[March 21, 2002]

CONTACT: Mike Barrett; (608)345-2621; Brett Hulsey, (608)334-4994

Parking Cash-Out Gives Commuters a Choice for More Cash
Madison — With downtown Madison experiencing March parking madness, downtown business leaders, Dane County and private officials today unveiled a Parking Cash-Out program to reduce traffic, parking, and pollution problems. Parking Cash-Out allows commuters to choose between a parking space, the cash value of the space, or a bus pass.

"With the new buildings downtown, we need more parking," said Susan Schmitz, president of Downtown Madison, Inc. "We appreciate local leaders and UrbanThoreau working with us to open up parking spaces."

It costs $25,000 to build a new parking space downtown, or $200 per month, according to the Madison Parking Utility.
"We believe significant numbers of downtown employees will volunteer to take advantage of the cash benefit. That frees up new parking and cuts traffic and pollution downtown," said County Supervisor Brett Hulsey, a member of the County Transportation Committee. "The cheapest, quickest way to create new parking is to free up existing spaces with the Parking Cash-Out program."
The program targets employers who are experiencing a parking crunch. It also benefits employees who want to reduce the cost of commuting.

The River Alliance already has a model program. "It is great, I get money for biking and it helps protect our rivers and lakes from pollution," said Lisa Goodman, a River Alliance employee.
The downtown Parking Cash-Out program was developed by UrbanThoreau LLC, a Madison-based consulting firm specializing in creating places for people.

According to the firm’s president, Michael Barrett, "This program is available to other employers who wish to increase their travel choices and reduce hassle and costs." Employers and employees interested in setting up a Parking Cash-Out program can contact Barrett at (608)345-2621.
The Dane County Parking Cash-Out program - Wisconsin ’s first such program – is funded in part by a Wisconsin Department of Transportation grant.

There will be a public presentation on the program Thursday night at the Madison Long Range Transportation Planning Commission in Room LL-130 of the Madison Municipal Building starting at 4:30 PM.