Concerns voiced over new parking rules during public meeting
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Businesses and property owners laid out their concerns over new parking rules and meters in downtown Rapid City on Thursday night at a city hall meeting.
The plan is broken into 32 different zones – based on a parking study the city conducted in 2017. The survey determined which areas would benefit from metered parking, 2-hour parking, and additional lots that would feature permitted parking.
According to Sarah Hanzel, a long-range planner for the city, “Our recommendations in our parking study about where to put the meters are based on the data that was collected on that, with the observations, continuing observations, from our enforcement staff.”
One of the biggest concerns voiced by residents at the meeting was new weekend parking rules. That’s when most of the zones will have paid parking, but other zones in the same area will have free parking.
According to business-owner Diane Alberts, “One of our biggest concerns is that they’re going to be issuing permit parking on the non-metered streets. They’re also going to be offering free parking on the non-metered areas and charging in the metered areas on Saturdays, which is a big retail day for us.”
Merchants are also concerned that downtown visitors will take up the free parking in front of their businesses and then walk to wherever they want to go. They say this leaves fewer parking spots for people who want to shop in the free zones, and it could possibly impact revenue.
Others were upset that there would be an increased fee for tickets and shortages in employee parking and parking availability for people who live in the area. They say they want to be able to have priority to park near their homes.
The city says that once the new meter system is in place there will be room for improvement and that this plan is simply a starting point for the future of parking in Rapid City.
The new ordinances will get a second reading at city council on Monday.