Mayor offers new plan on Cincinnati parking

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CINCINNATI (AP) -- The city's new mayor is developing a plan to increase revenues from parking.

John Cranley's recommendations would expand the number of hours that meters must be fed, raise rates in neighborhoods and increase the number of ticket-writers, The Cincinnati Enquirer (http://cin.ci/1bn3ZzF ) reported. Cranley campaigned last year against a plan to lease out the city's parking system.

The proposals would raise net parking revenues from an estimated $6.2 million in fiscal year 2015 to $7.4 million by 2019, according to a report obtained by the newspaper. Cranley wants Cincinnati to keep command of its parking system, saying that gives the city flexibility. Previous city officials planned a long-term lease of meters and garages to the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development authority and its private partners.

"The main thing is we keep control of the rates and hours in the hands of the voters, so if we get too aggressive on enforcement, adjustments can be made," Cranley said. "Under the port's plan, we couldn't do that."

Among the proposals is adding five hours for downtown meters, going from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. to 8 a.m.-9 p.m., with rates staying at $2 an hour. Meters in neighborhoods would rise from 50 cents to 75 cents an hour. Meters would remain free on Sundays.

Cranley's other recommendations include tripling the number of enforcement officers by hiring 10 more. Parking tickets would stay at $45. The city would also add thousands of parking meters that accept credit cards.

Council member Chris Seelbach, who opposed the earlier parking plan, said he's not sure that Cranley's plan is much better.

"It's very similar to the original plan, except it keeps everything in the city," Seelbach said. "It still includes extending the meters until 9 p.m., which was one of my main objections."

The recommendations will go to the City Council's neighborhoods committee, and could go before the full council in two weeks.

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Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com