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Student sounds off on city’s plan to charge for parking around UW-L, WTC

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Another city committee could vote Monday night to approve a pilot program to charge for on-street parking in certain areas of La Crosse.

The $1-per-hour parking would be enforced just around the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Western Technical College.

Andy Kaminsky is a somewhat non-traditional UW-L student. The 23-year-old went to WTC for awhile. Took some time off to work and save some money. Now he is going to UW-L, since he can afford classes again.

Kaminsky isn’t sure how many students even know the city is thinking about charging for parking around the campuses. He said there was, maybe, an email from UW-L Chancellor Joe Gow but he couldn’t remember.

For the students that do know what’s going on, however, they are, of course, not happy about it. They also feel like they have no say in the matter.

“The less financially stable students, we’re going to do our best to not have to pay more money then we already have to,” Kaminsky told WIZM. “At UW-L, (on campus parking) basically is sold out before the semester and it’s still expensive. It’s still $180 to $200. That’s a lot to cough up.”

The city’s pilot program would charge those around UW-L and WTC for up to four hours.

“It sucks,” Kaminsky said. “We’re not a big city. We just aren’t. We’re not like Madison or Minneapolis, where we really need these sorts of programs.

“I live downtown and half the time, even downtown has plentiful parking, unless it’s weekends or there’s an event.”

Kaminsky and other students feel like they’re being picked on, since the program is happening around those two campuses. The city has, however, discussed charging around Gundersen Health System on the south side, too, so as to negate that argument.

Regardless, Kaminsky doesn’t see it solving the problem of residents in that neighborhood not having a place to park, anyway.

“I don’t think this is going to necessarily really limit the amount of parking in front of houses,” Kaminsky said. “They’re just going to be moving their cars more. There’s going to be the same parking problem, I think.

“It feels like we’re catering to this neighborhood over and over again at the expense of other citizens in the town.”

The Neighborhood Revitalization Committee meeting is set for 6 p.m Monday at La Crosse’s city hall. The “Consideration and Possible Action on Parking Benefit District Ordinance” is the only thing on the agenda.

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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