City tries new parking limits on Winnebago Street

Due to the requests of local businesses and community organizations, Madison Parking Utility is testing out the removal of parking meters on the 1900 block of Winnebago Street.

The trial began in November of 2011 in response to area businesses such as The Mermaid Cafe, Designs by the Bay salon, and Flagstad Flower Shop with support from Marsha Rummel, the alder for the area.

“Some business owners felt that the cost of parking discouraged customers from patronizing their establishments,” said Bill Putnam, an engineer for the City of Madison Parking Utility.

A few of the businesses were not affected by the parking meters, but wanted to support the small businesses around them who sought the change.

"I’m a city planner so I do not have clients coming here very often. However, I am in support of the small businesses on the street being able to get their customers in and out,"  said Alta Planning and Design’s Ann Freiwald. " Meters really didn’t belong there."

According to Putnam, parking demand on this block has been low. During the trial, the block’s meters have been replaced with two-hour limit zone parking signs between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

“Street parking meters also generate revenue for the Parking Utility. Revenue from the parking meters was insufficient to cover the cost of purchasing and maintaining them, so this was a burden on the Parking Utility,” Putnam said.

If the trial’s results show that the two-hour limit parking is ineffective, the potential courses of action will be discussed with Alder Rummel. The city will either return to the previous parking meters or extend the trial.