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Pandemic-era parking going away in downtown Sioux Falls
20-minute carryout spaces were costing city as much as $50K annually in lost meter revenue
Say goodbye to 20-minute carryout parking spaces in downtown Sioux Falls.
The Sioux Falls Public Parking Department is getting rid of the short-term, free parking spaces it placed along commercial corridors in the heart of the city as the world grappled with how to keep businesses alive while keeping customers at home.
“We put those in to help those businesses who were dealing with trying times and providing safe pickup spots for customers,” Sioux Falls Parking Manager Matt Nelson said. “They have run their course, and we’ve seen the parking in our core area return to pre-pandemic levels.”
The change means more than a dozen parking spaces along Main and Phillips Avenues — the two busiest streets in downtown — will once again become revenue generators for the city’s parking system, which funds parking staff as well as maintenance and debt payments on city-owned parking lots and ramps in downtown. Sioux Finance Director Shawn Pritchett said this spring that the 20-minute carryout spaces were sacrificing as much as $50,000 in annual revenue for the parking system.
But short-term, free parking in downtown isn’t going away completely. Along with the elimination of carryout parking spaces, City Hall will transition about 20 spaces along 10th, 11th and 12th Streets to what the parking division is referring to as “express zones,” where drivers will be able to park for 15-minute increments if they are actively unloading or loading passengers or goods.
Unless a user is actively unloading or loading freight, when a vehicle is parked in an express parking zone, they should use their flashing lights and limit their stay to 15 minutes. Approximately 20 spaces will be dedicated to the express zones in seven locations near intersections on Phillips Avenue.
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The express zones are also intended to be used by taxi cabs and rideshare drivers. Keeping pick-ups and drop-offs from happening along Phillips and Main Avenues is intended to reduce traffic congestion and keep more spaces free for visitors who drive downtown, said Joe Batcheller, president of Downtown Sioux Falls, Inc, which signed off on the changes along with the Sioux Falls Public Parking Advisory Board.
“As downtown continues to grow, collaboration and innovation will be increasingly important to help guide the success of our region’s economic and cultural hub,” said Joe Batcheller, president of DTSF, Inc. “These pick-up and drop-off zones are a great example of working together and thinking differently so that downtown continues to thrive.”