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Calendar parking gets another look

Superior's calendar parking ordinance will be under scrutiny during Wednesday's Public Works Committee meeting at 2 p.m. in Room 204 of the Government Center.

Councilor Ruth Ludwig of the 7th District is asking the committee to consider extending the amount of time residents have on Sunday to move their vehicles to the other side of the street for calendar parking. Currently, drivers have a four-hour window from 4-8 p.m.

Ludwig, who lives near the University of Wisconsin-Superior, said that since October a number of constituents have contacted her with concerns about warnings or tickets they have received.

Ted Pellman is one of them.

"The city is telling you that you have to be home at a certain time," he said, and it doesn't allow much leeway.

One Sunday he moved his car across the street at noon because he was going to be gone the rest of the day. Pellman said an officer handed him a warning while he was standing by his car.

Assistant Police Chief Matt Markon said the time frame has to do with safety.

"There's going to be a period of time on crossover day when cars are parked on both sides of the street," Markon said. "In places that does happen, the street becomes very narrow."

He likened such areas to an obstacle course. Although a squad car may be able to squeeze through, fire trucks and ambulances may not.

Ludwig said she's experienced such congestion in her neighborhood.

"I want feedback from the police and fire department on the time frame," she said. "How hard is it for emergency vehicles to get through?"

She also wondered why the complaints started cropping up in October.

"We do have a new employee as far as parking ordinances," Ludwig said. "That might have something to do with it."

Markon said the department will make a concentrated effort to enforce calendar parking from time to time, but nothing has changed recently.

The assistant police chief said residential areas of the city see the worst street congestion on Sundays, but that officers try to give vehicle owners a little leeway.

"We receive complaints about this all the time," Markon said. "I don't know why it's elevated to the City Council at this time."

Weekly calendar parking, complete with the four-hour window, has been in force citywide since 1991.

"From the police department end of things it's been working well for all," Markon said.

Prior to 1991, vehicle owners had to move their cars to the other side of the street daily at 4 p.m.

That changed not long after the Halloween blizzard of 1991, according to City Clerk Terri Kalan.

"The residents have a right to voice concerns," Ludwig said, noting the ordinance has been on the books for decades. "I want to look at it again from all sides of the issue."

The last time the council considered the calendar parking ordinance was in February of 1999. Then-Councilor Sharon Kotter noted that residents had complained about waiting a week for snow to be cleared from one side of the street. She suggested reverting back to alternate side parking every other day. The move was opposed by the public works director and Superior police noted that the current weekly schedule was easier to control. The request was received and filed, with no action taken.

Also on the Public Works Committee agenda is a request by District 10 Councilor Esther Dalbec for a flashing beacon for bikers and pedestrians at the intersection of Hammond Avenue and North Seventh Street. Similar beacons can be found at the corners of Hammond Avenue and Broadway Street and Belknap Street and Baxter Avenue.