Ken Smith will be in charge of making parking in downtown and the Old Market more convenient and cost effective
For the first time Omaha has a person in charge of parking issues. Ken Smith comes from Lincoln where he oversaw parking in the Capitol City.
Smith will be tasked with making changes so that parking in downtown and the Old Market is less of a hassle. One of the goals is to encourage more people to use the eight parking garages in downtown.
City officials say reducing the cost to park in those garages, increasing accessibility and making them more visible will help free up more parking spots on the street.
The hiring of a parking manager was one of the recommendations made in a study commisioned by the city last year. City Engineer Todd Pftizer says the study indicated the city should not have more than 85 percent of the parking spaces filled in any given block.
He says Omaha's occupancy rate was 101 percent in the busiest times. Pfitzer says by next year downtown will have new credit card swiped parking meters.
Smith will be paid between $75-$80 thousand a year.