Madison’s downtown parking rates will likely be raised at the onset of Jan. 2002 and again in 2004. This movement, proposed by Madison Parking Division, would assuredly affect several Madison area commuters and other patrons of the downtown area.
Madison’s residents were given a chance to voice their opinions Tuesday night on a proposal that would significantly increase parking rates at several downtown area parking utility-operated lots, ramps, and on-street meters. The rates would likely be raised anywhere from 15 cents per hour at facilities like Capitol Center North and Brayton Street lots, to 25 cents per hour at the Civic Center and central-area street meters.
The proposed increases would serve several purposes, the primary one to allow the raising of sufficient cash reserves needed for expansion of parking facilities in the downtown area.
“Basically we need to be able to provide future parking, and right now we don’t have the funds to do that,” said Madison parking manager Robin M. Williams.
In addition to the parking need caused by commercial expansion in the downtown area, further need will be established when a number of commuters who rent parking spaces from private homeowners in the downtown area will be ousted from their agreements by a city ordinance restricting this type of situation. The increased revenue will provide necessary funds for the control and maintenance of the current facilities and to ensure the Parking Utility’s cash flow is equal to inflation.
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said he would not support the increases unless Williams agreed to provide free overnight parking in downtown ramps during snow emergencies in the legislation.
Opposition to the proposed increases was voiced by a number of community members at Tuesday night’s meeting, who felt that the proposal was unfair to downtown area commuters.
“It’s my choice to drive downtown, but I don’t think it would be appropriate for the city to take advantage of this choice by excessively raising rates,” said George Mickelson, a state employee who commutes to the downtown area.
Those for whom daily commuting is a necessity would be most affected by the rate increase, as many workers may be forced to comply with the hourly pay structure used at the majority of downtown facilities. For a lot of state employees, the proposed parking increase would assume nearly all of the wage increase that they would be getting next year.
This and other topics of rate specifics were discussed at the public hearing, and it was noted that the proposed increases are entirely open to revision as to their time and magnitude.