In the near future, drivers may see parking meters popping up along major Bexley thoroughfares such as East Main Street.
There are 159 spaces on East Main Street where parking meters could replace the current time-restricted parking, Mayor Ben Kessler told City Council members at their Feb. 11 meeting.
Metering on-street parking could encourage drivers to get in and out and free up spaces for other drivers in the busiest and most visible locations,
according to a 2012 report, "Complete Streets," posted on the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission's website.
However, the same report acknowledges that parking meters can cause friction between the city and businesses and residents who expect parking to be free and convenient.
For example, the city of Columbus recently lifted the ban on parking at meters during morning and afternoon rush hour in the Short North along North High Street, in part because of requests by business owners who want customers to be able to park nearby at all times.
If Bexley decided to install meters along East Main Street, the meters would need to offer a time frame longer than 30-minute increments, which could frustrate restaurant patrons, moviegoers and other customers of local businesses, said Councilman Mark Masser, chairman of council's Service Committee, which is studying the issue.
"People have said, 'I don't want a 30-minute meter so I don't have to keep running out' " to feed the meter, he said. "That can be taken care of. (The city) can set (parking meters) for whatever time you choose."
Since Bexley hired a parking control officer last August, the officer has written $17,000 worth of citations, on which the city has collected $8,000 to date, Kessler said.
In addition to serving as a reliable source of revenue, parking meters also could help drivers avoid being ticketed or towed when parking in time-restricted areas, said Council President Richard Sharp.
"The meters can serve as a reminder to residents that they can spend a couple dollars on parking, or $90 for a tow," he said.
Masser said the Service Committee will continue to study the issue over the next few months and make a final recommendation to council.