Parking Issue Now University’s Responsibility

The newly installed parking meters at Prairie and Prince Streets was the main issue at last night’s Whitewater Common Council meeting. Councilwoman Stephanie Abbott brought up concerns at the meeting that the information that was presented on the June 7, 2012 council meeting was not the same as what the UW-Whitewater Parking Services ended up doing.

According to Abbott, the information presented at the June meeting initially proposed making parking on the streets more permit parking to make more room for faculty and commuting students. She was also concerned about the metered spot near 164 N. Prairie St. since it is in violation of a municipal ordinance.

The University took out the meters in the Andersen lot this summer and moved them to the street which ended up creating 147 additional permit stalls.

The parking meters that were moved on to Prairie Street cost one dollar an hour while the meters on Prince Street cost a quarter an hour. There is a concern that students are more inclined to park farther away from campus in residential areas to avoid the inconvenience and the price of the new meters.

Abbott said, “What is most critical at this point is recognizing that the university is now the decision-maker on this issue.”

She plans on contacting the Vice Chancellor of Administrative Affairs, Jeff Arnold, and the Director of Parking Services, Bob Brecklin in regards to the meters and to request compliance with the municipal ordinance that governs the meter stall near 164 N. Prairie St.

Abbott said “I do not anticipate further council action unless the university should somehow fail on its part to uphold the memorandum of understanding.” and “I was satisfied, primarily because my main goal was to bring to light that a large group of citizens were not satisfied with the actions of the university as it relates to the leased parking spaces on Prince and Prairie Streets.”

Other points:

• The five finalists for the city manager position have been announced: Cameron Clapper, Edward Gil de Rubio, Richard Johnston, Jeff Kooistra, and Paul Moderacki.

The finalists will be at a public reception from 4 to 5:50 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21 at the Whitewater Innovation Center. A public forum will then be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Whitewater Municipal Building where the candidates will be asked questions.

• The city’s Parks and Recreation Director Matt Amundson brought up the need to replace the problems with the air conditioning units that had problems over the summer. The council recommended that they replace the units which are past their life expectancy of 15 years.

• Karen Coburn, a member of the city’s Planning and Architectural Review Commission brought up the issue of the emerald ash borer which is 20 miles away and is currently killing ash trees. Coburn said that ash trees must be removed or injected in order to save them. There will be a forum on the ash borer Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. in the Timmerman Auditorium with more information.

The forum will cover the history, biology, and management options of the emerald ash borer. The speakers will be Bill McNee, Gypsy Moth Suppression Coordinator of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Dr. R. Chris Williamson, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

• The council approved the extension of the Milwaukee Street Project.