Film trip exposes parallel parking talent

Parallel parking blog may violate state ordinance

Story by Courtney Kueppers, Copy Editor

“Dude there’s a spot right there.”

Chris Schasse, senior, uttered the words numerous times to friend, James Wagner, a UW- Eau Claire graduate, on a summer road trip as he drove by parking spots.

In an attempt to avoid walking more than a mile to campus last semester, Schasse like many Eau Claire students, parked on the residential streets around campus. Due to advanced parallel parking skills Schasse doesn’t have much trouble finding a spot.

“It’s all about trial and error. I’ll pull up next to a spot and think well maybe,” Schasse said.  “If you can’t get your front bumper in front of their bumper it’s impossible.”

When he managed to park his ’92 Dodge Spirit in a tight spot this fall he sent pictures to Wagner, who drove the duo on their road trip. When Schasse had to learn to use Weebly, a website builder, for work his collection of parallel parking pictures became the subject matter.

“On my birthday he sent me a link to the blog to mess with me and make fun of my inability to parallel park,” Wagner said.

Responses to the blog have varied, Schasse said.

“It is kind of funny to see the comments positive and negative,” Schasse said. “One guy commented with a link to the Wisconsin ordinance about parking.”

The ordinance, 346.54(1)(d), states, “In parallel parking, a vehicle shall be parked with its front end at least 2 feet from the vehicle in front and with its rear end at least 2 feet from the vehicle in the rear, unless a different system of parallel parking is clearly indicated by official traffic signs or markers.”

However, in the jam packed streets surrounding campus Schasse has never received a ticket for parking too close to a vehicle, in fact not even an angry note, he said.

Community relations officer, Kyle Roder, said the Eau Claire Police Department tries to be proactive about parking issues around town. Community Service Officers monitor parking and enforce ordinances, but complaints about parking are common, he said.

“There are a lot of things people don’t understand about parking rules and regulations,” Roder said.

Common things being parking too close to a crosswalk, marked or unmarked and permit violations.

Gary Sherwood, a driving instructor at Accountable Driver Education, said parallel parking isn’t the challenge students are facing.

“Once you learn the proper way to do it (parallel parking), it is really easy. If you set your car up right then it is really quite easy,” Sherwood said. “The problem is the lack of parking.”

Sherwood, an Eau Claire alumni, said parking by campus has been a problem for quite some time. He said the high number of parking tickets written provide a high source of revenue for the city.

Schasse moved closer to campus this semester and will no longer have to worry about finding a parking spot, but he does hope the original intent of his road trip takes off the way his parallel parking blog has.

Schasse and Wagner were looking for an excuse to get out of the Midwest last summer, which is when they headed West to make a web series, The Break Slide, about Ultimate Frisbee and the culture surrounding the sport.

“People will be like, ‘oh I saw your stuff on the Internet and I will be like The Break Slide stuff? And they are like no the parallel parking,’” Schasse said. “I’m hoping this thing I put my heart and soul into people will start noticing too.”