Driving to German Village for a cream puff could get a little trickier under Columbus' newest parking proposal for the neighborhood. Residents of a two-block stretch of Kossuth Street are asking the city to require parking permits after 4 p.m., touching off a dispute with local businesses and restaurants.
Driving to German Village for a cream puff could get a little trickier under Columbus’ newest parking proposal for the neighborhood.
Residents of a two-block stretch of Kossuth Street are asking the city to require parking permits after 4 p.m., touching off a dispute with local businesses and restaurants.
The residents argue that they can’t find parking spots during dinner rush, while restaurant owners say they need open parking for their customers.“It’s a touristic area,” said Geoffrey Schmidt, the president of Schmidt’s Restaurant und Sausage Haus. “Schmidt’s caters to that area. I think the city of Columbus needs to be concerned with people who come into Columbus.”
The conflict in German Village is the latest dustup between businesses and residents of Columbus neighborhoods where parking is scarce. Columbus is trying to resolve a similar dispute in the Short North and Italian Village, where there are far more parking permits than available spaces. Once that problem is resolved — supposedly this summer — Columbus officials could look at the rest of the city, said Rick Tilton, assistant director of the Public Service Department. “We can’t do multiple parking studies at once, because we just don’t have the staff resources.”
Opponents of the Kossuth Street proposal said parking needs to be evaluated throughout German Village instead of on individual streets. Permits already are required on several German Village streets, including a swath to the north that includes several businesses.
But businesses argue that other permitted streets don’t restrict parking until 6 or 8 p.m.
Kossuth Street resident Paul Carlson said at a meeting last week that he petitioned the city to start permit parking at 4 p.m. because his daughter can’t find a space when she returns home from after-school events after dark during the winter.
“There have been muggings in the area,” he said. “It’s a safety issue, in our perspective.”
Carlson’s petition asks for permits to start at 4 p.m. between Mohawk and S. 5th streets. A city study found that there are 18 spaces for the eight addresses on those two blocks.
City staff members recommended that the permitted area be approved at a Transportation and Pedestrian Commission meeting last week.
But the commission, an advisory board for the Public Services director, tabled the topic for 30 days.
Businesses and residents were asked to come up with an alternative plan. If no compromise can be reached, the commission likely will vote on the current proposal in July. The parking problem was exacerbated when the city banned parking in some alleys this year to make way for refuse trucks, said Chris Pack, general manager of the Old Mohawk restaurant, which borders the proposed permit zone.
The Old Mohawk does not have a parking lot and relies on street parking for customers and employees, Pack said. Schmidt’s has a lot with 50 parking spaces, but that’s not enough for customers and employees, Schmidt said.