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Parking in downtown Rapid City is made up of a combination of timed parking, metered spaces, and leased spaces. Currently, meters are found along most of Main Street, St. Joseph Street, parts of 9th, 7th, and 6th Streets, and in the parking structure. There are currently 39 zones where leased spaces are available for purchase. A map of the metered and leased zones can be found here.

Leased and Metered Parking

In 2013, an increase in leased parking was considered as a way to increase revenue to meet payments on the parking bond that financed the third floor of the downtown parking garage. The need for additional income was noted when the bond passed in 2008. The leased rates were previously raised in 1997. Depending on location, rates were $20, $30, or $40 per month, plus tax. As of February 1st, 2013, 766 spots were leased with 89 leaseholders having just one spot and 53 holding multiple spots. City Finance Officer Pauline Sumption offered several plans for the council’s consideration, including across the board increases of $5 or $10, a plan basing the increase on the number of spots leased, or a stepped increase that would raise rates b $4 per year over three years.

In December 2017, the Downtown Parking Study and Strategic Plan was released by Walker Consultants. This plan detailed the parking needs in the downtown area and proposed solutions. At this time, the meters downtown was only coin operated. Walker Consultants recommended replacing these meters with “smart meters” with no time limits that could be paid for with a credit card or through a smartphone app. They also proposed a universal two-hour time-limited parking in areas around downtown, developing an employee parking permit program, and engaging with the community to roll out the new changes. These changes were made by the City in 2019 with the replacement of all coin-operated meters with smart meters, new parking zones, and two-hour parking in all non-metered parking spots.

As of December 2021, there were 629 single-space meters, and 3 multi-space meters. There was a capacity of 619 in the leased lots, 649 leased lot permits, and 198 on-street permits.

Parking Enforcement

Hours of enforcement for parking vary based on whether the spot is metered, time-limited, or leased. For all types, there is no enforcement on Sundays and holidays.

In 2015, fines for expired meters and spots exceeding the two-hour limit changed from $5 to a graduated rate. On the first violation, the offender received a warning. The second violation earned a$10 fine, the third a $15 fine, and the fourth (and subsequent violations) a $25 fine. If not paid within 72 hours, second time offenders were assessed a $5 late fee, while others were assessed a $10 late fee. This system was met with opposition from residents and business owners.

In response, the city council crafted a new plan. On-street parking times were extended to three hours. The graduated rate was replaced with a flat $10 fine. These changes went into effect on May 15, 2015.

As of December 2021, the majority of citations for parking violations were $15. Overtime parking meters and timed-parking violations were $15, and after one week a $10 late fee was applied. If the fee was not paid within one month, a $25 fine was assessed. Parking in leased zones was monitored by a parking enforcement worker in a vehicle that tracked license plates and issued fines as necessary.

Mount Rushmore Road Corridor Project

The Mount Rushmore Road Corridor Project was a planned renovation of Mount Rushmore Road in Rapid City. One effect of changes to the road was elimination of on-street parking. Local businesses objected to the loss of convenient customer parking, but the plan was approved by the City Council. Construction began in October 2014 and consisted of four phases. The project took nearly four years to complete, with construction finishing in May 2018.

History of Parking Discussions in Rapid City

Parking issues and Rapid City's downtown go hand in hand. At present, the City Council and developers look at ways to add parking, either via new lots or through the creation of multi-use buildings like the planned President's Plaza. Mayor Sam Kooiker noted that three dozen city councils and seven mayors have attempted to revitalize the downtown with projects at Sixth and St. Joseph. The following timeline shows some of the many discussions that took place over the last 60 years.