Committee Approves Parking Study for Downtown, UWSP Areas
By Brandi Makuski
The Stevens Point Board of Public Works on Monday approved parking and traffic studies for the downtown area.
Mayor Andrew Halverson said the study will also cover other busy spots, including the areas surrounding UWSP, Ministry St. Michael’s and the former Mid-State Technical College building on Michigan Avenue.
“The parking situation is getting worse and worse everyday,” Halverson said. “It’s not going to get better.”
Halverson pointed to the new locations of MSTC and Great Lakes Higher Education in the downtown area, as well as a growing university population as some elements contributing to parking problems in the city. One large parking lot on campus- Lot X- will be removed with the university builds its new science building, which Halverson said was ideal for commuters and short-term parking, but those 300+ spaces will be tough to replace in that area. He indicated metered parking or limited parking times might become options for the city.
“The one thing we have to understand is its probably not the taxpayers’ responsibility to provide unlimited free parking for this many vehicles,” Halverson said.
The study will be conducted by engineering firm SEH, which the city has used before in the design of Well #11.
SEH returned a quote for the study at $62,424. Alderman Randy Stroik questioned where that money would come from. Halverson told the committee it would be “capital borrowing for 2015”.
Public Works Director Scott Schatschneider said as many as six stakeholder meetings and two public input will be held to bolster community involvement.
“There’s going to be a lot of engagement with the general public, a lot of time for folks to comment so no one feels blindsided, or like this is some kind of money-grab by the city or the department,” Schatschneider said. “There’s going to be a ton of effort in reaching out and getting folks involved from the beginning.”
The study still needs full Common Council approval, which will be considered at its Oct. 20 meeting, held at 7 PM in the courthouse.