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Public transportation is key to parking

I hope the city council will rethink its plan to charge for street parking near the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

It seems unfair and punishes people who might not have other options. This issue should be part of a comprehensive community transportation plan that prioritizes equity, access and sustainability.

The new Sierra Club report, “Arrive Together: Transportation Access and Equity in Wisconsin,” shows that good public transportation is vital for fair, affordable access to work, school, appointments, shopping and social events for all people regardless of income, age or ability.

Plus, switching from private vehicles to public transportation drastically reduces individuals’ carbon footprints.

Thanks to dedicated professionals, La Crosse’s service is pretty good for many, and some who currently park in neighborhoods could take the bus instead. But it doesn’t work for everyone. Quicker service, more direct routes and better evening and weekend hours would encourage more to ride.

A comprehensive transportation plan should prioritize public transportation, which can help solve parking issues and provide better access while saving families money, improving air quality and safety, and allowing more valuable downtown land to be developed.

A good plan might charge citywide street parking fees for non-residents and much higher rates for downtown parking, using fees to improve routes and service times, maintain park-and-ride lots, and add more direct routes, It would improve transit infrastructure and connections with satellite communities and rural areas.

Let’s see a plan that solves problems with positive improvements to our important public transportation system.

Cathy Van Maren, La Crosse

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