RACINE — A Racine commission is scheduled to take up an alderman’s suggestion this week that the city remove its parking meters.
Alderman Steve Smetana, who represents the city’s 5th District, asked in November for a discussion on the topic. The City Council referred the suggestion to the Transit and Parking Commission, which is scheduled to talk over the idea at its Wednesday meeting.
Smetana told The Journal Times in November that he thinks doing away with the parking meters would make the city a more welcoming place. Free parking, he said at the time, would make the community more inviting to shoppers and diners.
“It’s just a small step to start welcoming people,” Smetana said.
The parking meters have frustrated some business owners who see the pay-to-park requirement as a deterrence for potential patrons.
Kelly Kruse, executive director of the Downtown Racine Corp., said in November that free parking could eliminate the availability of spots. She said that in the past, with places where people could park for free, vehicles sometimes parked for days at a time and there was limited turnover for stores and restaurants.
Racine offers free parking at limited times throughout the year. For the past two Decembers, for example, the city allowed people to park without plugging the meters on Saturdays. The move aimed to drive local holiday shopping, city officials said.