Westerville designates carryout, curbside pickup parking spaces

MARLA K. KUHLMAN
mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com
ThisWeek group

Westerville residents who need to make a quick stop at an Uptown business to pick up carryout and curbside pickup orders may park for free under a trial parking program.

City engineer Scott Tourville said several businesses approached Westerville to request on-street courtesy-pickup spaces for their specific business during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic shutdown.

"We wanted to provide spots in public parking lots in relatively neutral locations throughout Uptown that would help all businesses, so staff has designated a total of eight spots as 10-minute courtesy parking," he said.

The eight spots are in parking lots A, B, E and F and are marked with black signs.

Users are limited to 10-minute waits in the spots.

The special spots will be available through the end of the year, at which time the city will review use and compliance with the parking spots rules.

Based on coronavirus restrictions for restaurants and food-based businesses and carryout services, Tourville said, the city implemented the programs as quickly as possible, once officials became aware of the request from businesses.

"The spaces we delegated for customer pickup are all currently located in public parking lots," he said. "We wanted to select specific spots for pickup to hopefully ensure that there are spots readily available at peak times for a higher turnover use of the space and that can serve multiple businesses."

Joni Dickson, manager at Java Central Cafe & Roasters, 20 S. State St., said she hadn't heard about the program.

"We do want free parking for all of our visiting guests," she said. "We also want to make sure there is free and easy access for our guests to stop in for takeout orders."

Dickson said 10 minutes likely will not be enough time for ordering takeout, though, depending on time of day and items ordered.

Christa Dickey, Westerville community-affairs director, said the courtesy parking spaces for short-term carryout parking is a proactive program implemented by the city to accommodate the growing popularity of carryout and ride-share services to the Uptown area.

"It coincided with our 'smart' parking pilot, which is tracked by occupancy sensors embedded and installed this spring," she said.

Tourville said the city has data that indicates the courtesy parking spots are being used, and he has seen people using them.

Usage is being tracked by occupancy sensors that have been installed by Fybr.

"Fybr is a technology company we have partnered with to provide real time data on the location of parking in the Uptown area as part of a pilot program," Tourville said.

He said the occupancy sensors track real-time use of parking spaces.

"This tracks both occupancy and length of time that a space is available," Tourville said. "This information is 100% anonymous but does allow us to better understand how our lots are used and how much parking is or is not available at certain times."

He said the city would review the trial program in a few months and continue it as needed.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla