When once free Oregon District parking lots went to paid systems, some people went nearly nuts.
Natalie Skilliter, a member of the Oregon District Business Association's board of trustees and the chair of its parking committee, said there are still free alternatives to paid lots that won’t send motorists in search for spaces into the Oregon District’s residential area.
The city of Dayton, the business association, Citywide Development and the Downtown Dayton Partnership have studied parking in the district for more than a year, she said.
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“We identified 300 parking spots (within) half a block away from the Oregon District,” the co-owner of Corner Kitchen said. “They are free and open and a lot of them don’t have any time restrictions.”
On-street parking signs have been added to some areas to make spaces more visible, Skilliter said.
WHERE IS THE FREE STREET PARKING?
🚗 Both sides of Wayne Avenue between Fifth Street and Bainbridge Street / Jones Street
🚗 Bainbridge Street near Dayton Towers and Franco's Ristorante Italiano.
🚗The Wheelhouse owned parking lot on the corner of Wayne Avenue and Fifth Street across from the Dublin Pub and Corner Kitchen.
🚗Stone Street between Jefferson Street and St. Clair St. near The Neon movies
🚗Fourth Street between Wayne and just beyond Walnut Street.
🚗Walnut Street between Fifth and Fourth streets.
🚗 Wyandot Street between Fifth and Fourth streets.
🚗 Hugo Street between Wayne and Bainbridge.
>> MORE: 7 downtown Dayton parking hacks
PARKING GARAGE CLOSEBY
Tony Kroger, the city of Dayton’s acting planning manager, said the 1,500 space Dayton Transportation Center Parking Garage is only about 730 feet away from the Oregon Express, the first bars in the district from downtown. There are fees to park in the garage.
The garage is one block East of the Dayton Convention Center on Fifth Street at Jefferson Street.
“A lot of it is a matter of perception,” Kroger said. “People walk that distance all the time.”
Oregon Express and the Trolley Stop on Fifth Street just before Wayne are about 900 feet apart by comparison.
Kroger said about $100,000 is being spent on lighting, public art and signage to change the perception that the garage is far from the district and to connect the areas.
ELEMENTS OF THE CITY’S STRATEGY
Signage on Wayne Avenue to indicate the presence of free on-street parking in the area east of the district (Bainbridge, Hugo, Walnut, Fourth. Also, Stone Street to the west of the District).
Already installed, 2017.
🚗 Transporation Garage Lighting improvements. Phase 1:
Approved by City Commission, materials on order.
Would light the mural on Fifth Street, install lighting of the Fifth Street sidewalk between the garage and St. Clair Street, and lighting of the Neon parking area.
Installation in 2017.
🚗 Signage improvements:
Large vinyl signage on the side of the garage to advertise the ability to park there.
Better lighting of the entrance area and sides of the garage.
Planned for 2018.
🚗 Other design strategies to connect the garage and district:
Additional signage, lighting, and public art in between St. Clair and the RR overpass.
Val Hunt Beerbower, a spokeswoman for the Downtown Dayton Partnership, says her organization is working with the city to come up with a flat rate for the transportation garage. As it stands, it costs $2 an hour to park in the garage with a maximum rate of $6 per day.
The popular parking lot at the southwestern end of the business district on East Fifth Street will begin charging $3 to park between 4 p.m. and 4 a.m. every day. Parking is free before 4 p.m.
It is also $3 to park in the lot behind Ned Peppers, the two lots on Jackson near Wayne and the lot on Fifth Street across from Salar Restaurant and Lounge on Fifth Street.
Beerbower said the $3 fee to park in the conveniently located lots might seem more reasonable when weighed against the cost of a night on the town in the district and elsewhere.
A craft beer can set you back $5 to $7 for instance.
Despite the uproar from some, Skilliter said there does not seem to have been a negative impact on business in the district.
“I think people are finding other places to park. I don’t think it is deterring business at all,” she said. “I think we will continue to see the parking lots being used more and more.”