A parking structure that provides free spaces near an east side night life area is expanding its hours
A parking structure that provides free spaces near a popular night life area on Milwaukee's east side is expanding its hours.
The Prospect Medical Commons parking structure, 2311 N. Prospect Ave., has long made 65 spaces available from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. on weekdays, and from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Those weekday hours are being extended to 5 p.m. through 6:30 a.m., under an agreement between Ascension-Columbia St. Mary's, which operates Prospect Medical Commons, and Ald. Nik Kovac, whose district includes most of the east side.
The new hours are to take effect next week.
Kovac also hopes to see the weekend hours expanded.
In addition, Ascension-Columbia St. Mary's has agreed to install more visible signs for the parking spaces.
Kovac said the changes are a big improvement in providing more parking spaces for customers of nearby restaurants, taverns and other night life businesses.
The expanded hours are especially needed at a time when nearby streets might shut down during evenings and weekends to provide more outdoor dining space, said Elizabeth Brodek, executive director of the East Side Business Improvement District.
That expanded outdoor dining space, which was recommended last week by a Common Council committee, is needed as Milwaukee's restaurants reopen at 25% capacity to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Brodek's organization has discussed seeking additional city approval to close two streets: part of East Ivanhoe Place between Farwell and Prospect avenues, and North Murray Avenue, between North and Thomas avenues.
Closing those streets would remove some street parking spaces.
Columbia St. Mary's agreed to the extended hours after Kovac asked the council's Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee to withhold acting on the hospital's request for permission to make minor exterior changes at its parking structure at 2318 N. Prospect Ave.
With the agreement, the committee on Tuesday unanimously endorsed those changes.
The hospital agreed to make the spaces available after the council and Mayor Tom Barrett in 2013 approved the neighboring Greenwich Park Apartments.
Greenwich Park, 2353 N. Farwell Ave., was built on a 46-space parking lot which the city sold to the developer, Mercy Housing Lakefront Inc.
Columbia St. Mary's in 2016 agreed to install two lighted, projected signs advertising the parking spaces.