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Residential parking changes proposed in La Crosse

3 public hearings scheduled in May

Residential parking changes proposed in La Crosse

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - The Neighborhood Revitalization Committee is asking for the public's input on several proposed changes to residential parking regulations in La Crosse.

The Committee says the proposed city-wide change to parking regulations is to reduce the volume of commuter parking in La Crosse residential areas.

Here are the proposed changes:

  1. No overnight parking (11 p.m .to 7 a.m.) on city streets without a residential parking permit.
  2. Year round alternate side parking from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. . The Committee says this eliminates parking availability in La Crosse neighborhoods for individuals who are not residents of that neighborhood. It also accommodates year-round street sweeping/cleaning as well as plowing snow during the winter. Alternate side parking allows better emergency access to neighborhoods during nighttime hours
  3. All city streets will be zoned "2-hr parking" between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. Fines for parking violations will be increased to $30.00 for a tier one violation. The Committee says combination of 2-hour parking and increased fines discourages long-term commuter parking in neighborhoods. Contractor permits will be available to allow for parking in neighborhoods on a case-by-case basis. 
  4. Two (2) parking permits per residential parcel will be issued free of charge. Permits will be valid only for the city block upon which that parcel is located. A third (3rd) permit will be offered at a cost of $50.00/year. No parcel shall be issued more than three (3) permits.

There are three public hearing scheduled on the proposed changes:

  • Tuesday, May 13 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the UW-L Cartwright Center, 1741 State Street (Parking for the event is available in commuter lot C-1 behind the Roncalli Newman Center.)
  • Tuesday, May 20 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Black River Beach Neighborhood Center, 1433 Rose Street
  • Thursday, May 29 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Southside Neighborhood Center, 1300 S. 6th Street

Whether you are a homeowner or a student on one of the three college campuses in town, these proposed parking changes will affect everyone in the city.

The new proposals are supposed to help limit the amount of vehicles on the streets, but some students say there really isn't anywhere else for them to go.

"It can go anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes," said Bridgette Klinkosh, a junior at the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse,

"It takes 10-15 minutes to try and find a spot," said Trent Cummings, a junior at UW-La Crosse.

If you ask anyone on the UW-La Crosse's campus, they'll tell you parking is a nightmare.

"It kind of stinks that you have to look all over the place to try and find a spot," said Cummings.

"It's actually pretty bad so we end up parking about a half mile away off campus in residential areas," said Klinkosh.

However, that's not always the best idea.

"Neighbors would call to get our car towed because they didn't like us parking front of their house," said Klinkosh.

"They are using the neighborhood streets as parking lots; it changes the dynamics of the neighborhood and make it less livable," said Charley Weeth, president of Livable Neighborhoods.

Weeth has lived a block off campus for more than three decades.

"Seven o'clock in the morning, the cars start showing up and the doors get closed and the beeps go off as people hit their locks," said Weeth.

Weeth said there isn't a day that goes by where his street isn't littered with vehicles.

"There is parking on campus, they don't want to pay for it, they prefer free parking," said Weeth.

"I don't want to pay $300 for a parking pass for a semester." said Klinkosh.

But everyone knows someone has to pay for it.

"They aren't paying for this, we are. That's the other side of the equation, the property owners are the ones that pay for the streets, not the commuters," said Weeth.

The students are aware of the concerns.

"If I had a family out here I would probably want a really nice quiet area to raise them in," said Klinkosh.

"But at the same time we have to get to school some time and there's got to be somewhere for us to go," said Cummings.

If everything goes as planned, a new set of regulations could be put into place this summer which would give the colleges time to inform their students about the changes before school starts in the fall.

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