Parking problems in Clifton driving some people mad

By Dan Wells - bio | email

CLIFTON, OH (FOX19) - Having trouble finding a parking spot around UC?

The whole parking situation in Clifton Heights is frustrating to say the least.

For months, FOX19 has received complaints about cars being towed, people being ticketed and private parking lots demanding a pretty penny for a spot in that area.

Is it harassment? Unfair? Or just a plain old mess?

"You know you have a commodity and it's there and you put a price on it and someone chooses to come and partake of your commodity, that's fin. "If they don't, they don't," said John Dubois with Clifton Parking Services.

Then there is one particular situation that comes up again and again.

A guy standing in a private parking lot watching for cars to leave, and then immediately clearing the meter, even when there is time ticking.

People who park there say it's not fair. The business owners say it's just business.

These days, parking trouble seems to be the norm around Clifton Heights.

"It's almost a daily, weekly thing that people will come in here and complain," said Chris Flint, who works in Clifton. "People complain walking by in the street. I see it happen once a week, somebody in a huge dramatic scene about a car."

Flint works at West Clifton and Calhoun streets, and says he's not the only one who thinks the parking problems seem to be driving some people mad.

"I'm from California," said Dash Waterbury, a UC student. "I didn't know what it was like to live in Cincinnati and park here. Yeah, I got my car towed three times before I got cagey about it. It's just easy prey you know."

Now, other UC students and those who frequent the area say what really burns them up is "not only" a lack of public spaces, but what they call a very annoying private parking situation.

"The meters go up to four hours. It's 50 cents for every 15 minutes," explains Clay Usher, who works at the parking lock.

And if people leave early?

"If people leave early, the meters get reset. We don't allow piggybacks here," Usher said.

This small private lot belongs to the Clifton Parking Services.

"It's designed as a high turnover parking lot and the rates reflect that," said Dubois. "We don't want people here parking and going to class. This is a quick in and out parking lot."

But what really annoys drivers is that the owner has an employee who goes around clearing meters when someone leaves.

And, it's not much better for the guy who does the clearing.

"(I get) anything from getting cussed out to, 'That's not right' or just put their head down and shake," said Usher. "'Tough job for you.' It is. Just don't shoot the messenger."

His boss says it's just business, and it's all perfectly legal because it is a private lot.

The best advice is to read the signs, obey the rules and feed those parking meters whether you like it or not.