German Village Gazette

OSU to help seek parking solutions in '14

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

German Village officials will get some help when they attempt to tackle longstanding parking problems in the upcoming year.

Graduate students in city and regional planning at Ohio State University will assist the parking committee in a comprehensive overview of parking in the historic district.

"Our position is you're in a better position to solve a parking situation if you know what's going on," said Tim Bibler, chairman of the newly formed parking committee.

"And before you know what's going on you have to have an inventory to know what's there," he said.

Students, starting in January, will take a broad look at parking across the neighborhood, including areas with restrictions, those without and parking lots that aren't utilized during prime business hours, such as those at the Schiller Recreation Center and the Golden Hobby Shop, Bibler said.

The study should be complete by spring, he said.

Parking, or perhaps lack of it, has been a thorn in the side of a neighborhood trying to balance the needs of its residential and business community while maintaining a robust business climate.

Most recently, there was a petition calling for the elimination of all public parking 24 hours a day seven days a week on Fifth Street from Jackson to Sycamore streets.

The city conducted its first survey of the parking situation, eight times at various periods throughout the day, between July 12 and Oct. 1.

The survey showed that on all but one occasion, the percentage of "out-of-the-area vehicles" exceeded 50 percent.

At all times, the percentage of occupancy was 80 percent or higher on all but one occasion.

However, the parking committee asked the city to conduct a separate survey on adjacent streets.

That study, conducted at various times between Nov. 18 and 22, showed the number of empty parking spaces averaged less than 20 percent in the requested permit parking area and 65.5 percent on adjacent streets.

The city's transportation and pedestrian commission earlier this month recommended rejection of the restrictions.

The city's director of public service has the final say on the matter.

Months prior, there was a separate petition seeking parking restrictions on Kossuth Street between Mohawk and Fifth streets.

Mark Kelsey, then Columbus' director of public service, acting on the recommendation of the transportation and pedestrian commission, ultimately rejected the request in one of his final acts before retiring.

Bibler said often those restrictions simply move traffic to adjacent streets.

"It's like a puzzle: You move one piece, it affects other pieces," he said.

"You make one change, it has an impact on other streets."