SafePark program gets nod from city council
By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – The City Council unanimously approved the SafePark program – a pilot initiative of the Brown County Tavern League geared toward curbing drunk driving – at its meeting Tuesday, July 16.
The program is a joint effort between the Tavern League and the city to cut down on patrons getting behind the wheel intoxicated.
“We thoroughly vetted this and flushed out a number of variables, making sure we weren’t rewarding certain behaviors, but creating a responsible option for those who chose not to get behind the wheel,” said District 9 Alder Brian Johnson, who has worked with the Tavern League on the program. “Any time we can give people the opportunity to make an easy decision, I think we ought to do that.”
SafePark will allow people to park overnight in the city if they’ve had too much to drink – without having to worry about getting a parking ticket.
Patrons can simply obtain a voucher from a bartender they would hang on their car’s rearview mirror. The voucher would allow them to park overnight instead of driving drunk.
Currently, only bars which are members of the Tavern League will be eligible to participate.
If the program is deemed successful, other establishments may be able to participate in the future.
Those who use a voucher must pick up their vehicle the next day before parking restrictions begin again.
The voucher does not override a meter or downtown parking restriction that kicks in the following morning.
The voucher can’t be used during weather emergencies and can only be used one night at a time.
Don Mjelde, president of the Brown County Tavern League, said the SafePark program isn’t a cure for drunk driving, but rather another tool to keep roads safe.
Alder Johnson said that the goal is keep the public safe.
“Sometimes the choice is – do I risk getting a parking ticket or do I get behind the wheel?” Johnson said. “We are trying to eliminate that.”
Program roll-out is expected sometime in August.
To offer more options, the Tavern League is working with the Green Bay Police Department and parking officials to create an interactive map that shows people where they can park overnight and not get a parking ticket.