The Greater Cincinnati Port Authority on Aug. 23 acknowledged that it will increase enforcement when it takes over Cincinnati’s parking meters. But the quasi-public development agency says its goal is to encourage people to pay up, not raise revenues that will make the parking lease more profitable for the Port Authority and the private operators it’s hiring.
During a much-awaited presentation, Port officials explained the lease will involve more enforcement officers and more aggressive tactics. Most people don’t pay for parking meters they use, and higher levels of enforcement could reverse that trend, according to the Port.
To allay some concerns, Port officials stated that Xerox, which will operate the city’s parking meters under the lease, won’t get revenue based on enforcement.
Port officials also reemphasized that parking meter enforcement hours in neighborhoods — meaning outside of downtown and Over-the-Rhine — will only last until 6 p.m., instead of 9 p.m. as originally called for in the plan. Downtown and Over-the-Rhine meters will still be extended to 9 p.m., although some areas on the edges of downtown, such as Broadway Street, are exempt and enforcement will only run through 6 p.m. in those places.
The change for neighborhood meter hours will presumably lower how much Cincinnati gets from leasing its parking assets to the Port, but officials weren’t ready to unveil exactly how much money the city will get. Previous city estimates put the lump sum at $92 million and annual installments at a minimum of $3 million, but that was before the Port’s changes.
Supporters of the parking lease argue it’s necessary to pay for development projects that will grow the city’s tax base. Opponents argue it will cause parking rates and enforcement to skyrocket and hurt businesses and residents.
The Port will now finalize contracts, update the financial model for the lease and vote on the bonds and contracts that will complete the deal. If all goes as planned, the Port’s system will be in place by April.