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Parking shortage scatters trailers throughout downtown PDF Print E-mail
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Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 31 May 2017 17:48

Port officials search for solutions as problem of accommodating fishermen to get worse with sale of city lot

    Drive through downtown Port Washington on a weekend morning and one thing is evident — fishermen are launching their boats at the marina by the droves.
    Their trailers can be found parked throughout the downtown, a situation that has prompted the city to look at parking alternatives for these long rigs.
    Those alternatives include making changes to the marina parking lot to allow more of the trailers to park there and perhaps designating a nearby city-owned lot for marina parking, Harbormaster Dennis Cherny said.
    The parking situation is only likely to get worse in the coming month as the city closes the car-trailer lot at the east end of Washington Street to move two sewer lines — something being done so the city can sell the property for development in July, permanently ending its use as a parking lot.
    “Once that’s gone, we’re going to have to redesign the parking lot we’re now using for single cars,” Cherny said.
    But, he said, the fishermen have proven adept at finding places to park their rigs.
    “They just go where they can find parking,” he said, noting there are more than 100 spots in the marina lot. “They don’t even ask us anymore. If the lot here’s full, they just keep driving until they find a place to park.”
    There is parking available at the Ozaukee County Administration Center parking lot on weekends, Cherny said, but “they choose to go where it’s closer. It’s a question of what’s available.”
    The marina parking plan calls for the city to convert some of the single-car parking into flexible spaces, used by car-trailers in the morning, when fishing traffic is brisk, and by cars later in the day when the fishermen have left.
    “We think it would solve the problem,” Cherny said.
    The city is also looking at using a nearby city-owned lot for marina tenant parking, which would handle overflow traffic, he said.
    “Then the multi-use (marina lot) plan would work out much better,” Cherny said.
    Those changes could be implemented “very soon,” he said.
    Cherny said this year’s parking issues have been exacerbated by the fact that “fishing has been fantastic.”
    “People are bringing in their limit in an hour or two,” he said.
    And instead of fishermen going out early and then heading home, opening up parking spaces at the marina, Cherny said anglers have been going out on the lake throughout the day to take advantage of the good fishing.
    “It’s good for us,” he said, “but I know it’s tough on parking.”
    Combine the good fishing with people’s inclination to get out on the lake as soon as they can and you have a busy marina. Cherny said Tuesday there have probably been about 1,000 boats launched during the last couple weeks, and more than 300 during the Memorial Day holiday.
    People have been patient, Cherny said, adding he hasn’t heard any complaints from fishermen or residents.
    That’s likely helped by the fact police aren’t ticketing fishermen if they park their rigs in downtown, he said.
    “They (police) are being considerate of the fact we have a problem,” Cherny said.
    Police Chief Kevin Hingiss said officials have asked the department not to ticket trailers as long as they’re parked legally.
    “We’re trying to work with the fishermen,” he said. “As long as they park sensibly — they’re not blocking a driveway or crosswalk, for example — we’re not going to give them a ticket.”
    But even though parking issues have taken center stage recently, Cherny was philosophical about it.
    “If this is a problem, it’s been a problem for a long time,” he said, noting the situation has occurred frequently in recent years. “This is nothing new.”

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