Jeramey Jannene
Friday Photos

Easy Parking in Downtown Milwaukee?

City unveils sign system to guide drivers to garages with available parking spots.

By - Jun 27th, 2014 05:56 pm

The city unveiled new parking signs this week that direct drivers to available stalls in garages. Eleven electronic signs have been installed around the core of Downtown that give up-to-the minute counts of available stalls in nearby parking garages.

Dubbed the “Advanced Parking Guidance System,” the system is in the first phase of a broader roll-out plan. The signs match existing way-finding signs placed around downtown.

The project has a number of goals according to a city release.

  • Guide summer festival attendees and downtown visitors/workers to available parking
  • Build on the “Park Once” concept and the Downtown Master Plan – Drivers find one parking spot and then walk or use public transit to move around Downtown and the lakefront
  • Relieve traffic congestion near the Maier Festival Grounds and enhance pedestrian safety by reducing vehicles “circling” while looking for a parking spot
  • Less congestion = Better air quality
  • Increase occupancy rates for downtown parking operations

The first phase of the program was paid for with a $1.1 million grant. While it’s tempting to think what else could have been bought with a million dollars, if visitors and downtown workers feel that it’s easier to park there will be many more millions to go around.

On the flip side, are Milwaukeeans content to just circle the block looking for free parking?

Worst case scenario, there will finally be visible data to refute the oft-uttered phrase “it’s hard to find parking Downtown.”

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8 thoughts on “Friday Photos: Easy Parking in Downtown Milwaukee?”

  1. David says:

    There is a ton of parking Downtown. Making the garages brighter with the new sinage should help.

  2. Paul Miller says:

    I hope this helps people realize just how much parking is available downtown . It’s readily accessible despite the uninformed whine that it isn’t.

    But I think that when drivers complain, what they often really mean is… “Why isn’t there free parking immediately next to everything I want to go to, like in the suburbs?” Some people are frankly lazy and put out by the idea of walking a mere three blocks. Or they just don’t want to pay a fair rate for using and storing their vehicles in a dense area. Behind a lot of those complaints, I think, is this erroneous notion that driving is free of negative externalities, which of course isn’t true. But that’s a long debate for another day.

  3. Paul Miller, “this erroneous notion that driving is free of negative externalities.”

    Those negative externalities include those who disagree with them.

  4. DWL says:

    So how are the available spaces counted? Somehow that number ends up on the signs? Sounds like magic to me.

  5. Tom D says:

    DWL, I assume that whenever a car enters the garage, the count is reduced by one. Whenever a car leaves the garage, the count is incremented.

  6. DWL says:

    Tom D,
    Correct. But wondered who/what is counting the vehicles? Curious about the technology that’s all.

  7. Tim says:

    It’s good to see this used more in Milwaukee… I remember being amazed when I saw this for the first time in Hannover, Germany in 2000.

    At least we’re moving in the right direction.

  8. Annie says:

    Those signs were $100K each ?

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