Covington prepares for potential parking challenges with new Mainstrasse development

WCPOPublished: October 16, 2017Updated: October 18, 2017
Published: October 16, 2017Updated: October 18, 2017

For Mainstrasse small business owner Joe Johnson, it's been a lot easier to get to work in 2017 than the year before. "If I could park relatively close (to work), it was a rarity," he said. "I usually arrive to work 30 minutes early to make sure everything's ready, but I would have to arrive 45 minutes early to fight for a parking spot." Johnson is one of multiple business owners who came out in opposition to a pay-to-park plan the city implemented in the entertainment district in 2016. They said the parking plan was discouraging would-be customers from visiting the neighborhood. At Covington Mayor Joe Meyer's suggestion, the city commission overturned that plan, originally championed by then-mayor Sherrie Carran. Now, stakeholders like Johnson are staring down the barrel of another potential parking nightmare. Upcoming construction on the River Haus development at the corner of Fifth and Main streets -- considered the gateway into Mainstrasse Village -- means the neighborhood is set to lose a chunk of its currently available parking.  Namely, roughly half of the free parking lot located adjacent to the property will go away. The good news? In the long term, River Haus will eventually include a covered parking facility with more than 300 parking spaces. In the short term, the city has taken steps in order to mitigate the problem. That's according to Covington's development director and city engineer, Mike Yeager. He said the city has partnered with a number of nearby businesses with larger parking lots in order to offer temporarily spots to replace those lost. The city also plans to reconfigure some traffic patterns in the neighborhood in order to accommodate extra parking, Yeager said. As early as next week, Seventh and Eighth streets will be made one-way, in order to allow for parking on both sides of the street, creating dozens of new parking spaces, Yeager said.

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