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Parking in Shorewood — A Tricky, Risky Business

Limited space leads to frustration over strict enforcement of parking rules and regulations in Shorewood.

Anyone who lives, works or plays in Shorewood understands parking can be a "tricky business,” especially for those who do not abide by its many rules and regulations.

But one former Shorewood resident — a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee student — has become so frustrated with the parking problem he actually moved out of the village and now lives 50 miles away.

“I would rather pay for gas than be forced to continue paying for parking tickets,” said Jake Larsen, 24, who now commutes from Elkhorn and drives anywhere from 50 minutes to an hour to get to class.

While living in his flat on North Maryland Avenue and East Menlo Boulevard, Larsen opted to park on the street instead of paying an extra $50 a month for a spot. He hoped he would save money this way. However, he would soon regret his decision. 

“During the day parking was awful, awful,” recalled Larsen. 

The village provides residents and visitors areas for one- to two-hour restricted daytime, on-street parking. During his time in Shorewood, Larsen managed to rack up $400 to $500 in daytime parking tickets alone. Though he remembers receiving tickets for parking past two-hour restrictions, he specifically recalls one particular incident most vividly. 

“I saw that my car was being ticketed through the window,” said Larsen. “When I went out to find out why, the parking monitor was totally rude. She claimed that I was parked 13 feet from the crosswalk instead of the required 15 feet.”

In addition to the daytime parking restrictions, Shorewood also requires residents and commuters to park 15 feet from any crosswalk and 10 feet from any fire hydrant.

“I asked her to please measure again, because I was sure that I had been careful,” a frustrated Larsen continued. “She simply said that she didn’t have the time, ticketed me and drove off.” 

Before deciding to move to back home to Elkhorn after his lease in Shorewood was up in 2012, Larsen found himself wondering why his experience with on-street parking had been so difficult.

Police chief defends parking rules

Shorewood Police Chief David Banaszynski argues that the village's parking rules aren't anymore restrictive than neighboring communities like Whitefish Bay or at Glendale's Bayshore Mall, and are actually less restrictive than near the UWM campus. 

"I feel we are very lenient in giving them (UWM students) two hours," Banaszynski said. "We are a good neighbor to UWM, versus the UWM community, where residents petitioned the city of Milwaukee and had much of the street parking changed to one hour."

Parking problems are constantly shifting and issues are different for different village neighborhoods. After officials started fielding complaints from Shorewood residents about UWM staff and students clogging the streets during the daytime in the southeast portion of the village, they changed to the area to a two-hour parking zone. Shortly after the change, East Capitol Drive business owners started complaining about the lack of parking options for their employees and customers under the new parking rule. 

"Parking in Shorewood is not easy," Banaszynski said. "It’s the most densely populated community. Homes here are very old and weren’t built to accommodate two to three cars. We are next to a large university. It’s a vibrant, growing community."

"It's always a balancing act between the needs of the community and being good neighbors."

Banaszynski said his officers are simply enforcing the rules on the books — policies approved by the Village Board and advocated for by residents. 

"Are we being unreasonable, I don’t think so?" Banaszynski answered. "If you are parked illegally, you will receive a ticket. We (police) do a really good job of enforcing the rules, so when you enforce the rules, people get tickets."

Avoiding the east side parking problem 

Aubrey Wanta, 20, new to the village as of January, had an experience similar to Larsen's when she began renting just off of North Oakland Avenue.

“Parking in Shorewood is the worst,” said Wanta. “I got two tickets in the first month I was living here.” 

Like Larsen, Wanta also received tickets for parking too close to a crosswalk, each costing her $30. She recalled getting one for parking just 14 feet from the crosswalk instead of the allotted 15.

“That was it for me,” said Wanta. “I would rather pay $60 to park in my lot than worry about any more tickets.”

However, daytime on-street parking is not Shorewood’s only complexity. 

There is no on-street overnight parking allowed in the village, except at select rental properties on Oakland Avenue and Capitol Drive, or if residents call police and request it. Residents are allowed to park overnight 10 times for free, and for $3 after that. 

Banaszynski said the idea is to avoid some of the problems you see on the east side of Milwaukee where streets are so clogged overnight, a fire truck couldn't make it down the road. 

Outside of this option, residents may buy an off-street parking permit to a municipal lot. The $45 pass allows individuals to park in lots made available throughout the village. However, the trick is buying into one before they are sold out. Only residents of Shorewood or employees who work within the village are eligible, although exceptions may be made.  

The very careful list of rules and regulations for on-street and off-street parking in the Village of Shorewood can be found on the village's website.

