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Cornerstone Parking Plight Testing Nearby Residents' Serenity

Shorewood resident generously shoulders north side growth by offering her home, street, alley — and former serenity — to cars, noise, trucks and litter.

I heard about this situation from Carolyn Bucior, who lives in a cute bungalow on North Bartlett Avenue and East Kensington Boulevard.

"Cars are taking over my home," she told me.

But, I know what you are going to say. "Hey, you get to live a block from the action."

And it's true. Carolyn, and some of her neighbors, were the first to shout “hurrah” about Shorewood's new bustling north end, or as at least one businesses owner coined it, Kensington Square. But, they feel like they are also shouldering the traffic congestion on behalf of the village, which will hopefully be remedied with a new investigation of the effects of such growth.

Bucior's life in her home has changed since the new businesses have come to Shorewood. Her alley is frequently blocked by delivery trucks, and she and her husband will be drastically downsizing their already small cars in order to accommodate the tight turning angles afforded by wall-to-wall cars on both sides of the street.

She’s thrilled for the success of the businesses, including the Metropolitan at 1717 E. Kensington Blvd. “which, as I can see from my formerly tranquil southern exposure from my kitchen, is turning out appointments for rehab every 50 minutes, for people who need to park very close, and getting lots of visitors to the apartments as well."

Bucior counts, on average, 15 cars encircling her home on any given day from about 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., with the exception of Mondays. 

“Mondays remind me of what it used to be like to live here, and look out the window and not see a constant rotation,” she says, “because salons and a few restaurants are closed that day.”

Carolyn has a list of issues, and possible solutions, ranging from permit parking or maybe some kind of employee parking.

“Everyone who works in the salons and the bars and restaurants are very nice," she said. "It’s the danger on Kensington getting out of my alley and backing blind into the onslaught of u-turns and traffic that scares me.” 

To try to ease the burden of parking in Kensington Square, the village has recently came to an agreement with , just to the north of the congested business district, to make .

In addition to the 13 spaces, the village removed no parking signs in the 1700 block of Kensington Boulevard.

But, reducing the tight corners on the block by reinstating the no parking alongside the Metropolitan is one of her thoughts. She and Police Chief David Banaszynski have been having "productive discussions" and are working on it, and there will be a more formal study during times of congestion. Village officials and the chief are currently closely monitoring a aimed at alleviating what residents call a slew of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee student and teacher parkers.

But, let’s do our own little experiment. Where are you right now? Sitting out somewhere, even, maybe, in Shorewood? Delightful! I wish I were there, it’s fun, like the adult student union of Shorewood. You may have walked, but it's likely you drove. And that's OK. Most do, when going out to , or for dinner, making a trip to , venturing out to get your hair done, shop; or visit a friend (or go home to) at the Metropolitan.

So, where did you park?

has a nice lot in back, but if you were headed to the Metropolitan or the businesses across the street, those aren’t for you. Did you think about the houses as you drove past them, searching, searching for a place to stash your car?

Did you pull up and say, "Hmm, I bet I'm too close to that alley/sign/crosswalk, but oh well, I hope I don't get a ticket?"

Or did you say, "Oops, that was squishy, I maybe shouldn't have parked right on the grass there where the curb is so low" or maybe you went for it with a, "Hey, let me throw my cup and beer cans out of my car onto this nice lawn, that I might refresh myself and get some more and do it again tomorrow."

I parked too close to a crosswalk last night, even in researching this story. And I know I’m not alone.

Last night, between 7 and 8 p.m., I walked around and took a lot of (very indiscernible and dark) pictures about the cars that easily looked like over 50 percent non-resident, and noise and garbage piling up on the formerly quiet 1700 block of Kensington Boulevard and 4500 block of Bartlett Avenue. I went into a few places, and asked some people I knew where they had parked. One man hung his head and said, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m parked on some lady’s lawn.”

People were eager to discuss it, and, in a way, admit infractions, as it’s new and a little surprising that in Shorewood there is a search for parking (sarcasm). 

Here are some things I think we forget in our haste to serve ourselves:

  • Put three feet between alley entrance and your car;
  • Reduce u-turns on narrow streets;
  • Yield to someone trying to get out of an alley, especially if they have to back out of a narrow garage.

Growth for Shorewood is great. Density is great. We are glad for successful, fun places in Shorewood, but the folks who live near the new construction, I believe, weren't aware that the parking situation would have to be remedied by them personally.

