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City Council: Parking prompts dueling petitions

City Council members voted Tuesday night to change parking restrictions on Park Street (between State Street and Bartosh Lane) from the year-round "No Parking 1 a.m. to 6 a.m." rule now in effect to an April-through-October restriction.

Park Street residents presented a petition in December asking for the change. They desire odd-even parking in winter months.

Their request conflicts with a 2003 petition in which residents requested the opposite -- asking the city to create the 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. restriction from Sept. 1-May 31. The city did, but applied the restriction year round to be uniform with the rest of the city.

Michael Bergervoet, a city engineer, said in a memorandum that to address the concerns of the December petition, his department recommends making the "No Parking 1 a.m. to 6 a.m." effective April 1-Oct. 31 (instead of all year). The citywide code for odd-even parking will apply during the other months.

Park Street neighbors shared different perspectives about parking along their street bordered by Glen Park, the Kinnickinnic River and student rental properties.

Jason Swenson said, "I'd like to keep the parking the way it is."

He said the 2003 change made a huge difference with on-street noise and trash. Parked cars also pose a hazard for residents backing out of Park Street driveways.

Tom Pechacek, whose son Tony presented the December petition, said on-street overnight parking is needed, especially in winter. He said fewer visitors to Glen Park during that time of year won't generate much trash, either.

Jeff Schoenik asked if the rule could be changed for part of the street since some want the odd-even and some don't. He said before 2003, people would move their cars late at night, often making noise. As it is, they don't come at all.

Council members discussed it, making the points: People all over the city deal with parking issues; it isn't illegal to get up and move a car late at night; and making different rules for part of the street would likely confuse people.

City Engineer Reid Wronski said some Park Street homeowners have changed since the first petition, and apparently, so have their parking preferences.

On another issue, Council Member Bob Ebert asked about the city's agreement to not automatically fill open positions but to review them. He said he'd like criteria or guidelines and that department heads should know the members' expectations.

Ebert said since the agreement, the council approved filling two library positions with few questions yet asked much of the planning department about its annual intern.

Most members agreed the process and questions should be consistent for each position. They'll review and act on a motion soon, possibly at their next meeting.