“We are listening and responding to employee and resident concerns for garage parking options and are pleased to have a location not only for these groups but also for volunteers, residents and others who visit the downtown area,” said Kenneth Smith, parking division manager.
The garages downtown provide an affordable option as downtown meter rates increase – slightly– and hours of operation become Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays and holidays are still FREE.
Through a partnership with the Omaha Downtown Improvement District and Frontline Security, increased officer presence will be available for employees who work late evening shifts.
Park Omaha is announcing a one-time shareable code for use with the Park Omaha app. Use 115115 and receive $2 of FREE parking. Individuals can share this code with co-workers, friends, family and customers.
“Our goal is to provide additional options for our citizens and to make it an easier transition into this new program,” said Smith.
The average rate increase is 50 cents per hour in the Old Market (which equals an additional $1.50 for a 3-hour stay); and 25 cents per hour in all other downtown areas. Rates for the 10-hour meters on the edges of downtown will remain the same.
The new rates will be:
- 2-hour meters are currently $1/hour and will increase to $1.25/hour
- 3-hour meters are currently $.75/hour (Old Market area) and will increase to $1.25/hour
- 4-hour meters are currently $.50/hour and will increase to $.75/hour
- Most 10-hour meters are currently $.25/hour and will increase to $.50/hour
Instead of worrying about carrying extra change, downtown visitors, employees and residents with Apple or Android smartphones can download the FREE Park Omaha application to pay for parking – at any meter. The app also allows individuals to load their account to pay for parking and receive additional FREE parking credits.
As the City of Omaha considered changes to parking rates in downtown, the Douglas County Health Department studied parking from a different perspective – health. As part of a Health Impact Assessment (HIA), staff reviewed scientific literature, conducting interviews with business owners and developers and studied the health consequences of circling block by block to look for a parking space. The results are outlined in a Downtown Omaha Parking HIA summary report.
It turns out that circling for a parking spot can increase stress, contribute to air pollution and physical inactivity (because people walk less if they park right outside their destination). According to the HIA report, these health impacts can be minimized by the recently announced parking management changes designed to move traffic, free up on-street parking spaces and encourage individuals to park in a nearby garage or lot (for a more affordable price).
The map below shows an aerial view of downtown parking, the amount of garage and surface parking.
From a health perspective, if more people are walking around downtown it contributes to a more vibrant area, improves air quality and reduces the stress of trying to find a parking space.
New meter rates and hours of operation in downtown Omaha create an opportunity to examine all available public parking spaces. As part of an effort to develop a comprehensive parking management system, the City of Omaha’s Parking Division launched the Park Omaha Partners program – a shared parking option.
Business and private garage or lot owners can “rent” their unused parking spaces to the public and be listed on a clearinghouse of available parking options on the Park Omaha website.
Interested businesses or lot owners can “apply” online to become partners. Park Omaha staff will review the information. Once approved, it is entered into the City’s GIS system and it appears as a “pin” on the interactive map on the Park Omaha website.
Omaha owns and operates about half of the downtown parking spaces. The Park Omaha Partners program helps provide additional parking spaces to the public that may have otherwise been unavailable. Signage, including bright blue “P”s will be installed as a visual trail for people as they travel downtown and look for available parking places. Park Omaha Partner facilities will have signage to indicate hours, price and security measures.
The Park Omaha Partners program officially begins Oct. 13 to coincide with the implementation of new parking meter rates and hours of operation.