Residents ask city for permit parking
Another parking battle is brewing in German Village.
Several months after the city began enforcing a parking ban in several alleys and streets, some residents are asking the city to institute permit parking on Kossuth Street between Mohawk and Fifth streets.
Such a move would place in jeopardy about 20 on-street parking spots for some of the area's most popular tourist destinations: Schmidt's Sausage Haus und Restaurant, Schmidt's Fudge Haus, Helen Winnemore Crafts and the Old Mohawk restaurant.
According to the request, 2-hour parking would be in place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both sides of the street.
Permit-only parking would then kick in between 4 p.m. and 2 a.m.
Residents say the parking situation has become unbearable during the evenings, with almost every spot on the street taken by either employees or patrons of restaurants and boutique businesses.
Paul and Terri Carlson of 185 E. Kossuth are leading the petition drive.
Mrs. Carlson, who has lived in the house since 1965, said that during the past several years things have gotten worse.
"We need a little bit of an accommodation here," she said.
She now worries about the safety of her daughter Kellie, who will be a senior at Columbus School for Girls this fall.
The girl is a student athlete, she often comes home after dark and is forced to park on a nearby street, Terri Carlson said.
Carlson said the proposal is modeled after the one near Lindey's, a thriving restaurant despite the permit-parking restrictions in the area.
Megan Malinowski, who lives at 180 Kossuth, said she's supportive of the plan.
"I think it would solve a lot of the parking problems on this street," she said.
She said residents should be given first dibs on spaces close to their houses.
"I think that we all want to park as close as we can," said Malinowski, who has one designated spot on her property.
But shop owners say that in an urban neighborhood, residents should expect inconvenience.
Chris Pack, general manager of the Old Mohawk at the southwest corner of Mohawk and Kossuth, said he's worried customers will be unaware of the new rules and walk out to a ticket or worse -- their car being towed.
"Then they get mad at me when I had nothing to do with it," Pack said.
"Thats just another thing for me to police."
Geoff Schmidt, owner of Schmidt's Sausage Haus und Restaurant, said he's concerned that the permit-parking requests will spread to other streets.
"This is just the beginning," Schmidt said.
The restaurant has a 60-space parking lot, which is generally reserved for customers, while employees are asked to park on the street, he said.
Schmidt said if parking restrictions were to take effect, he would apply to purchase some of the permits and enforce a towing policy in his parking lot, which occasionally is used by some nearby residents.
"If we have to fight for our own survival, that's what we'll do," he said.
Tim Dick, who operates Schmidt's Fudge Haus, said the problem started when the city began enforcing the parking ban in portions of eight alleys and streets.
"So now that's congested the whole area," he said.
A public hearing on the permit-parking request was held June 4 at city offices downtown.
According to city rules, 60 percent of residents in the affected area must sign the petition for permit parking.
If that requirement is met, the city's transportation division will conduct a parking survey to determine if, during the study hours, 75 percent of the legal spaces are occupied and 25 percent of the spaces are occupied by cars from outside the district.
The Transportation and Pedestrian Commission will make its recommendation to the public service director, who is expected to rule on the request in late July.