3 Things to Know about the Parking Study at Tosa East


Walker Consultants

The proposed community parking zone around Wauwatosa East High School

Ava Beisenstein, Editor

In early 2020, the City of Wauwatosa was taken on by Walker Consultants to perform a parking study of the streets surrounding Wauwatosa East High School and the nearby Wauwatosa Village. Parking has been a big problem for East students, faculty, visitors, and neighbors, for a long time. Limited parking and the three hour restriction on many of the surrounding streets create a hassle and force students to leave school every three hours to move cars – or face a ticket. On Tuesday, September 29, Walker Consultants presented their findings and recommendations at a public meeting to the Transportation Affairs Committee. 

1. The Recommendations

Walker Consultants recommends the city implements a 90-day community parking zone. This would change the three hour time limit to unrestricted daytime parking. During these 90 days, weekly reports would summarize the effects for the Transportation Affairs Committee to review. They also recommend an educational parking guidebook for students and parents, the implementation of painted striping at intersections, driveways, and fire hydrants to clearly mark the legal distance required, and permit one-side parking on the West side of 74th street. 

2. Parking and East High School

At the meeting, students and parents were invited to share their thoughts and concerns with the Transportation Affairs Committee, Walker Consultants, and Wauwatosa Aldermen in attendance. For East students, parking is a daily problem. In order to park reasonably close to school students must move their car every three hours. This can quickly become a large inconvenience and an interruption in the school day. Junior Susie Reilly, who admitted that her and her older brother, a recent East graduate, have received multiple tickets, mentioned at the meeting that for students who have 0 or 8th hour classes or after school activities, moving their vehicle becomes more than a once-a-day problem. This means that students may miss class time or lunch in order to move their car – time which could definitely be spent in more productive ways. Reilly also brings up that students could just be talking to a teacher, get caught up working on homework, and may be just 30 minutes over the time restriction, and still receive a ticket. Many students feel as though the current system unfairly punishes teenagers, especially students who live far away, just trying to get an education. 

3. Neighbors’ Response

Although there were many in support of the proposed changes in parking, there was still one vocal critic – neighbors of Tosa East. Two residents on 73rd street worry that unrestricted parking will encourage more students to drive to school, even saying that the proposed plan means that “kids will have the run of my street”. This neighbor points out that a student will only be driving to East for a couple of years of their lives, while she has been living in her house for a significantly longer time – without recognizing that the original school was built over 100 years ago. Some neighbors suggested that students park in the public lots under Harmonee Bridge or at the City Hall and library, and be shuttled to East by a vehicle. Walker Consultants mentioned that this is not a viable long term solution and that many students and parents would not feel safe walking or using a shuttle, especially in the winter when it’s dark out after school events and activities. Another suggestion was that the high school pay for spots for students to use in these public lots, ensuring there is always a parking spot open. It is important to note that there is not a shortage of parking spots surrounding East, only a three hour time restriction that harms students, and that these public lots already have a purpose for the Village businesses and City Hall visitors.