Parking board trying to ‘simplify’ parking ramps

The price to park in downtown La Crosse ramps could soon be changing.

The city’s parking board is throwing around an idea to raise the fee as a way to simplify things for drivers.

Depending on the time of day and day of the week, the price to park in a ramp in downtown La Crosse varies. The city’s Parking Utility Board says people are left scratching their heads because of it.

“One of the items we discussed was the pervasive complaint the cost of parking in the parking ramps is confusing to most consumers,” said James Cherf, District 7 City Council member.

To try to make things less of a headache, the parking board is talking about setting the price to park at one flat rate.

“For 24/7, go to $1 per hour so it would be much simpler to understand,” parking board member Dan Wettstein said.

One dollar an hour to park in downtown La Crosse is still very inexpensive, Wettstein said. Especially compared to other Wisconsin cities. And he said the first three hours of parking would still be free.

“We want to keep the three-hour grace period because we feel that’s important. Because the merchants, the restaurants, the professional buildings, the taverns, all of those companies, all of those businesses have got to compete,” Wettstein said.

“What we’ve been hearing clearly is that there seems to be a consensus that the three hours free parking in the ramp is important,” Cherf said.

The parking board has heard that having so many signs and a long list of rules and regulations seems to be causing more problems than parking solutions, but it feels by putting just one fee in place the confusion will go away.

“This will by far make it simpler,” Wettstein said.

It’s important to note that this is not a proposal yet, this was just idea discussed.

The Parking Utility Board could use the extra revenue if the rates were to increase. The current revenue is not enough to offset the cost of maintenance on the ramps.