I freaking knew it! 24/7 parking fees Downtown Sioux Falls

A couple of weeks ago I warned a couple of city councilors that this was coming down the pipeline;

Free parking at night and on weekends in downtown Sioux Falls could soon expire.

Once the pay stations were put in, and the phone apps I knew the city was moving in this direction. I have been putting up with this crap in larger cities like Minneapolis for years. It’s annoying. It reminds me of paying to take a crap in bus station.

I have often said that DTSF should have FREE parking in the ramps 24/7 and only meter Phillips Ave. during the day, this would encourage business DTSF, but they seem to think they know better;

Two years ago, downtown business owners heard from a consultant who changed their way of thinking.

“If you get parking turnover 12-15 per space a day each year that could be hundreds of thousands of dollars for retailers in terms of profit,” Downtown Sioux Falls president Joe Batcheller said.

But that turnover hasn’t been happening when its free to park.

“It is a bit of an issue, particularly in evenings and weekends, someone can come and park at 5 p.m. on Friday and leave their car there until Monday morning, and if that’s right in front of a business that hurts their bottom line,” Batcheller said.


I can count the number of cars on one hand that do that. And so what?! Who pays to maintain those parking spots – I do, through the 2nd penny CIP.

If someone comes DT at night they most likely will go to several places before leaving, spending money. How long would they stay if they had to pay for parking? If I come downtown at night I will go to 4-5 places before leaving. Last Saturday Night I went to 8 places during Jazz Crawl. How is that any different then multiple people coming DT and only shopping at one place? It’s NOT. The problem with DTSF is that they don’t have any zoning that requires diversification of businesses. If you want more people coming DT and spending money, boot all the boutiques out that close at 7 PM and put in businesses that actually entertain folks late into the night. Maybe retailers DT are suffering because they are in the wrong location?! Yah think McFLY!?

I have argued over the past decade DTSF has turned into snob-ville, and if they do this, it will continue to just be a playground for those that can ‘afford’ it. It’s really becoming quite pathetic.


#1 Scott D Hudson on 05.02.19 at 10:40 pm

Great. Can’t wait for a drunk who would otherwise do the right thing and leave their car downtown instead try to drive home and cause an accident.

#2 D@ily Spin on 05.03.19 at 7:49 am

I rarely go downtown. When I do, it is to a restaurant at night. Finding a parking space and plugging a meter in the dark is reason enough for me to find somewhere near the mall. It’s better anyway amongst the general population and away from downtown snobs.

#3 D@ily Spin on 05.03.19 at 9:26 am

Bad timing for parking cost. Downtown is a long treacherous trip via pothole streets, traffic, and stoplight to stoplight without being carjacked. Finding a place to park and fumbling for change in the dark compounds the problem.

#4 scott on 05.03.19 at 9:50 am

is it a coincidence that the city wants to eliminate free parking, and the hotel project reportedly in trouble?

#5 Zach DeBoer on 05.03.19 at 11:20 am

You can call BULLSH*T all day, but they’re right to look at expanding the paid parking hours downtown. It’s not just one consultant (Robert Gibbs is his name. He’s a big deal in the world of urban design) who talks about the importance of pricing your downtown parking correctly. There have been dozens of academic studies that have proven the positive effects that switching from free to paid parking has on a city’s economy.

This video is 100% worth your time to watch and it covers the topic perfectly: https://www.vox.com/videos/2017/7/19/15993936/high-cost-of-free-parking

Also, let’s pump the breaks and put down the torches for a second. The article never says 24 hour paid parking. It says ‘at Night’. Right now free parking starts at 5pm – which is exactly when downtown has the highest number of visitors, eaters, shoppers, etc. every day. If we want to encourage higher profits for our LOCAL BUSINESSES (and their employees) and also discourage people camping in prime parking spaces that could be used by the previously mentioned shoppers, expanding paid parking into the evening is a fair, obvious, and economically wise thing to do for EVERYONE.

My two cents? Expand hours incrementally and only in high traffic areas (Phillips 14-9th, Main 12-10 etc). Here’s my quick schedule:

M-Th: 8am – 6pm
F: 8am-8pm
S: 8am-1pm

Ramps free after 6pm M-F. Free on weekends.

What do you say angry mob? Doesn’t that sound fair?

#6 Matthew Paulson on 05.03.19 at 11:26 am

Zach – Sounds reasonable to expand the hours. I’d just want to make sure that people can leave their car over night if they need to take a Lyft home and not get a fine for making the responsible decision to let someone drive them home.

#7 l3wis on 05.03.19 at 11:30 am

“Right now free parking starts at 5pm – which is exactly when downtown has the highest number of visitors, eaters, shoppers, etc. every day.”

Maybe there is a reason behind that?

“also discourage people camping in prime parking spaces”

I still don’t understand this ‘camping’ argument. You want people to come DT, and spend money, at several places. They can’t do that in 15 minutes. If I go DT for entertainment, I go for the night. Do you want people to move their cars every 15 minutes? Like I said in the post, we own the parking spots DT, we maintain them through our taxes. If we start charging all the time for parking DT it is a form of double taxation.

#8 Erica on 05.03.19 at 11:36 am

Terrible idea to take away free evening and especially free weekend parking.

As is the paid parking lot at the DT library!

#9 LJL on 05.03.19 at 12:31 pm

The city needs to stop pissing away money on this area as only a few of the taxpayers actually use it. Sink or swim, the downtown area needs to make its own way and paid parking is a good step. I would make parking free from Midnight to 8 AM do discourage drunk driving.

#10 Bruce on 05.03.19 at 1:35 pm

The Argus Leader story nails it: https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/city/2019/05/03/sioux-falls-parking-ramp-village-on-river-lamont-companies-legacy-developments/3650625002/
“I will say it’s not the easiest to get a bond of that size,” Pate said, referring to Village River Group’s $50 million share of the project. “If you have really bad credit or other issues you might not be able to get a bond at all.”

The ramp was planned as a taxpayer bonding scam and the project is collapsing. The risk to the enterprise funds, 2nd penny CIP, our bad streets being upgraded and the internal auditor job are all tied into this mess.

#11 Theresa stehly on 05.03.19 at 1:42 pm

For your information:
TJ Nelson from the mayor’s office just left me a voicemail confirming that the administration is NOT interested in changing the hours for the DT fees.
He has relayed this information to the Argus and KELO.

#12 anominous on 05.03.19 at 2:14 pm

hey Deboer, What do them consultants do about coal rollers “in the world of urban design”?

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