New Pay to Park program starts in La Crosse

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- In September the city of La Crosse approved a new Pay to Park program, which is now starting to be implemented.

Pay to Park program sign standing near Western Technical College in La Crosse

Drivers in La Crosse who want to park on some city streets will have to pay a dollar an hour to do so.

City officials say people can pay to park through their phones using an app, website or a phone number.

Cars parked in the designated zones can pay to park up to four hours a day.

"15 to 20 blocks I think it is right now, of hundreds of blocks throughout the city. So right now it is truly a pilot program and then once we get done with that year, we'll make a decision based upon how that year went," said City of La Crosse Parking Utility Coordinator Jim Flottmeyer.

The first of the signs have been installed by the Western Technical College campus near downtown La Crosse, and some students are not fully on board with the idea.

"It's gonna cost a lot to pay for parking spots to get close to my classes and I'm already paying much for tuition in that it's not the best," said WTC Student Ben Grupa.

"I have a simple understanding as to why they're re-enforcing this rule but it does make it a lot harder on the students who are taking classes over the summer," added Katie Larkin, who is taking summer classes at WTC.

City officials say the program will be used for one year as a trial, before making any long-term decisions.

"Maybe some of those people have decided now they're going to ride their bike, use the MTU system which you know fully services both of those areas. So maybe that's considered a success, so maybe if our success isn't complete and yet we've driven people to try these alternatives," said Flottmeyer.

In addition to around WTC, the program will also be implemented around UW-La Crosse after the state track meet next weekend.

Flottmeyer says all the proceeds from the program will go towards the parking utility budget.