City to evaluate Washington Ave. parking district

May. 30, 2014Heights Leader

The Washington Avenue Parking Benefit District (PBD) is working well, but adjustments are necessary going forward, said district chairperson Phyllis Thomson.

“We’ve seen a better quality of life for the neighborhood, and that’s been the main objective,” Thomson said. “We have fewer complaints about parking from people in the neighborhood.”

Last June, the city added parking meters for 253 parking spaces along Washington Ave. to assist with parking and traffic issues in the neighborhood.

After expenses, 60 percent of the meter revenue goes to the Benefit District, and the other 40 percent goes to the city.

The expenses are made up of 54 meters, operational costs and the cost of two enforcement officers.

The PBD went before the City’s Quality of Life Committee and asked to update the program, so they will have more of the revenue.

Council member Ellen Cohen, the Quality of Life committee chair, said she’s pleased with the program so far.

“Its primary goal was to help ease the congested parking situation along that corridor and since the program’s inception…my office and the Administration & Regulatory Affairs Dept. have noted a reduction in these types of complaints from residents in the area..I’m looking forward to hearing the Parking Benefit District Advisory Committee’s recommendations for these projects.”

The city council is expected to vote on whether to approve the changes next month.

“If will take until 2022 to use any of the revenue, if we leave it like it is,” Thomson said. “We need to reach $250,000 before we can start on projects (including) adding sidewalks, street lighting, security and landscaping.”

Citations for not paying at the parking meter result in revenue for the city, not the PBD.

In its first year, revenue was $125,000, but Thomson is optimistic with nine new businesses opening on Washington Ave.

“Parking meters are being used where all of the business is but they’re not being used in the blocks in-between as much,” Thomson said.