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Columbus Removes More Parking Meters In Shift To Contactless Payment

Visitors in the Short North will soon be able to pay for parking with an app.
Nick Evans
Columbus is taking out parking meters in the area around Columbus State and shifting to mobile pay-only zones.

Starting Monday, the city of Columbus is removing nearly 200 parking meters from the area around Columbus State Community College as part of a larger shift away from the devices.

The city will be taking out around 700 meters in total and changing the parking spaces to mobile pay-only zones. People without smartphones can also call a number to pay for the spaces.

“Most important is that we can now offer a more contactless payment option for our customers,” says Robert Ferrin, assistant director of parking services for the city.

Ferrin adds that it also allows them to be more flexible and save money on the maintence of the meters. 

Ferrin says the pandemic emphasized the need for such a system.

“This was on our roadmap for 2020," Ferrin says. "We did accelerate it based on COVID. And as we’re seeing in other communities around the country, the move towards asset-light contact has certainly moved quicker because of COVID."

The program is currently focusing on areas around Columbus that have low occupancy.

“So we’re looking at areas that are not in front of retailers, they don’t experience high in-and-out turn over. They’re more appropriate for mobile pay,” Ferrin says. “Most times when people park in these areas, they’re parking once, and they’re parking for 5, 6, 7 hours.”

Other areas the city is targeting with this program include Goodale Park, Rich Street in the east part of downtown, and Jefferson Avenue.  The city will evaluate how it goes before possibly expanding it to other areas.

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.