Starting today, residents in Over-the-Rhine can apply for the neighborhood's coming residential parking permits.
Under the permit plan passed by Cincinnati City Council earlier this year, the city will sell an uncapped number of permits to OTR residents. The regular rate will be $60 a year — down significantly from the original proposal of $150 a year. Low-cost permits will be available to qualified residents (for example, those living in subsidized housing) at $25 a year.
There are about 1,290 spaces in the neighborhood. About 500 — all south of Liberty Street — will be permit spots.
Residents can apply online here, or at Cincinnati City Hall downtown (801 Plum Street, Room 425) from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The plan will cost the city about $180,000 in initial signage and other expenses, and about $75,000 a year to administer. Those costs would be covered by the fees from the permits.
The spots are needed because OTR has become increasingly popular as a destination, city administration says.
"Since 2003, the City of Cincinnati made concerted effort to revitalize Over-the-Rhine," reads a memo from City Manager Patrick Duhaney about the plan. "A combination of public and private investment has brought residents, businesses and amenities to the neighborhood... the success, however, has created new conflicts. With more people choosing to live, visit or work in OTR, parking spaces are at a premium."
Parts of Clifton, Columbia Tusculum and Pendleton already have permit programs, but those cost $30 a year.
Boosters say that the permit plan will ease parking worries for those who live in the neighborhood — especially those with low incomes who can't pay for expensive garage spaces. CityBeat spoke to some residents in 2016 who were hoping for permits because parking had become so difficult near their homes.
Residents have been asking for parking permits for almost four years. Mayor John Cranley has vetoed previous versions of a permit plan for the neighborhood twice, saying tax payers across the city pay for upkeep to the public roads in OTR and should be able to park on them.
One group not served by the permit plan — those who work in OTR. The neighborhood, which has a number of service-industry jobs, is already a tough place to park for those commuting to those positions. Earlier versions of the city's plan included so-called "flex spots," which would have been usable by drivers with and without the residential permits. That portion of the plan was dropped, however.