German Village Gazette

Area residents, businesses to work on parking solution

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Residents and business owners have less than a month to hammer out a mutually acceptable parking situation on Kossuth Street.

The Columbus Transportation and Pedestrian Commission June 11 tabled a request by residents to create permit parking along Kossuth between Mohawk and Fifth streets.

And, as of last week, residents and shop owners said they would attempt to work out their differences.

"I think the residents are willing to compromise," said Paul Carlson, a Kossuth resident who led the petition drive with his wife, Terri.

Geoff Schmidt, owner of Schmidt's Sausage Haus und Restaurant and one of the biggest critics of the proposal, also struck a conciliatory tone.

"I guess we can work something out," he said.

The Carlsons began the petition drive because their 16-year-old daughter, a student at Columbus School for Girls, often can't find parking near their house after coming home from extracurricular activities.

"It's a safety issue in our perspective," Mr. Carlson told the commission.

In order to be considered for the parking arrangement, 60 percent of residents in the affected area had to sign the petition.

According to the request, 2-hour parking would be in place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both sides of the street. Permit-only parking would then kick in between 4 p.m. and 2 a.m.

That request has rankled some members of the local business community, who say they rely on the 18 spaces for customers.

"I don't know why this is happening," Schmidt told the commission. "Nothing down there has changed in 40 years."

Tim Bibler, a member of the German Village Society, said instituting permit parking "is like dropping a pebble in the lake," moving motorists to nearby streets the village. Residents in those areas would then likely apply for permit parking.

"We're not solving the problem with this proposal," he said. "We're actually compounding the problem."

The request was supported by city engineering staff, which said a survey of the parking situation met the conditions for issuing restrictions: 75 percent of the legal spaces were occupied and 25 percent of the spaces were occupied by cars from outside of the district.

The commission meets again July 9, at which time it will approve, modify or reject the permit-parking request.

The commission's recommendation will be made to the director of public service, who will make the ultimate decision.

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