Harrison West Parking Permit Consensus

Perry and 4th avenue permit parkingRepresentatives from the Harrison West Society, the Short North Civic Association and the city of Columbus Department of Public Service met on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 with a representative from Turner Construction and area residents to discuss the permit parking request for parts of West 4th Avenue and Perry Street. Short presentations by the permit petitioner and other stakeholders outlined the concerns of those in favor of the proposed change to permit parking and of those opposed to the change. You may recall that residents on West 4th and Perry requested the parking restrictions as a result of a marked increase in noise, litter, and disruptive and illegal behavior since construction began on the new OSU Medical Center.

Kristen Easterday, HWS President, opened the meeting by explaining the proposed permit parking request and indicating that the meeting’s goal was to reach a consensus solution that would address the concerns of all parties. The permit petitioner, Jamee Zucal, spoke after Easterday. She restated the reasons why residents on the affected streets requested the change and outlined the current plans for the OSU Wexner Medical Center expansion. A fact sheet provided by the OSU Medical Center (full report) offered additional details, including:

  • The Medical Center expansion began in 2006.
  • Averaging 700 per day, the number of laborers on the job is currently at its expected peak.
  • Construction is due to be completed by the end of 2014.
  • The Medical Center expansion is being managed by Turner Construction, who is responsible for hiring and overseeing subcontractors.
  • Contractors and subs can park on campus if they purchase a permit.
  • The majority of spaces available to contractors and subs are in non-proximity lots; a university-supplied shuttle running every 10-15 minutes brings workers from the remote lots to their job sites.
  • Some laborers work under contracts that specify that they be reimbursed for the cost of parking.
  • Ohio State approached Battelle twice about contractors leasing parking spaces in the largely empty Battelle lot at the corner of West 5th Avenue and Perry. Both attempts were unsuccessful due to Battelle rental policies.

On-Campus Parking

  • In July 2012, 900 student parking spaces near the Medical Center were repurposed for faculty/staff parking.
  • The planned relocation of Cannon Drive will eliminate a faculty/staff lot that currently holds 1,800 spaces. The relocation is projected to begin in late 2015 or early 2016.
  • Construction is beginning on the north residential district. The project will include the demolition and construction of dormitories on and around High Street, Lane Avenue, Woodruff Avenue and Tuttle Drive. Messer Construction is managing the project.
  • The university currently has no plans to add additional parking to campus.
  • Wexner Medical Center is reviewing a recommendation that all new hires use non-proximity parking.

Keith Keeran from the city then spoke about the parking study his department conducted as part of the permitting process. He indicated that West 4th and Perry exhibited some of the highest out-of-area parking ratios he’s seen; well above 25% of the cars parked on those streets during the study time (8 a.m.-4 p.m.) belonged to nonresidents. Keith also answered numerous resident questions about how permits are obtained, what they cost, and how they can be used.

Charlie Egbert from Turner Construction followed Keeran. He indicated that Turner Construction and OSU are aware of the issues that have been raised by the neighbors and are addressing them with their staff and subcontractors. Egbert emphasized that he and his team take these issues very seriously and are trying to be good neighbors during the construction. While Turner doesn’t want Harrison West residents to feel that they’re being asked to police the area, Egbert did suggest that it would help him to enforce his company’s policies if residents took photos and recorded license plate numbers of offenders. Turner will then be able to identify and address problem workers. (Concerned residents can contact Harrison West Society President Kristen Easterday at president@harrisonwest.org, with any information to provide to Turner.)

Easterday then opened up a general discussion, and several neighbors expressed their concern that adding parking restrictions would only cause the problem behavior to spill over onto neighboring streets. In response, neighbors offered several possible adjustments to the permit application, and the city agreed to allow amendments to the existing petition request to try to alleviate the spillover issue.

After much back and forth, the group agreed to amend the original petition as follows:

  • Parking will not be restricted on the west side of Perry.
  • Residents on the following streets can add their streets to the petition if 60% of residents on each street sign a petition to that effect within 60 days of January 9, 2014:
    • Michigan Avenue between West 5th and West 3rd Avenue.
    • Oregon Avenue between West 3rd and West 4th.
    • Vermont Place between Perry and Michigan.
  • Nonpermit parking will be restricted to three hours between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The city will provide the Harrison West Society with the proper petitions, and the society will work with Harrison West neighbors to obtain the signatures. If you’re interested in volunteering to help circulate petitions, please contact Harrison West Society President Kristen Easterday at president@harrisonwest.org


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