CowDung March 28, 2013 at 08:23 PM
"Shorewood also requires residents and commuters to park 15 feet from any crosswalk and within 10 of any fire hydrant." I'm pretty sure that it is not required to park within 10 feet of any fire hydrant. In fact, parking within 10 feet of a fire hydrant will get you a ticket...
Mike March 28, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Let me get this straight, one of the subjects interviewed for this article, rather than getting a $50/month reserved spot, first chose to try to navigate tricky street parking, found he was getting too many tickets, and then moved back to Elkhorn and now commutes? He'd rather pay for gas than a parking spot? He'd rather move his car constantly and get parking tickets than pay for a parking spot that's worry free? Not sure how you spin that to make it seem like the Village is the problem.
CowDung March 28, 2013 at 09:00 PM
I'm thinking that he still has to find a parking spot as a commuter (and risk a ticket), doesn't he?
Mike March 28, 2013 at 09:05 PM
Unless he's paying for parking in one of the UWM structures.
CowDung March 28, 2013 at 09:10 PM
If we won't pay Shorewood for a parking permit, what makes you think he'd pay UWM?
Adam W. McCoy (Editor) March 28, 2013 at 09:27 PM
Yeah, that was a typo. It's been corrected.
David Tatarowicz March 28, 2013 at 09:41 PM
Jake Larson does not seem to be the sharpest knife in the drawer in assessing the economics involved with driving 50 miles one way versus $50 a month for a parking spot. I wonder if he is still an udergraduate at the age of 24? Maybe the real deal is that he really likes being a student and prefers living rent free with his parents ??? Just Wondering.
David Tatarowicz March 28, 2013 at 09:43 PM
The night parking reasoning is ridiculous --- if fire trucks would be blocked by overnight parking during the week nights --- why isn't there the same risk on weekend nights. Besides, night parking could be restricted to one side only, just as winter parking is. It is unconscionable that we pay the taxes we do and cannot even park in front of our own houses.
Alol March 29, 2013 at 02:11 AM
Why don't UWM students just live closer to the campus so that they can walk to class, or take the bus If they live in Shorewood?? I don't understand why a college student would want to live in Shorewood being that the rents are generally higher here than in Milwaukee.
Cricket March 29, 2013 at 02:18 AM
Or the risk during the daytime too. Way more parked up then versus night time. Regarding the crosswalks - isn't there a line on the curb that signifies where one can start parking? I do have to agree with Jake that the female parking checker in Shorewood can have an attitude. I have had an occasion or two to interact with her and it was not pleasant.
Brad March 29, 2013 at 02:54 AM
Every community in Milwaukee County has overnight parking restrictions regardless of where you live or how much in taxes you pay. If there weren't overnight restictions in Shorewood the entire southern part of the village would be swamped with student's cars from UWM.
N. Peske March 29, 2013 at 11:58 AM
:) I suspect the savings of eating mom's cooking instead of Ramen noodles got factored in there, too!
N. Peske March 29, 2013 at 12:00 PM
Quiet, nature, being in a familiar neighborhood if he's from Shorewood. When my friends turned college age, several went to UWM and moved in together on the east side or Shorewood, but our first question to a prospective landlord was "Do you have parking?", for sure! When you grow up in Shorewood, you think to ask that question!
Vicki Bennett March 29, 2013 at 12:53 PM
Many years ago, UWM developed "U Parking" where the students go to a designated parking lot and take a bus to campus. These lots are convenient and the buses run frequently. Let's face it, the students don't want to walk a few feet or wait for a bus. I think Shorewood has bent over backward for the students. Quite frankly, I hate having to negotiate around cars parked on both sides of the street (example: Morris and Capital Drive intersection going north). We pay a price for living in an urban village. I don't want to see the parking changed.
Keith Schmitz March 29, 2013 at 12:59 PM
Big irritant are those marketed parking spaces on the 4000 block of North Oakland. These are suggested and mandatory so that people with passengers can get out of the car without hitting those curbs around the trees. People take these as mandatory, and consequently two or three cars could park on that block that can't. Also irritating are people who park five or more feet way from the no parking signs, taking up two spaces. No less than 15 feet away from crosswalks huh? I see that rarely observed.
Charlie DeSando March 29, 2013 at 02:15 PM
I'm with you. I can understand the daytime restrictions, but we should be able to park in front of our own homes at night. We have 4 cars and 4 drivers. I'd gladly buy a pass for overnight parking. But that option does not exist for a long term solution. when we lived in DC on Capitol Hill, we had daytime restrictions, but none for the night time. Not sure why that won't work here.
David Tatarowicz March 29, 2013 at 02:25 PM
@Brad In light of the taxes we pay we certainly deserve to be able to park on the street we pay for. I would propose that every property owner is entitled to having a sticker for each vehicle registered at that address that shows they are a resident. There could be a $5 nominal fee per year to cover the costs of stickers --- and it could be done right online, as every vehicle is cross referenced by address on the registration. An added benefit to allowing residents to park on their own streets, is that the police would have to spend less time checking out cars to see if they called in to park that night (sticker could be lower rear window driver side) , and they would spend less time writing tickets in the middle of the night --- Their time could be best used at night by prowling the streets and alleys and deterring real crime or catching some of those involved in it. ---- they would even have time ocassionaly to park their prowl cars at the end of a commercial alley like the ones bordering Oakland -- and walking the alley and around the block back to their car --- Maximum Use of Limited Patrol Resources for Crime, not parking.
