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.