The Monument parking scene set to drive ingenuity
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Construction on the Summit Arena has subtracted from parking at the venue, but not nearly as much as you may think. Plus, this loss could actually drive some changes that would help the city.
Out of thousands of parking spaces in close proximity to The Monument, only 75 spots were ultimately given up to the Summit Arena construction. Officials say they’re looking to the bug venues in other cities for solutions, such as utilizing a few spaces near the venue in combination with other parking and shuttle options downtown.
Craig Baltzer, Executive Director of The Monument, compared parking at his venue to a major venue in Denver.
“We have more parking per seats than the Pepsi Center in Denver, and what are they doing? They’re using the parking available to them on their big nights,” he says.
The Monument directors suggest that there’s only a handful of nights per year where parking begins to fill up. Adding more asphalt would impinge on surrounding greenery, and then usually sit vacant.
“It’s a waste of real estate, it’s a waste of money,” Baltzer adds. “Let’s use what’s available to us and let’s connect up and partner up.”
Although building more parking lots would add more parking spaces, that’s not necessarily the most economically or environmentally friendly option.
There is parking available at Central High School across the street, at the parks, and at the Journey Museum, which can all be used when headed to The Monument.
One hope for the future is to partner with Main Street Square to set up an electric shuttle system on the Promenade. This would also help to alleviate some of the street traffic in the hours leading up to big events.
“People in Downtown who use downtown parking could meet at town square,” Baltzer explains. “We’d pick them up and bring them back over here, or you don’t even have to wait for a pickup point. Just start walking and then the shuttle would just come by and say, need a lift?”
The Monument and Main Street Square officials say this method would also bring more business to restaurants downtown, and it’s more environmentally friendly than converting already diminishing grassland to concrete fields.