Council considers different downtown parking options

Monroe Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Una Wirkebau-Hartt spoke to the Monroe City Council on Feb. 10, presenting data the chamber has gathered since implementing temporary parking restrictions in Monroe's downtown core.

The parking experiment, which began on Dec. 3, 2014, changed the majority of the downtown area parking spaces from a two-hour maximum to a 24-hour maximum. As part of the experiment, 11 spaces were temporarily assigned a 15-minute maximum, meant to facilitate quick in-and-out traffic in certain areas.

The temporary restrictions were established via a city resolution which is set to lapse on Feb. 25. After that, parking will revert to the two-hour maximum previously in place.

Wirkebau-Hartt decided to conduct the experiment after receiving feedback from building owners, residents of the downtown area and business owners, who overwhelmingly told her that the two-hour parking maximum was unsatisfactory.

"Above all, two hours does not work. Two hours works for maybe one or two businesses, but for the majority of the individuals, downtown two hours doesn't cut it. They would like to see four hours or longer,GÇ¥ Wirkebau-Hartt said. "The flip side to that is 24 hours doesn't cut it either. They don't like the 24 hours at all.GÇ¥

The 24-hour parking maximum has been problematic because residents of the downtown area tend to park in one place and not move for extensive periods of time.

Parking in the downtown area will be back on the agenda on Tuesday, Feb. 17. Items for consideration include implementing a new system incorporating two-hour parking, four-hour parking and 15-minute parking, converting to parallel parking and more. The council will also look at enforcement options.


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