La Crosse council member pushes for a month less of alternate-side street parking

Council Member Gary Padesky calls alternate side parking in March money grab

La Crosse Council Member Gary Padesky is trying to make alternate-side street parking end a month early.

“I understand November, December, January and February. But March?” said Padesky. “There’s no reason to be having people come out at night to move their car from one side of the street to another.”

So he’s proposing legislation that would end alternate-side parking on March 1 rather than April 1. Padesky, who has experience clearing roads, said any snow in March would likely melt quickly and wouldn’t pose too much of a problem to street crews clearing the snow.

“In March the chances of a major storm that are going to take three or four days to clean up are few and far between,” he said.

However, Mayor Tim Kabat said there can still be plenty of snow in March.

“I realize in the March that we’re experiencing now where it seems like spring is here and we’re not going to get any more snowfall,” Kabat said. “There’s still opportunities for that.”

According to the most recent data for La Crosse from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, the city receives the most inches of snow in November through March, but tapers off from 7.2 inches in March to 2 inches in April. 

Padesky said motivation behind issuing alternate side parking tickets in March can go beyond weather.

“I hate to say it, but a lot of people in city hall do it for other reasons,” he said. “They think it’s just a way to make it easier for everybody to clean the streets. There’s some people in council who enjoy this because it’s a money grab.”

The mayor says police have issued fewer alternate-side tickets the past two years compared with 2013, down to 11,695 this year and 11,308 last year, from 15,026 in 2013.

“That tells me right there they’re using some discretion,” said Kabat. “If it was truly a money making effort I think we’d be looking at issuing a lot more tickets.”

Regardless, Padesky’s proposal has started a conversation.

“I don’t really see a big need to change, but if there is some compelling arguments I’m all ears,” said Kabat.

“It absolutely is an unnecessary worry this time of year,” said Padesky. “Let’s help out the hardworking taxpayers of the city of La Crosse and give them a break.”

The first and second fine for alternate-side parking costs $10, but goes up with more offenses, reaching $40 for six or more tickets in one season. The fines also double ten days after not paying them, and again after 45 days.

Padesky’s legislation will be up for a vote in April.