Paid Parking in Our Parks

Paying to park in a Park

As the saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures, but this presents what many consider a paradigm change for our parks system.  Imagine having to pay to park each time you go to a dog park, play golf, take your children swimming, play a game of tennis or soccer or baseball, take your kids to a tot lot, attend a picnic, enjoy a beer garden, or simply sit and observe nature.  These are only some of the occasions when you would be required to pay a fee to park your vehicle in one of Milwaukee County's beautiful parks.

Since the inception of our once envied Park System we have enjoyed unfettered access to OUR parks whether on foot, bike, or motorized vehicle.  Now the politicians who represent us are reversing that course. There's no doubt that we will still maintain full access to parks, but free access will only be by foot or bike.
 
You may be thinking that it probably won't affect you or your park but POP has recently received a listing of potential parks and parkways that are being considered for paid parking.  I am attaching this list so you can see for yourself that this scheme may be far reaching, beyond only the Lakefront parks that were under consideration years ago for the same proposal.
 
When this unfortunate idea was presented by our County Executive in his version of the 2018 budget we thought there was no way the County Board would go along with it.  Sadly, they did.  To make matters worse, they did not include any working capital to accomplish this travesty.  A small work group made up predominantly of County employees has determined that they will probably have to award a contract to an outside vendor that can invest in the necessary infrastructure and provide ongoing management of this scheme. 
 
It's interesting to note that the City of Chicago did the same thing a number of years ago for their city-wide street parking.  They now receive only 10% of all parking revenue derived from parking.  The other 90% stays with the parking vendor.
 
If the Parks Department signs an equally bad deal, it means that the budget goal of $1.7 million in revenue would require $17 million in parking fees, enriching the parking vendor immensely, while we are left funneling coins into a meter.
 

Please get the word out!  Let's have a strong showing at the meetings!  The future of our parks may be in danger!

Again, we ask that you contact your County Board Supervisor and the County Executive's office to voice your opposition.  The following link will take you to the County Board web page where their contact information is available:  http://county.milwaukee.gov/CountyBoard?docid=7708
 
To contact Chris Abele click here:  http://county.milwaukee.gov/CountyExecutive
 
In addition, there are two upcoming meetings scheduled where citizens will have the opportunity to offer their comments on the subject:
 
1. County Board Parks Energy and Environment meeting scheduled for 9am on Tuesday January 23rd at the Milwaukee County Courthouse room 201
 
2. A public input meeting on Thurs, January 25th at 5:30pm at Gordon Park, 2828 N. Humboldt Blvd.
 
POTENTIAL PARKS TO BE AFFECTED