Greg Peck: Parking problems at Rock County 4-H Fair
Those heading to the Rock County 4-H Fair in Janesville today for the opening of the 85th annual event shouldn't expect parking problems like those seen on the first day last year. Recall that the country duo Florida Georgia Line performed on the main stage that night, and anyone finding a parking spot anywhere near the fairgrounds must have felt like the luckiest person around when a record crowd of more than 30,000 turned out.
My wife and I got grandstand seats early that evening, and as we waited and the air cooled, I decided to walk three blocks home to grab our jackets. I saw the jam of motorists slowly cruising the packed streets looking for places to park. I steered one young couple into our driveway, telling them they could park there without charge. They were delighted and appreciative as they scampered off toward the fair.
First Lutheran Church, across the street and to the east of the fairgrounds, again will pad its coffers by charging fairgoers to park in its newly repaved lot. Some homeowners neighboring the fair also charge people to park on their lots. A sign charging $10 went up Monday on the large corner lot at Milwaukee and Freemont streets a block from the fair's main entrance. Cars likely will fill that property repeatedly this week.
The thing is, I've seen cars parked for blocks and blocks to the north of the fairgrounds. Meanwhile, quite often, street parking is available just two or three blocks south of the fairgrounds, beyond Milwaukee Street. It's as if fairgoers consider that busy thoroughfare some sort of freeway-like barrier and won't cross it.
Back to that big crowd for opening day last year, I remember arriving home and seeing cars parked up against driveways and one even blocking access to a fire hydrant. Maybe these folks got the tickets they deserved, but I didn't see any.
It was interesting, then, to hear Tim Bremel on his WCLO “Your Talk Show” Monday detailing the parameters of proper parking. I asked him to share the ordinance details he was citing, and he did so, sending me a news release from the Janesville Police Department noting the fines for frequently observed parking violations during fair week.
Parking in a zone posted “no parking” or more than 12 inches from the curb could net you a $30 fine. The same fine goes for parking within 4 feet of a driveway, 5 feet of a mailbox or 15 feet of an intersection or crosswalk. Park within 30 feet of a traffic sign or signal, and it could cost you $30, as well.
The fine climbs to $50 for parking within 10 feet of a fire hydrant.
“If you are attending the fair, please be courteous and respectful to the area residents,” patrol officer Mark Ratzlaff suggested in the news release.
I don't mind people parking in my neighborhood on fair week. When I see the streets around our corner filling up, I know attendance is good and that the fair has brought attractions that help keep it financially stable. I was glad to see Ratzlaff suggest courtesy, however. One good way to be respectful of neighbors: Take your trash with you.
Have fun at the fair!