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Downtown visitors say there is adequate parking available

A recently completed study found little evidence to suggest that parking in downtown Hudson has become more difficult.

Ninety-six percent of visitors to the downtown interviewed over three days last August reported being satisfied with how close their parking spot was to their destination, David Trechter, head of the Survey Research Center at UW-River Falls, told the City Council Monday night.

The council commissioned the research center to conduct the study as a follow-up to a 2001 study. Council members wanted to know if it truly is harder to find a place to park before undertaking expensive construction to provide more parking spaces.

Trechter and Jim Janke, UW-Extension resource agent for St. Croix County, provided a summary of the report they authored to the Hudson City Council.

Asked what the biggest surprise to come out of the study was, Trechter said it was the percentage of people who reported being satisfied with the availability of parking downtown. The number was an improvement by several percentage points compared to the 2001 survey.

Mayor Jack Breault and Council President Scot O'Malley said they thought the construction of additional parking spaces on the west side of First Street had improved the situation.

Trechter agreed, saying there is a high level of awareness of the new spaces, and they are well used.

Reports also cited the following as evidence that parking downtown hasn't gotten more difficult:

  • The percentage of total parking spaces occupied didn't clearly rise between 2001 and 2005.

  • Neither the time required to find a parking space nor its distance from the visitor's final destination increased since 2001.

  • Sixty-seven percent of business owners and managers said that their customers report having trouble finding a parking place, but that was down from 81 percent saying the same thing in 2001.

  • The number of Hudson-area residents reporting that it is difficult to find a parking place close to their downtown destination dropped to 35 percent in 2005, compared to 43 percent in December 2000.

    Business owners and managers continue to view parking downtown as more difficult than the general public views it, the report says.

    Trechter said that makes sense because business people have a financial stake in the availability of parking.

    The council referred the report to its Public Safety Committee for further analysis.

    Randy Hanson can be reached at

  • Randy Hanson

    Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

    (715) 426-1066