New parking lot changes

Downtown regulations increase length of parking

Shannon Columb, Staff Writer

There’s something different about Whitewater. Last week, new parking regulations went into effect in the downtown area. All parking lots now have 10 hour parking instead of ranging from 15 minutes to 6 hours.

The City of Whitewater invited business owners and residents to attend focus groups, where they expressed their needs for better parking. City manager, Cameron Clapper, believes the new parking will “make it a lot easier for businesses to accommodate their clients and for workers to park without any confusion.”

Years ago, parking times were determined by the needs of businesses and residents. Over time, businesses come and go, along with changing regulations and expectations of the parking spots. Salon 154’s lot, for example, only had fifteen-minute parking, requiring clients and employees to park in a distant lot.  

Early morning and late night parking also changed. Before, parking in lots from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. was prohibited. This gave cleaning crews the opportunity to clean up the lots. However, employees cleaning up taverns after closing got off at 2 a.m. and bakery employees heading into work at 4 a.m. to make coffee and donuts were forced to park blocks away from the business. Now, business owners can apply for hanging tags to hang on their rearview mirror that allow their employees to park adjacent to the business.

“We’re hoping it works out and if for any reason that it doesn’t, we’ll be as responsive as we can be to find another way to solve the problem,” Clapper said.

10 hour parking only applies to lots; street parking is still two hours. Chris Munz-Pritchard, neighborhood services manager/planner, hopes that this change directs people who are long-term parking in lots.

“It’ll help free up parking in front of the stores for more short-term parking,” said Munz-Pritchard. New parking signs were posted last week and a memo by Clapper was sent out to the community as well.