The City of Columbus, Ohio, Division of Parking Services has announced that the implementation of Downtown parking meter rate recommendations to improve management of on-street parking access and availability will begin February 24, 2020.
The app, already available in neighborhoods including the Short North and Brewery District, will allow users to extend their parking time from their smartphone.
In addition, Parking Services will implement a simplified three-tiered rate adjustment and time limit structure at more than 2,800 Downtown parking meters to include:
- Value meters at 50 cents per hour with no time limit
- In-demand meters at $1 per hour with a 3-hour time limit
- High turnover meters at $1.50 per hour with a 30-minute time limit (75 cents for 30 minutes)
Implementation of the mobile pay app and rate changes Downtown may take a few weeks to complete after the February 24 start date.
“The City of Columbus is excited to implement the Downtown Strategic Parking Plan and to modernize how we provide accessible and equitable parking and mobility options to Downtown residents, workers and visitors during this time of tremendous growth,” said Jennifer L. Gallagher, Director of the Department of Public Service.
The Downtown Strategic Parking Plan provides a system-wide approach to bring on-street parking rates in line with off-street rates, streamline time limits and decrease confusion.
“We are providing a strategic approach to parking and transportation demand management Downtown that creates parking availability and turnover, manages congestion and distributes parking demand,” said Robert Ferrin, Assistant Director of Parking Services.
The meter rate adjustments and ParkColumbus app addition are among recommendations made in the Downtown parking plan.
Other recommendations include use of demand-based pricing and creation of a Parking Benefit District to reinvest some meter revenue into improving parking and mobility Downtown.
Parking Services will monitor and evaluate how the new rate structure is performing in the first six months of implementation and, if needed, consider adjustments to be responsive to the community and parking demand.
The division’s parking rules and regulations have been updated to allow for an hourly meter rate increase of 50 cents in locations where on-street occupancy is at 90% or higher.
The regulations also allow for an hourly decrease of 50 cents if average parking occupancy in an area is less than 30%.
Throughout the Downtown plan study and development, extensive community engagement occurred with stakeholders including Downtown residents, businesses, employees, the hospitality industry, government and higher education.
The comprehensive study looked at data and factors such as existing parking conditions, parking behaviors including occupancy and turnover, curb inventory, land use and mobility.
The Downtown plan was developed in Parking Services’ comprehensive Strategic Parking Plan initiative that also studied Franklinton, the University District and South of Downtown neighborhoods German Village, the Brewery District and South Side. Recommendations for those study areas are forthcoming.
IRS: Direct deposit fastest way to receive federal tax refund
With tax season beginning soon, the Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers that choosing to have their tax refund directly deposited into their checking or savings account is the fastest way to get their money.
It’s simple, safe and secure. Taxpayers can also get their refund deposited into one, two or three different accounts, if desired.
Eight out of 10 taxpayers get their refunds by using direct deposit. The IRS uses the same electronic transfer system to deposit tax refunds that is used by other federal agencies to deposit nearly 98% of all Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits into millions of accounts.
Direct deposit also avoids the possibility that a refund check could be lost or stolen or returned to the IRS as undeliverable. And it saves taxpayer money. It costs more than $1 for every paper refund issued, but only a dime for each direct deposit.
A taxpayer simply selects direct deposit as the refund method when using tax software or working with a tax preparer, and then types in their account and routing number. It’s important to double check entries to avoid errors.
The IRS reminds taxpayers they should only deposit refunds directly into accounts that are in their name, their spouse’s name or both if it’s a joint account.
By using direct deposit, a taxpayer can split their refund into up to three financial accounts, including a bank or Individual Retirement Account. Part of the refund can even be used to purchase up to $5,000 in U.S. Series I Savings Bonds.
A taxpayer can split their refund by using tax software or by using IRS Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (including Savings Bond Purchases), if they file a paper return. Some people use split refunds as a convenient option for managing their money, sending some of their refund to an account for immediate use and some for future savings.
No more than three electronic tax refunds can be deposited into a single financial account or prepaid debit card. Taxpayers who exceed the limit will receive an IRS notice and a paper refund will be issued for the refunds exceeding that limit.
The IRS also encourages taxpayers to file electronically. While a person can choose direct deposit whether they file their taxes on paper or electronically, a taxpayer who e-files will typically see their refund in less than 21 days. Taxpayers can track their refund using “Where’s My Refund?” on IRS.gov or by downloading the IRS2Go mobile app.
“Where’s My Refund?” is updated once daily, usually overnight, so there’s no reason to check more than once per day or call the IRS to get information about a refund. Taxpayers can check “Where’s My Refund?” within 24 hours after the IRS has received their e-filed return or four weeks after receipt of a mailed paper return. “Where’s My Refund?” has a tracker that displays progress through three stages: (1) Return Received, (2) Refund Approved, and (3) Refund Sent.
Whether through IRS Free File or commercially available software, electronic filing vastly reduces tax return errors, as the tax software does the calculations, flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information