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Vote on OTR parking plan could come in two weeks

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WVXU
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A Cincinnati Council committee could vote in two weeks on a plan to set up a residential parking permit program in parts of the Over-the-Rhine.  

Legislation to enact the proposal could be ready by the end of this week for the Neighborhoods Committee to consider.  

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

Transportation and Engineering Director Michael Moore said some residents want to know why it does not go north of Liberty.

“This probably constitutes, probably by four or five times, as large a residential parking plan that we’ve ever tried to put in place before,” Moore said.  “We want to make sure we are biting off things that we can accomplish and get done.”

A permit would cost $108 per year, and some low income residents could buy one for $18 a year.  Right now the city is proposing the discounted rate for people who receive rental vouchers, food stamps or live a rent subsidized unit.  

But John Schrider with the Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio said that is not adequate.

“Not everybody gets food stamps and not everybody who lives in a low-income housing tax credit unit has a voucher, so they’re not technically subsidized,” Schrider said.  “We need more definitions, more categories of individuals who can qualify for the reduction in fee.”

Schrider will be discussing his concerns with city officials as a final ordinance is prepared.  

Council member Yvette Simpson said she is also worried about the low-income permits

“I think the more opportunities we give people to show that evidence the better it’s going to be and we don’t want to have a program that’s supposed to be inclusive that by its very nature excludes people,” Simpson said.  “I would love for us to try to come up with some sort of standard qualification, a percentage of poverty, a number that can be evidenced in a lot of different ways.”

There would be about 400 residential spaces in Over-the-Rhine.  In addition, there would be 645 parking meter spots and about 200 spots open to anyone in the area that would not require permits and not have meters.

“Whether that’s a bartender who’s going to work at one of the establishments on a Friday night, or a homeowner there who needs that space,” Moore said.

Moore said the city will be monitoring the program and talking with residents to find the “best balance” for the spaces.

If Council approves the plan it could be implemented starting in April.