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Unlike La Crosse, Winona public parking is not a problem … for now



In the last 40 years, La Crosse has gone from one downtown parking ramp to six.

However, not every city in the region is in love with ramps.

Winona, Minn., has no downtown ramps and a parking consultant said the city won’t need one for some time.

Winona community development director Lucy McMartin said her city wants to avoid the expense of building a parking deck. Then again, she added, La Crosse has actually been used as an example for Winona to follow.

“We had a comparison made to La Crosse saying that they’ve built ramps for parking and Winona should follow suit,” she said. “Before we would undertake that amount of investment … we probably want to take a look at what are some other measures that we can implement to help manage the existing parking.”

There is at least one significant difference between the two cities. Despite building lots of ramps, La Crosse city leaders can’t get local drivers to break the habit of wanting to park directly in front of their destination.

In Winona, consultants say “front-door parking” is not practical and suggests that people should get used to parking and walking.

The Winona study found that, on the days consultants counted parking spaces being used downtown, more than 40 percent of the public spaces were still open at peak times.

The study also said Winona might need about 400 new parking spaces in the next 10 years but spaces could be found without resorting to building a ramp.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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