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Letters to The Platteville Journal for Oct. 2
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Is parking a problem?

As far as I know, no one on the Common Council owns a downtown business, works downtown, or lives downtown. Last year, there were councilpersons who too often showed their unwillingness to listen. And so this year, Platteville has two new councilpersons.

A long time ago — I would say spring 2012 — two or three councilpersons, along with the city manager, got the idea that they could make money from downtown parking. It didn’t matter to them that the plan they devised was unfair and would make downtown parking worse. They wanted the money. One of those councilpersons is gone, but Ald. Barb Daus and Larry Bierke are here and still trying to implement their plan.

To what lengths will they go in trying to execute their plan? Would the city manager withhold information and mislead the Common Council? I don’t know, but based on what I’ve seen over the last 16 months, it seems the city manager is willing to go pretty far in order to get his way.

Downtown parking could have been improved a long time ago after the new police station was completed. Seventeen parking spaces could have become and still can become 24-hour parking. Even after the city painted the lines and numbered them, those 17 spaces were not made available.

But of course, the plan is to make money, not improve downtown parking, and so far, the RDA and Common Council are going along with it. By the way, the common denominator of the RDA and Common Council is Barb Daus.

I’ve been a downtown resident for 20 years. I’ve listened to and watched the Common Council and RDA for 16 months now and when they talked about parking, it was excruciating. I’ve sat at their meetings and thought, “What the heck is wrong with these people?”

I’ve looked at downtown parking. I’ve read what was available. I’ve listened to a lot of people. I’ve gone out in the middle of the night a number of times and counted the overnight parking in and around downtown. And of course, I’ve lived and parked in the downtown area for 20 years. So I know a little bit about the parking.

Let me say, first of all: There is not a parking problem in downtown Platteville at this time. As long as downtown parking spaces are shared, there should not be a problem. Of course, there’s always room for improvement and there will be opportunities as time goes by. But why some simple and easy things that would make a difference right now have not already happened, I don’t know.

Most of us learned about sharing when we were in kindergarten. When there’s not enough to go around, we should share. And there are not enough downtown parking spaces to go around.

A downtown parking space should be available to multiple users. A downtown parking space used by only one and sitting empty the rest of the time makes no sense. A downtown parking space that is not used as fully as possible is a waste. Twenty-seven downtown parking spaces not used at all is a parking problem.

The plan Barb Daus and Larry Bierke are pushing makes downtown parking worse. There is not a single good reason to do this. The whole thing should be dumped. Ald. Ken Killian is a pretty good councilperson. He does the work, he asks the questions, and he makes informed decisions. In the past, even when I’ve disagreed with his decisions, I’ve at least understood his reasoning. But I don’t understand at all his attitude about downtown parking. I hope he’ll explain.

Rich Christensen
10 S. Third St. Apt. 4, Platteville

The Platteville Journal will print most letters to the editor, regardless of the opinion presented. The Journal reserves the right to edit material that is libelous or otherwise offensive to community standards and to shorten letters the Journal feels are excessively long. All letters must be signed and the signature must appear on the printed letter, along with a contact number or email for verification. Some submitted letters may not be published due to space constraints. “Thank you” letters will not be printed. All letters and columns represent the views of the writers and not necessarily the views of The Platteville Journal.