Columbus, OH

Off-campus parking changes take effect, seek to reduce congestion

The Lantern
To better manage the parking situation south of campus between High Street and Neil Avenue, the city of Columbus implemented a new parking pass system in August. Credit: Becca Duncan | Lantern Reporter

With the fall semester underway and students getting settled into their off-campus apartment or house, the University District Parking Plan has changed the street-parking scene.

The plan, which took effect Aug. 9 , added paid parking spaces, adjusted meter rates, incorporated the ParkColumbus mobile app as a payment option and condensed the 15 existing University District permit parking areas. Katie Spangler, a third-year in education, said she knows what parking south of campus used to be like.

“I know a lot of my friends had to drive around forever trying to find a place to park,” Spangler said.

Robert Ferrin, assistant director of parking services for the city of Columbus, said the city implemented the new parking pass system in August to better manage the parking situation south of campus between High Street and Neil Avenue.

“We looked at a couple areas in the University District, including our high-demand parking areas, to determine if modifications to the parking system were needed to provide access for residents and give some more consistency around our parking,” Ferrin said.

Ferrin said the focus of this new plan is to prioritize parking access for residents, but emphasized that street parking is not meant for the long term.

“We very much aligned our rates with CampusParc rates to encourage folks to use garages or lots when they’re parking for longer periods of time,” Ferrin said.

Spangler said she believes using parking lots and garages can be a safer and easier option than street parking. She purchased a parking pass through Ohio State.

“I’m in the C-lot because I didn’t want to deal with the stress of driving around and trying to find a spot every night and getting towed or getting hit or scratched,” Spangler said.

It is too early to tell if the new parking system is beneficial, Ferrin said. After a six-month evaluation process, Ferrin said they will look at the data and determine if restrictions need to be adjusted.

While parking passes can help residents have a place to park, a spot is never certain, Ferrin said.

“People should understand that our permit is not a guarantee for parking,” Ferrin said. “It’s not a guarantee for street space, so we did price that accordingly.”

If students are interested in getting a parking pass, permits can be purchased here .

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