LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – When drivers park downtown, they’ll either have a city-issued card or they’ll be required to take a ticket—as city ramps will now charge drivers for parking downtown.
After drivers are done using the ramps, drivers will be required to use their ticket at the exit pay stations with coins, credit or debit cards—but no cash will be accepted.
When asking drivers on Tuesday morning about the new pay stations being activated for the first time in the downtown Market Square and Main Street Ramps, it is safe to say people had their fair share of questions and concerns.
“I think that the new system is a bit confusing with the whole ‘three hours free’ system as opposed to just having a flat rate for every hour,” driver Amanda Jackson said.
Some local workers who use the parking ramps said they believe the pay stations are a good way to generate money for the city of La Crosse.
“I think we have a parking issue downtown and it’s another for the city to make revenue, so I think they (the city) just kind of jumped on the bandwagon,” Jackson said.
Other downtown workers said the ramps will affect downtown businesses. “I work right downtown and it’s going to affect downtown businesses a lot. But the city is growing, you know. You go to the (twin) cities, you expect to pay parking. You go to Chicago, you expect to pay parking as well,” driver Abby Merrill said.
Jackson, Merrill and other drivers who used the ramps on Tuesday said they’ve expected paid parking in La Crosse parking ramps for awhile.
“It’s pretty common in bigger cities so I’m surprised La Crosse didn’t move to it sooner,” Jackson said.
Jackson though still has questions regarding parking rates in the ramps, and other local residents have additional concerns.
“If I can figure out how the card reader works that’d be great. It’s my first try at using it today,” driver Kurt Pfuhl said.
“I think for traffic at 5:00, it may be an issue,” driver Michelle Guillien added.
If the city can answer these questions and concerns regarding downtown ramps, drivers feel they shouldn’t encounter too many bumps and turns moving forward.
Pay stations for the La Crosse Center parking ramp is scheduled to be activated next week. In all three downtown ramps, unless residents have city-issued card readers, the first three hours inside the ramp is free for the public.
After three hours, drivers will be charged 75 cents per hour for each additional hour. Drivers will be charged no more than six dollars per day.
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