Cricket March 29, 2013 at 02:34 PM
There already is a sticker program Dave, and I believe it is $5. I don't know what all the rules are but my neighbors have them and can park all day on the street.
David Tatarowicz March 29, 2013 at 02:35 PM
@Keith I am surprised that you still see those door denting tree concrete tree surrounds as being a problem. Before they were even installed, the problem came to light, and the Village Administrator Swartz said that if they became a problem after installation, they would deal with it. Obviously from the Village authorities view there is no problem --- as they have done nothing to fix them (much more expensive to fix now that they are installed, then if they had done it before installation). You are absolutely right that the parking spaces are contoured for those concrete curbs and we lose a number of spots. In addition, when I was on Oakland avenue I witnessed the re-occurring ritual of someone with a passenger pulling into a parking spot -- door opens and hits concrete berm -- door closes and driver pulls into street blocking traffic --- passenger gets out and driver re-parks. Wonder if any of the new candidates, if they win, would address this problem --- Finally --- we already know Linanne obviously doesn't care.
David Tatarowicz March 29, 2013 at 02:37 PM
@Vicki You are correct in that the UWM students have a huge free parking lot at Humboldt and Capitol with free bus service If they are not smart enough to use that for free --- I wonder how they got into college :-)
David Tatarowicz March 29, 2013 at 02:40 PM
@Cricket I am referring to a sticker program for NIGHT parking --- not at a fee level to get more money out of the residents, but a nominal fee of $5 to cover the costs of stickers and paperwork.
Alol March 29, 2013 at 03:35 PM
I can understand if a UWM student is from Shorewood and wants to remain in his parent's Shorewood home, that certainly makes sense. But being that rent is higher here and a student could opt to live nearer to campus without living in the dorms, I wonder why any student would want to live here. Nature isn't exclusive to Shorewood, and libraries are quiet. I agree, I'd like for my visiting family to be able to park in front of my house on the weekends, but I've gotten used to the idea that it's just never going to happen; not when I have people that live in the apartment buildings a block away on Oakland whose cars are permanently situated right outside my front door for days on end.
Keith Schmitz March 29, 2013 at 08:14 PM
The Village is making accommodations for maybe 10% of the cars that have passengers in them.
VLC March 29, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Actually, the overnight parking ban is also in place so that we can share street-cleaning equipment with other north shore communities. We clean our streets on different days depending on equipment availability.
Lyle Ruble March 30, 2013 at 12:15 PM
Part of the character and charm of our village is it's tree lined walkable streets. Shorewood is no place to live if one is looking for unlimited parking and a vehicle for every person in the house. As far as UWM students who are too lazy to go to the U Park lots and ride the bus, I have no sympathy for their perceived plight. I have lived in the village for almost two decades and yes, the parking can be a bit inconvenient at times, but we have to balance the ambiance of where we live with the practicality of parking. BTW, the daytime CSO is a perfectly lovely person, but she has a job to do and is not expected to put up with any grief from disgruntled residents. If you don't like the parking rules, take it up with the village trustees; all she does is enforcement. Just a warning, if you give her too much of a problem, she is instructed to call a patrol officer for backup.
David Tatarowicz April 01, 2013 at 04:30 PM
@VLC Parking ban does is not needed for street cleaning --- the cars that are given permission to park overnight do so on opposite sides of the street, so one half can always be cleaned. I would propose allowing parking as I mentioned before with the proper sticker -- and it could be switched odd sides odd months, even sides even months. Would work for snow clearance also.
David Tatarowicz April 01, 2013 at 04:34 PM
@:LYLE Why do walkable streets negate practical solutions for parking demand. Society has changed -- families are not the old nuclear with mom at home in the kitchen, dad at work, and the 8 kids in the family all riding a bike,walking or taking a bus.
CowDung April 01, 2013 at 04:47 PM
The only place where parking is a consistent problem for me personally is at Specter Field/River Park--especially when the baseball and soccer seasons overlap... That said, I agree with David. The 'walking neighborhood' excuse is a cop out. It has been suggested as a solution by those who are too lazy to actually address the parking issues in Shorewood.
Heidi Brue April 02, 2013 at 05:42 PM
I agree that the night parking situation is soluable. Having to drive to the police station nightly to get a pass for a relative for night - should be able to get passes for multiple nights anyway. And that crosswalk law on the corner of Glendale an Oakland - bah - you can't see if cars are coming from the north to turn that corner
CowDung April 02, 2013 at 06:28 PM
I usually just phone the police for night parking permission--is having to get an actual pass something new?

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