OVER-THE-RHINE, OH. (FOX19) - Changes could be coming to the area’s residential parking permit program after several restaurants claim it’s costing them business.
Cincinnati city officials implemented the Special Parking Permit (SPPA) program earlier this year.
It took away 500 free parking spaces and turned them into residential parking only.
Residential parking permits cost $60 a year or $25 for low income residents.
The owner of Taft Ale House, Dave Kassling, says something needs to happen soon in order for OTR businesses to survive.
While the program started Jan. 1, parking enforcement began Feb. 18, and in its first week of full enforcement 232 tickets were issued.
"In order for businesses in OTR to truly survive we need to solve this parking issue and I think the pendulum swung a little too far in the resident's direction," said Kassling.
OTR resident Jodi Stacy told city leaders this week that the new parking program needs some time before they decide to change it.
“I was asked by my suburban friends how I liked living downtown I would tell them it was great except the parking was a nightmare,” she said.
Kassling says he wants to work with residents, but he doesn't want his customers to be discouraged from coming to Taft's Ale House because they can't find parking.
Downtown employees say they are also frustrated saying they have to walk further to and from work because they have park further away sometimes.
Kassling, along with several other OTR business owners, have been pushing for change to the program at City Hall.
During Wednesday’s meeting, there are two items on the agenda that will be discussed including:
- Employees who make under $50,000 a year will be eligible for a parking permit of their own
- Creating “flex parking” where 200 spaces could be used by the general public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Kassling says the “flex parking” option doesn’t really help OTR businesses who mainly make their money during the evening hours when bars and restaurants get busy.
“There are ten other restaurants in a quarter mile radius of us that are off the main drag and they all have the same issue," he said. " Now, a lot of the residential only parking is in front of their storefronts and they go unused a lot of the time.”