Bob McBride March 07, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Good luck with that. Having lived in a small, central retail district that about tripled in size in short order, I can relate. The "solution" was to create a large public parking lot - something that, obviously, Shorewood can't do. I've got a feeling that the residents in the area are just going to have to get used to it. Judging from the number and scale of developments in the area, it's probably going to get worse instead of better.
N. Peske March 08, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Don't drive there from a home in Shorewood. Walk or bike. It'll make your neighbors and your doctor happy!
CowDung March 08, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Walking might work well in theory, but in practice it is much more convenient to drive a car. This is particularly true when stopping there on my way home from work or going out to eat before I drive somewhere else. The busy schedules these days aren't always conducive to walking everywhere...
John March 08, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Welcome to what the residents living along N. Maryland & Capitol Drive (think City Market & 7 other businesses' traffic around that corner), especially those with alley-only access to our garages, have dealt with for over 15 years! Delivery trucks (delivery to & from), employee parking, double-parked trucks, narrow & blind exit alley onto Capitol Drive, etc. Lost a 30 year-old healthy tree that my kids grew up with, and 6 feet of green parkway in front of our house last summer to preserve 3 parking spots for those businesses. And we pay the same Village tax rate as those living on QUIET streets.... Hmmmm
tim wick March 08, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Remember Shorewood is calling it's self a "walking community". So where are all the cars coming from? We are supposed to be walking.
tim wick March 08, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Remember Shorewood markets it's self as a "walking community". So why are there so many cars in the area if we are supposed to be walking? Many drivers in the area have no regard for the parking signs. They park well over the limit. Park over the crosswalks or even parki private lots that are posted.
Anne March 08, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Try living in the Olive/Oakland area. . . with the noisy semis unloading at the P&S at all hours of the day and night and Starbucks detritus tossed on your lawn.
David Tatarowicz March 08, 2012 at 11:20 PM
@Tim --- as a business owner, you of course are aware that YOUR money goes to the BID which has been instrumental in creating all those new businesses around you. In addition, the TIF (depending on who does the numbers) has increased the taxes on both your residence and business properties. When you were on the Village Board, I believe you voted for the first TIF which built those condos on the south end of the Village. Are you in favor of all this new development? Do you think it will lessen taxes for residential owners in the long run? Has it changed the way of life for Shorewood citizens for the better?
tim wick March 09, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Dave, the condos on the south end of the village made sence to me compared to the crappy houses and old hospital that was there. I do beleive the village entered new territory by starting that endevour. Did we ever see our taxes go down? NO. There was a good chance that if the village did not build the condos on Edgewood, UWM would try to take that land for parking or dorms. They were talking to Columbia about that at the time. Columbia owned that whole block. Tif projects ussually take ten to fifteen years to pay off. It will be a long time before we see any of the projected benefits from the on going projects. Many cities are now in trouble with some of their tifs. St Fransic and Menominee falss are just two that come to mind.
CowDung March 09, 2012 at 03:55 PM
This "walking community" thing is a bunch of cowdung. We need to make the businesses in Shorewood as car-friendly as possible if we want to attract customers (and their money) from outside the village. The village marketing plan needs to sell Shorewood's businesses as destinations for the whole North Shore rather than places that welcome only those who live close enough to walk.
Alol March 09, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Who do we have to ask to get a traffic light at the crazy-busy corner of Kensington and Oakland?
David Tatarowicz March 09, 2012 at 05:59 PM
@Tim I think those were good reasons for that first TIF -- more importantly, it was for residential purposes, and not commercial. Residential can always work in Shorewood IF done correctly, but all the money the Village Board is throwing at businesses, in my opinion, is wishful thinking and speculation that Warren Buffet would never engage in. How would you feel if TIF was used for the duplexes and rental housing we have that is falling into obsolescence --- maybe private residences for that matter --- improved mechanicals, updated electric, etc ........ perhaps for all the broken and leaking laterals we have that are the main culprit in the sewage backups?
tim wick March 09, 2012 at 06:25 PM
A traffic light won't happen there. It has looked at many times over the years. Besides what is wrong with a four way stop?
Alol March 09, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Not everyone (me not included) seems to understand exactly how that four-way stop is supposed to operate, and that's if they even bother to come to a complete stop at all; some people think a four-way stop is as good as a yield sign, and they don't watch to see who should get the right-of-way. It's a pedestrian's nightmare, especially if children are in tow. I think a traffic light might calm the intersection down a bit. I could be wrong, it just seems with the heavier traffic a light makes sense.
Bob McBride March 09, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Anne, Jenny probably has an answer for you on who to contact. I think she did an article here on a traffic sign being placed at the end of an alley or something like that. Otherwise I guess the obvious answer would be the just call the general offices at Village Hall. Obviously with the change in the amount of traffic in that area, they might be willing to revisit it even if it's been looked at in the past. Personally, I find the 4-way stop workable, but then again I'm only going by there a couple of times a day at off-peak hours.
CowDung March 09, 2012 at 07:23 PM
I go through that intersection twice a day on my commute to and from work. There's the occasional guy that will follow the person ahead of them through the stop sign, but for the most part it seems to work pretty well. I do think that the pedestrian issue is more of the problem. When pedestrians are crossing, it seems to confuse the 'who was here first?' factor in determining who's next to proceed through the intersection. Impatient drivers tend to go when their lane is clear of pedestrians without considering that the cross traffic thinks it's OK to go while the pedestrians are supposedly stopping traffic.
tim wick March 09, 2012 at 07:25 PM
I have been on this corner for almost 30 years. I can only recall 3 accidents in that time. All three were caused by a car going north that made no attempt to stop at all.
Alol March 09, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Huh, only three? Not bad.
N. Peske March 10, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Well, it takes time to walk, cook, meditate, and a host of other healthful activities...
CowDung March 10, 2012 at 10:08 PM
It seems that you have a good grasp of the obvious...

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