The City of Columbus Redevelopment Commission heard from the Parking Implementation Committee regarding improvements to the city’s parking at its regular board meeting Monday.
Parking is free downtown for up to three hours at a time, however many people violate the time limit. That’s largely due to the fact that Columbus has just one person on staff to enforce parking ordinances, and everything is hand-written.
City Council Member-At-Large Kenny Whipker is on the parking committee. He says the first order of business is for the city to acquire a piece of technology that would digitize the workflow for the parking officer.
“What we’re trying to do is through technology, we’re trying to enforce the ordinances that we have in place which is three hours, and getting compliance by probably increasing those fines significantly for people that have violations in those areas,” Whipker said.
Whipker says the technology would cost around $12,000.
Redevelopment commission member Russell Poling hopes the improvements will cut down on abuse of the parking privileges downtown.
“In this city, we have people that are repeat offenders, that are constantly overstaying their parking,” Poling said. “Parking is free downtown, in on-street parking, but it’s a three hour limit, and there’s people that sit there all day and they don’t care, because they can pay a 20 dollar fine.”
Heavier fines, boots and towing, and the possible hiring of a part-time staff member to assist with the workload were also proposed by the committee.
Whipker says he hopes the commission will approve the technology request soon. He says the other improvements suggested will probably be formally proposed for next year’s city budget.