When the city of La Crosse first rolled out plans to charge to park on the streets in certain neighborhoods, we wondered how long it would be before the plan was extended to other city streets. Well, that didn’t take long. In order to diffuse complaints the plan to begin charging to park on the streets in areas around UW La Crosse and WTC unfairly targeted students, the city is considering running the pilot program in areas around Gundersen Health System as well. And now we are hearing of plans for yet another, separate plan to charge people to park. It would be called a parking benefit district. If adopted, specific neighborhoods, primarily the same campus neighborhoods, would charge an additional, perhaps annual, fee to park on streets there. The money collected would pay for city improvements in the area. For example, sidewalk improvements, landscaping, lighting and signage. The Mayor argues there is no such thing as free parking, but there has been free parking on city streets for the 30 years I’ve lived here. Suddenly, they want to charge us not one fee, but two, for parking in some La Crosse neighborhoods. How long before they charge us to park on every city street? Why not just put up a toll booth at both ends of the city and charge everyone who tries to enter? It sounds about as welcoming as the city’s idea. Me? I’ll pass. Sounds like a good time to get that bicycle out and get a little exercise on my way to work.