To make up for a policy that did not sit well with city residents, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, is now taking steps to fast-track the installation of credit card reading parking meters around the city.
Recent increases in parking fees have angered a lot of Columbus residents. They felt that the hikes were prohibitive and uncalled for. However, city officials explained that part of the proceeds of new fees would go to the construction of a new hotel the city is building in Short North.
The city government slated installation of modern card readers late next year because they said funds raised from new parking fees would first be appropriated to the hotel they were constructing. Residents were enraged upon hearing this bit of news, which prompted the city mayor to look for quick solutions.
Upon consultation with officials, Coleman said that the city will set aside $500,000 for the immediate purchase and installation of new parking meters. The mayor's initiative was also timely since some parking meters located in Downtown, German Village, Short North and Arena District would need to be replaced soon.
Parking fees were increased last November 30 with rate fees varying depending on location. For example, highly commercialized spots were comparatively more expensive than places with less traffic.
Residents were not happy with the fee hikes saying that this scheme was designed and implemented with little or no public participation. Some groups said that if the city wanted to raise funds through parking fees, they could have just extended the parking fee schedule way into the latter part of the evening.
Business owners who were interviewed voiced strong opposition to these fee hikes and said that installing new parking meters would not lessen the burden of motorists and vehicle owners. Many approved of this planned installation of credit card reading meters, but did not feel the same way with fee hikes.
One businessman suggested that the city adopt a program in Chicago where kiosks would be placed in strategic locations to collect parking fees. In this said program, drivers can also use credit cards which would make the process more convenient and easy for motorists. He added that it would also add beauty to business areas since there will not be any need to put up parking meters every few meters.
However, Columbus already did a test run of this scheme in 2007, but the results were far from desirable. A lot of motorists complained of long queues and some of the machines malfunctioned because of heavy use.