181229_PARKING01

A sign for two-hour parking was placed on North Parker Drive in downtown Janesville recently. City officials believe the time limits will increase vehicle turnover during the day, making businesses more accessible to customers.

JANESVILLE

Janesville has converted some additional parking spaces downtown from all day to two-hour restrictions to complete Downtown Janesville Inc.’s original request for changes.

The downtown business organization believes time limits on parking spaces, especially those near retail shops and restaurants, will increase vehicle turnover throughout the day and make businesses more accessible to customers, said Emily Arthur, the executive director of Janesville’s business improvement district and a member of Downtown Janesville Inc.’s ad hoc parking committee.

The recent changes from all day to two-hour parking include portions of West Milwaukee Street, South Parker Drive and North Franklin Street. The city finished the conversion last week, civil engineer Karissa Chapman Greer said.

The city also converted most one-hour spaces to two-hour parking. It was too difficult to enforce such a short window, she said.

The original round of changes started in October. Downtown Janesville Inc. worked with the city to re-evaluate areas of timed parking downtown, she said.

“They were just getting a little bit of their participants asking, ‘People want to come to lunch at my restaurant or shop in my store, and there’s people parked all day,’” Chapman Greer said. “We hadn’t really looked at timed parking in a couple of years.”

The city also removed all-day parking signs because it considered them unnecessary. It helps reduce sign clutter downtown, she said.

To compensate for new timing restrictions, Janesville removed two-hour stalls inside the parking garage on North Parker Drive. Most spots are now all day, aside from some leased spaces and a couple electric vehicle charging stations, Chapman Greer said.

Deputy Police Chief Terry Sheridan said the electric vehicle charging stations are one of the biggest culprits for downtown parking tickets since the department began enforcement efforts in November. Signs inside the parking garage say vehicles must be plugged in and charging to stay in those spaces.

Other hotspots for parking tickets include Main Street between Milwaukee and Court streets and the 100 block of West Milwaukee Street, Sheridan said.

The police department has two part-time community service specialists. Parking enforcement is one of their duties, which also include smaller issues such as found property, stalled vehicles and barking dogs, he said.

The department intends to hire another person to that role and create a new position that would exclusively focus on parking enforcement. Enforcement is mostly based on proactive officer observations, but because the people responsible are only part-time workers, parking tickets also come from resident complaints, Sheridan said.

He estimated the department issued 100 tickets combined in November and December.

Chapman Greer said as downtown undergoes more development and completes the Milwaukee Street bridge replacement, the city would be open to working with Downtown Janesville Inc. again for more tweaks.

Arthur applauded the city for working collectively with Downtown Janesville Inc. to create a more business friendly environment.

“If a business owner or office employee is parked in front of a retail business all day, it’s less accessible for customers coming in to shop,” Arthur said. “It just opens up some parking spaces a little bit more.”

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