BY KATIE MATTESON
When I interviewed the owners at Salute for their Great Tastes story, they asked that I make sure to mention the easy access to their restaurant from the Lake Avenue parking ramp. There wasn’t space in the story, but it seemed like a great topic for this column.
And based on that conversation, I was prompted to do something I’d never done before in downtown Racine. I parked in the Lake Avenue ramp and it wasn’t scary at all.
Not only was it not scary, it was super easy to get in and out of the ramp, cost just $2 and gave me direct access to Crosswalk Park.
Where’s Crosswalk Park? That’s the one with the big Adirondack chair on the east side of Main Street between 3rd and 4th streets (right across the street from Salute).
Downtown has five parking ramps, most of them largely empty and just waiting for drivers to discover their great assets. Here’s a list, as presented on the Downtown Racine Corp. website:
All day parking: $2. Ramps will accept dollars and quarters
Civic Center – 501 Lake Ave.
*Gaslight – 25 Gaslight Dr.
*This lot accepts debit cards
Lake Avenue – 300 Lake Ave.
McMynn – 120 7th St.
Shoop – 226 Main St.
I know I’ll be utilizing them more often.
You’ve also got two other parking options: street parking or surface lots. Both have meters, which you can plug for up to four hours in some spots and up to 10 hours in other spots.
Metered parking spaces are located throughout Downtown Racine. Parking rates range from 30 cent/hour (10 hr. limit) to 75 cents/hour (30 min. to 4 hr. limits). City parking meters require coins.
Metered parking is 30 cents/hour
Lakefront – 3 6th St.
7th and Park – 700 Park Ave.
Park & Villa – 720 Park Ave.
Park & Water – 418 Water St.
And you have two payment options: quarters or the mobile parking app.
The mobile parking app called PassportParking®, introduced by the City of Racine in September 2017, allows users to purchase meter parking (not the ramps) with a debit or credit card from their smartphones.
I had downloaded the app a while ago, but hadn’t actually used it until I recently had to deal with the embarrassment of scrounging for quarters at a meeting and dealing with the shame of not having a fully activated app.
And once again, I tried something new and it wasn’t scary.
All you need to do is download the app, enter a credit card number (just the first time), put in the zone number of the meter and then the specific meter number, decide how much time you’d like and you’re all set.
Later, when the meter is about to expire, the app will sound a cute little beep-beep (like a car horn) and you’ll have the option of either returning to your car or extending the parking session right on your phone so you can continue what you’re doing.
So now I’m all set for every parking situation downtown. I’m stocked with quarters, I have an activated parking app and I know that I can use any of the ramps for just $2.
Developing parking strategies will become more important as the warm weather approaches (yes it’s really coming) and there’s more activity downtown. There are lots of new shops and restaurants you need to visit, First Fridays starts back up in April, the Downtown Art Walk is set for April 27, the new Wine Walk debuts on May 11 and it won’t be long before Monument Square comes alive with Music on the Monument and Saturday Sounds.
Demand for parking will increase, but rest assured there’s still plenty available – you just need to prepare yourself. It’s totally worth it because more than ever, Downtown Racine is the place to be!