City Removing Some Downtown Meters
You can now park for free on a portion of E. Knapp St.
Milwaukee drivers in search of free parking now have one more place to look.
The Department of Public Works (DPW) removed the parking meters on E. Knapp St. between N. Milwaukee St. and N. Broadway due to low usage.
The formerly metered spaces, near the Milwaukee School of Engineering campus, are now available for free, two-hour parking.
E. Knapp St. is located on the north end of Downtown, where parking meters and mid-rise buildings give way to two-hour parking and two-story duplexes.
The change comes as part of DPW’s effort to replace all of the meters serving its approximately 7,000 metered spaces. That effort, which started in East Town in 2018, includes replacing both the coin-operated meters and the approximately 300 LUKE multi-space machines. Most of the new meters, which cost $904 each, serve two parking spaces. All of the new meters accept credit cards in addition to coins.
DPW has yet to implement a 2018-authorized change that allows for market-based, dynamic pricing. It did, however, institute an across-the-board, hourly-rate increase in 2020 that boosted rates from $0.50, $1.00 and $1.50 per hour to $0.75, $1.25 and $2.00 per hour. It was the first increase since 2011.
Alderman Robert Bauman, who sponsored the city’s 2018 legislation, characterized the city’s plan as “making sure some people don’t get free lunches while others get gouged” when it was up for approval.
A DPW formula included in a report attached to the 2018 policy change called for meters to be suspended or eliminated when occupancy rates fell below 30% and prices were already reduced.
A fair number of the spaces on the block, and one to the north, are already free for those driving the right vehicle. The Department of Homeland Security and its U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency lease the office building at 310 E. Knapp St. Multiple on-street spaces are labeled “No Parking Except Law Enforcement Vehicles.”
The city budgeted to receive $4.85 million from parking meter revenue in 2021, down from a pre-pandemic estimate of $5.18 million in 2020, but up from 2019’s actual collections of $4.30 million.