Friday, September 30th, 2016

When does no mean no in Waukesha?

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It seems like a small issue but it highlights the ridiculousness of the mayor’s new downtown star chamber committee. George Wang, owner of Waukesha Tattoo and Galleria Edge, has been fighting a proposal to put in angle parking on his end of West Main Street. Wang, who also happens to be a blogger, believes the angle parking would create a unsafe traffic hazard in his area. For some reason Alderman Roger Patton just won’t let the issue die. As Wang wrote on his blog:

Alderman Patton then raised his not so secret petition and said 30 operators on West Main are supporting it ( yet he did not mention some support it with condition), then he said he could have gotten 7 (or several?) more to 30 if he had more time, and only 3-4 people are against it. The problem is, the 3-4 people own 7 out of 9 properties on south side of West Main from Maple to West. Round one (tabled) with angle parking, Alderman Patton said it was for bar patrons, round two (killed) he said it was needed for Kendal Lofts, now round three (on hold) is from this Community development study, and round four is headed to the new downtown task force then back to Common Council for round five. Despite all the changing stories, someone really wants this to happen regardless of safety and liability concerns from property owners, and that really troubles me.

Meanwhile, Steve Crandell, our acting city administrator, issued a paper claiming that the angle parking would be good for the community and make the street safer. Of course, he doesn’t own a business there.

I don’t know who is behind the angle parking proposal although I find the timing of the Kendall Lofts passing with an inadequate parking plan too coincidental. Could be supporters of the Kendall Lofts, or it could be some restaurant/bar owner who can count parking spots better than Mayor Jeff Scrima.

What I do know is that a city council committee actually took the time to here all concerned on the issue and decided against putting angle parking down there. The council indulged a natural tendency to do nothing by doing nothing and letting the new downtown committee take up the issue.

Meanwhile, one of our downtown business owners has to take time away from his business to go to more meetings hoping that this new committee doesn’t decide to ignore his concerns. If they do decide to approve the angle parking, then it will go back to the council where Wang will have to see which committee takes it up. He’ll have to attend that meeting, and then go to the full common council meeting again, just to make sure that an issue that’s already been killed three times doesn’t get passed when he isn’t looking.

By the way, if we take Crandell at his word that the angle parking would be a benefit to the whole city, why is a committee comprised of downtown business owners, none of whom are directly involved in the issue, going to decide the matter for the whole community? There seems to be a governing body already set up to make those kinds of decisions – the Common Council.

Of course, that’s the problem with creating a downtown special committee in the first place.

(Another aside: if you’re opposed to open intoxicants on the streets, you probably want to attend the downtown special committee meetings early and often. Mayor Jeff Scrima gave that issue as example of a possible priority of the committee. Hint hint.)

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