Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Commission to up parking rates

[media-credit name=’JEFF SCHORFHERDE/Herald photo’ align=’alignright’ width=’336′]parking_JS_416[/media-credit]The Madison Transit and Parking Commission passed a proposal Tuesday that will increase parking prices around the city of Madison.

All pricing and enforcement changes will be effective later this year, with no official date set as of now.

"Whenever there's a parking rate or bus fare increase, we have a lot of people speaking against it," committee member Noel Radomski said. "But I think it was a fair approach."


Passed by a 6-1 vote, all ramps — with the exception of the Overture Center Ramp — will see increases in the price of parking, with even more drastic pricing increases during times coined as "special events."

In addition, street meter enforcement will be implemented from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., starting an hour earlier and ending an hour later than before.

However, spending plans for the additional revenue gained from the increased rates remain to be seen.

According to Madison Parking Operations Manager Bill Knobeloch, a portion of the projected revenue will go toward a new city-assessed fee for 10 percent of the on-street gross parking revenue.

Knobeloch said that revenue will finance reconstruction of the Government East parking structure, the city's oldest ramp, and possibly the construction of a new parking lot in the middle State Street region, by the current Buckeye Lot.

The proposal's eventual approval did not come without opposition.

Instead of building a new lot, several speakers at Tuesday's meeting had different ideas of how to spend the predicted new revenue gained from the increase in parking prices.

"There is plenty of parking available downtown, it just seems that most people don't realize this," said Susan Schmitz, president of Downtown Madison Inc., a city organization that deals with downtown issues.

Schmitz continued saying availability of parking does not need to be improved, but the smoothness of the parking experience for downtown visitors needs work instead.

Schmitz said she believes the money should be put into a positive marketing plan, which would include increased and improved signage regarding the location of parking lots, as well as shuttles to transport parking customers from lot to lot.

"Parking is the first and last thing that people experience when visiting downtown Madison," she said. "The experience should be more of a positive one than it currently is."

Ald. Robbie Webber, District 5, agreed with Schmitz's ideas, and also proposed a few plans of her own.

One such plan suggested creating an online inventory of available parking, where people would be able to go on the Internet before leaving their residence, check which lots still had vacancies, and plan their trip accordingly.

"Instead of building new ramps, we should focus on improving our current use of ramps and downtown transportation," she said.

Troy Thiel, a member of the Madison Downtown Coordinating Committee, said he believes the approval of the proposal could significantly hurt independent businesses in downtown Madison.

"People from the West and East sides of Madison will tend to stay more at their ends of the town to avoid the parking tax and longer meter hours," he said. "This action will not be good for the downtown businesses."

Tim Rupinski, a state employee, also disagreed with the proposal and noted state employees who park every day received a one percent increase in wages over the last two years, and will receive a five percent increase in wages until 2007.

And an increase in ramp prices, according to Rupinski, would hurt state employee income.

"Besides the Overture Center Ramp, all other ramps will be increasing their prices from 21 to 29 percent," he said. "Basically, the approval of this proposal would act as a pay cut to all state employees, as well as other regular parkers."

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