City funds Town Center parking study 

By Gary Achterberg - News Graphic Staff

May 16, 2017

 A traffic firm will count cars and provide parking suggestions to the city of Mequon.
Photo by Mark Justesen

MEQUON — Many consider the Town Center and its array of businesses a welcome addition to Mequon, but it doesn’t take long for any discussion to get around to one topic: Parking.

Whether it’s poor planning, suburban expectations of easily finding a spot or simply being a victim of its own success, there certainly are times when parking your car can be a challenge.

Mequon officials are confident the situation will get better as the Town Center continues to evolve and the city takes steps to solve the problem.

After a lengthy and sometimes-contentious discussion May 9, Mayor Dan Abendroth had to break a tie Common Council vote to authorize spending $50,598 to conduct a detailed parking and traffic analysis of the Town Center developments and adjacent civic campus.

Aldermen Mark Gierl, John Hawkins and Glenn Bushee voted no. The vacant 7th District aldermanic seat was considered a no vote, resulting in the tie.

Cedarburg-based Traffic Analysis & Design Inc. will conduct a study this summer that will count traffic flow and actual cars in parking spots in differing scenarios that will consider peak-use times at the Town Center, as well as at the nearby city swimming pool and baseball field. Its report will include recommendations on ways to improve traffic flow and parking.

The decision to authorize the bigger study followed TADI’s presentation of an initial report that gauged parking use through a variety of “table-top exercises” that did not actually involve counting parked cars.

That report drew criticism from John Leszcynski, who wants to build a restaurant on the site of the now-closed Logemann Community Center. He called the initial report “very one-sided” and pointed to what he called discrepancies between the information in the report and the conclusions.

“As long as staff is opposed to this restaurant, you’re going to have to muddle your way through all of this misinformation,” he said.

Gierl said he wasn’t going to vote to spend more money on another parking study.

“Part of this was garbage-in, garbage-out,” he said. “It’s just a way that Backwoods Pub and Grill (Leszcynski’s plan) doesn’t get in this spot. Go ahead and spend the money. It’s not our money, it’s the taxpayers’ money, but I’m not voting for it.”

Hawkins, who opposed the second phase, said he did not think it would be money wellspent.

“It’s very premature to be spending $51,000 on an actual count when we could use the money to increase the parking we actually have,” he said.

Alderman Rob Strzelczyk said he was not thrilled with the initial report, noting there were “some pretty decent holes poked in the data.” He added, however, that it is important for the council to base its parking decisions on hard data.

“I am struggling to make any decision based on this,” he said. “But, we’ve got to get this right; we’ve got one kick at the can.”

After that vote, Abendroth reminded aldermen that Foxtown Ventures – a group of four community leaders who have proposed raising $4 million to $7 million to fund improvements to the pool, baseball complex and other civic campus amenities – said in an email it would wait for the parking report “before further evaluation of our proposal.”

When the final vote was taken several minutes later as the officials met as the Common Council, Alderman Dale Mayr changed his vote from no to yes, clearing the way for the study.