Free parking - it's a rarity around Cleveland. But then again, so is parking in general.
One parking haven we can always count on is the free parking lot behind the West Side Market in Ohio City. Correction - could count on.
Paid parking will begin at the West Side Market beginning Tues., February 27.
— Sarah Phinney (@sarahphinneytv) February 27, 2018
The parking lot will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. The first 90 minutes are free between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., with an additional $1 per hour after the initial 90 minutes. The most amount a parker will have to pay in one day is $10. The business day ends at 3 a.m., which is when the $1 per hour rate begins.
Parkers will be required to take a ticket when they enter the lot. When they leave, they will be able to pay by credit card at the columns as they exit the lot, or by cash or credit at the Pay on Foot machine.
Uniformed parking ambassadors will be available when the new paid parking rolls out to help customers with the equipment.
West Side Market Cafe owner and West Side Market Tenants Association president Jimmy Traynor says vendors have had trouble getting their customers inside. Some people take up parking spots for hours without consequence, forcing others to drive around in circles.
“It’s a very good thing not only for us, but for the neighborhood,” said Traynor.
Don Whitaker has been in business for 27 years selling fresh pork and poultry. He doesn’t think there will be any issues for customers.
“Everyone’s like ‘Yeah, we can get out of here in an hour and a half',” said Whitaker. “No one seems to have a problem with that.”
Other vendors dislike the time limit. They tell News 5 the market is all about building relationships. They don’t want their customers to feel restrained by time.
Some of the funds from the paid parking will help finance capital improvements at the market. It's unclear what the money will be used for right now.
The City of Cleveland says the West Side Market parking lot has been improved to add 100 spaces and lighting. A portion of the funds made from the paid parking will be used to repay bonds used to finance the lot improvements, as well as capital improvements to the building.
The city originally announced the plan to make the lot a paid parking area in November 2017.