need to stop and think about what we want the future of Over-the-Rhine to be and I think we can do better.”

The area for the residential parking program would be bounded by Central Parkway on the west and south; Sycamore on the east and Liberty on the north.  

There would be about 400 residential permit spaces in the neighborhood.  Transportation and Engineering Director Michael Moore says there would also be about 200 open spaces without permits or meters.

“That would provide opportunities for folks who work in Over-the-Rhine in the restaurants,” Moore said.  “Folks who generally get there for their shift in the mid-afternoon and stay till very late.  It would afford them the possibility to be able to park, and to be there into the evening without having to go back and feed meters.”

That part of the latest plan drew the most questions from members of the Neighborhoods Committee.  

“I would actually feel much more comfortable if these were also manager under some sort of umbrella,” Simpson said.  “Just because I do think you’re going to have people who abuse these spaces.”

The implementation of the residential permit program could also mean higher parking meter rates in the neighborhood.  Right now it is $1 an hour, and it could go to a $1.25 an hour in some areas of OTR based on demand.  

City officials will likely attend the Over-the-Rhine community council meeting January 26th to discuss the residential parking permit program and get additional feedback.  

If a plan can be adopted, the city would like it to take effect in March.