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Get ready to plug the meter more often in downtown Milwaukee

A white parking enforcement vehicle and a bike that reads "Parking Services" are parked next to each other in a parking lot.
City of Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Common Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted a policy that will extend the time when parking meters are active downtown to 9 p.m., which now goes for Saturdays as well.

In a Feb. 16 meeting of the Public Safety and Health Committee, Parking Services Manager Thomas Woznick said the change will affect roughly 4,000 meters, the vast majority of which were enforced from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. He went on to explain the reasoning behind the adjustment:

“This is something we think is very practical and sensical. It will provide more access and availability for parking because those who choose to pay for it will be able to access it, and those who choose to do something else will go somewhere else — off-street parking, some other options. It’s better for traffic. It’s better for congestion patterns. It’s better for considering options for access and mobility and other transportation modes.

“And it will benefit us from a revenue perspective as well.”

In follow-up questioning, Ald. Scott Spiker from the 13th District asked about the potential revenue impact. Woznick cautioned about the many variables involved but estimated “several hundred thousand dollars a year. It might be more than that. It might be upwards of a million dollars a year.”

Woznick also pointed out that he and Commissioner of Public Works Jerrel Kruschke late last year contacted three business groups affected by the new policy: Business Improvement District 21, the Historic Third Ward Association and Westown Association. He told the committee, “They all understand the need for this, and they weren’t going to come before here and say they were going to support it because of the constituencies that they represent. But they’re not opposed to it.”

When asked by Spiker whether there was a reason Sunday wasn’t included in the change, Woznick said, “We submitted that as a separate file that didn’t come back before us today. But I hope that’s something we can bring back before you in the future.”

While this wasn’t brought up at the meeting, it’s worth noting the MKE Park app makes it possible to pay for parking from your phone without having to return to your meter.