Visitors to Dublin's Bridge Street District could start paying for streetside parking by using their phones if Dublin moves forward with a pilot plan officials say is designed to help ensure street parking is available for short-term use.
Dublin is planning to request proposals from companies for a parking app to be used in the Bridge Street District for a trial period of possibly six months, said Mayor Greg Peterson.
All parking in the city is free, said Sue Burness, Dublin's communications director.
Managing on-street parking is critical for restaurants and convenience-oriented retailers, said Terry Foegler, Dublin's director of strategic initiatives.
Without parking fees and enforcement, employees and residents occupy those spaces for longer periods of time, limiting use of the "prime" streetside spaces by customers, he said.
"The goal is to move those longer term on-street parkers into the many parking garages now conveniently located within the area," Foegler said.
Bridge Street's three garages are free, and additional garages to be built in the district will be free on the east side of the Scioto River, said Ted Orr, director of development experience for Bridge Park developer Crawford Hoying.
The initial pilot program for on-street parking could focus on key spaces along Riverside Drive, Bridge Park Avenue, Longshore Drive and Mooney Street, Foegler said.
The city isn't expecting the pilot to cost the city, Foegler said. Once fully operational, a parking-management system should be self-supporting.
After the trial period, the vast majority of on-street parking revenue such as fines and parking fees would flow back to the city, Foegler said. Still, drivers would receive warning tickets with no fines assessed during a transition period to ensure everyone is familiar with the process.
The city isn't looking to generate revenue by imposing a parking-for-pay system, Peterson said.
"That's not the goal," he said.
Rather, the city wants to ensure spots convenient to store fronts in the district are turned over regularly, Peterson said, and that garages also are used.
Peterson, whose Dublin City Council ward includes the Bridge Street District, said some business owners there have voiced concern about construction vehicles and business employees parking along the street and preventing loading and unloading.
"It's very, very hard to police," he said.
But a couple of employees at Bridge Street restaurants say they haven't heard any issues from customers.
Spenser Doolittle, assistant store leader with RAM Restaurant & Brewery at 6632 Longshore Street, said he hasn't heard any complaints about parking. Spots are accessible, he said, because of the garages.
"I think everything's been pretty good, actually," he said.
Aaron Peacock, bar manager with Local Cantina Dublin at 4537 Bridge Park Avenue, also said parking appears to be OK. The garages are never full, and staff and customers have never complained about not having spots, he said.
Crawford Hoying development director Matt Starr said the company is supportive of a paid on-street, mobile-based parking system in downtown Dublin because efficient turnover of on-street parking spaces helps facilitate retail activity.
"Bridge Park can serve as a pilot study for this system, with hope that the findings allow for an efficient rollout throughout all of downtown Dublin when the timing is right," Starr said.