Marina parking crunch has city weighing options

Municipal lot may be set aside for marina tenants
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press Staff

A small parking lot at the corner of Lake and Jackson streets near Port Washington’s lakefront may be reserved for marina tenants on weekends this summer.

The Common Council last week reviewed the proposed ordinance, which was recommended by the Harbor Commission, whose members said it would help ensure there’s adequate parking for marina tenants during the busiest times of the year.

The proposed ordinance would limit parking in the lot on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from June 15 through Labor Day to marina tenants.

Ald. Mike Gasper, however, objected to the limitations.

“This lot is not just used by marina tenants,” he said. “The condos there use it a lot. It serves as overflow parking for Newport Shores.”    

Given the fickle weather, Gasper said, “There are going to be some weekends when it’s going to be empty.”

He suggested the city install parking meters and allow marina tenants to park without plugging the meters. Other motorists could then use the lot if they paid the meters.

“It would give us a little more flexibility in times we don’t have a lot of marina tenants there,” Gasper said.

The city could remove some meters from the marina parking lot and move them to this area, he said, eliminating the need to buy meters.

But Ald. Mike Ehrlich noted that marina tenants want guaranteed parking spots, something that the ordinance would help ensure.

But Gasper noted that parking studies done for the city have indicated that issues arise when parking lots are set aside for exclusive uses. Opening the lot up to more users would help ensure there’s enough parking for everyone, he said.

Ald. Jonathan Pleitner said the city should approve the ordinance and limit the parking this year but monitor the situation. The ordinance can always be changed for next year if it’s required, he said.

“I’d like to see this pass for this summer,” he said.

Ehrlich concurred, saying “We’ve got to see what it’s like this year. If it’s an issue, we can change it.”

City Administrator Mark Grams, noting that July and August are the busiest months, said officials can keep an eye on the use of the lot earlier in the season and adjust the limits if needed.

Aldermen are expected to vote on the proposed ordinance when they meet Tuesday, May 1.

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