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City leaders prohibit camping at La Crosse bus depot, MTU shelters



Municipal Transit Utility (MTU) shelters are the latest places in La Crosse where camping is being prohibited.

The city’s Board of Public Works voted Tuesday to outlaw camping on mass transit property, which includes bus stops and the Grand River Station.

Mass transit director Adam Lorentz said during the meeting that the situation is starting to get out of hand.

FILE – La Crosse city busses at Grand River Station on Jan. 30, 2023 (PHOTO: Brad Williams)

“We’ve noticed an influx in just different camping materials,” Lorentz said. “For example, this last weekend, our security had to stop a box spring and mattress from coming into our busway where people sit and wait for buses.”

City council member Rebecca Schwarz, who sits on the public works board, said the proposal was not easy to vote on, because of the continuing need to provide shelter for many people.

“This idea of removing the encampments entirely from our city? I just want to remind folks it’s the last step” on a plan to find shelter for the homeless, Schwarz said. “Because we don’t have the services in place today to shelter everyone in our city.”

Lorentz added that the policy is also aimed partly at avoiding confrontations at shelters. The board vote to ban camping on mass transit property was unanimous.

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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  1. Bob N.

    January 17, 2024 at 6:38 am

    See how easy it is? To end vagrancy…just don’t allow it. Do you think the government will ever catch on?

  2. walden

    January 17, 2024 at 8:24 pm


  3. Jymmer

    January 18, 2024 at 1:38 pm

    I’m sure I’m not the only to think of or suggest this but, how many empty bldgs are there in LaCrosse….Kmart, Shopko, etc??
    It seems a no-brainer to me that at least one of them could be utilized, temporarily, to give shelter to the Homeless.
    Yes, I understand there’s a lot of logistics involved in something like that but, seriously, would it be any more than whatever already in play?
    City government, churches and citizens could step-up to help….seems to me it’s the LEAST that this community could do.

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