After significant public input, the Monona City Council has referred two items to the city’s public works department for further study.

On the city council’s Oct. 19 agenda was an ordinance establishing permanent parking restrictions on Tonyawatha Trail and Winnequah Trial, but after the public spoke up, more thought and research will be done before any changes are made.

Monona Mayor Mary O’Connor said between 35 and 40 residents contacted the council in total. At the Oct. 19 meeting, seven spoke about the potential permanent restrictions, all opposed.

Additional parking restrictions have been in place on the street since April. O’Connor said last spring, several residents contacted the council, concerned about being able to keep their distance from other walkers and bikers with an influx of people using the Lake Monona lake loop due to the COVID-19 pandemic and large home construction projects in the area.

On April 14, a temporary no-parking order went into effect. This lasted until July 14, and it was extended again until Mid-October following positive public feedback. The feedback was not so positive this time around.

One resident who spoke last Monday said the changes were appropriate during the increased bike traffic of the summer, but after speaking with several of his neighbors, “we struggle to see the need for permanent, year-round restrictions.”

The council listened to residents and did not move forward with permanent restrictions, at least for the time being. But with these permanent restrictions off the table, there are still questions to be asked about Tonyawatha Trail.

The board referred to public works the idea of moving the Lake Monona Lake Loop, a popular 13-mile route along the lake used by many bikers every year, off of Tonyawatha Trail.

Tonyawatha, which does not have a sidewalk, can be a narrow street in some spots, especially with the amount of traffic it receives during the summer months, some say. Add on any construction that may be happening in the area and the boat launching ramps at Tonyawatha Park and it can make for quite a logjam.

“Everyone is a little uncomfortable driving down this street because everyone but a marching band is driving on this street,” one resident said at last week’s meeting. “It is not my road. It’s mine plus yours, and bikes, the dog-walkers, the strollers and the trailers.”

The council seemed to agree that a bigger discussion about the lake loop’s route through Monona is overdue. After public works’ study, it will be discussed again in the future.

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