Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

Downtown Parking Ramp
Downtown Parking Ramp
Scott Hall
July 21, 2014

Downtown Parking in Rapid City

Parking in downtown Rapid City is made up of a combination of timed parking, metered spaces, and leased spaces. Parking is free but limited to three hours on most of St. Joseph and Main Street. Meters are found mostly along Kansas City and Columbus Street. The parking lots and garages are a combination of meters and spaces leased by businesses or individuals.

Leased 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). Leased rates were last raised in 1997. Depending on location, rates are $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 by $4 per year over three years. A notification letter was sent to all current lessees.

A resolution has been brought up before the Legal & Finance Committee and the City Council but has not been acted on. A revised resolution is on the May 29th agenda for the Legal & Finance Committee; it raises rates by $3 across the board starting in 2014, with increases set at the lesser of 3% per year, or a rate calculated from the CPI.


Even with an increase, Rapid City rates for leased parking spots would still be low compared to other cities in South Dakota. Rates in Deadwood range from $50 to $125 per month, depending on location. Sioux Falls charges $32 to $67 per month, with one lot set at $90.

Among midwest cities of a similar size to Rapid City, when leased parking is available monthly fees vary. Bismarck, North Dakota, recently increased rates for its parking garages; uncovered spots went from $25 to $27, while covered spots rose from $45 to $50. In Rochester, Minnesota, a larger city, monthly fees range from $75 to $155. Ames, Iowa, charges $30 or $35 for reserved parking.

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 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, $15 for the third, and $25 for the fourth and subsequent fines. If not paid in 72 hours, second time offenders are assessed a $5 late fee, while others are assessed a $10 late fee. The system 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.

Mount Rushmore Road Corridor Project

The Mount Rushmore Road Corridor Project is a planned renovation of Mount Rushmore Road in Rapid City. One effect of changes to the road will be elimination of on-street parking. Local businesses have objected to the loss of convenient customer parking, but the plan has been approved by the City Council. There is the possibility that additional parking will be created in the area, but no definite plans.

Presidents Plaza

Presidents Plaza was a planned addition to downtown. It would have been a mixed-use facility that would have parking, residential, and commercial areas. The structure would have been built at Sixth and Saint Joseph Street, with construction expected to begin in 2013. As of 2016, the project has been canceled and the Rapid City Council is looking for other plans to fill the space.

Additional Resources

Downtown Parking Information  Rules on parking in Rapid City, with enforcement hours and parking locations

Increased Rates for Parking Leases memo  Memo sent from Pauline Sumption to the mayor and city council with the reasoning for an increase. Source for much of the information in this article.

Municipal Code  Chapters 10.40, 10.44, and 10.48  are the sections of the Rapid City Municipal Code dealing with parking

Parking archive  News stories and government reports dealing with parking

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. As the following stories show, past efforts have ranged beyond that corner and into the whole of downtown.


 June 25, 1965 Downtown city parking study half finished 
 March 8, 1966  City purchases downtown lots
 January 15, 1969  Hotel block second story parking "dream" unveiled for businesses


September 16, 1970 Parking ramp, fire hall, library site plans interwoven
February 2, 1971 Parking, special police laws changed
March 9, 1971 City to study traffic, parking
May 4, 1971 New downtown parking plans before planners
May 5, 1971 Interim parking plan offered, renewal tract approved
July 3, 1974 City reduces parking fine
August 5, 1971 Rushmore Road parking changed 
September 26, 1971 Off-street parking dead issue for now 
November 10, 1971 Committee will recommend downtown parking district
December 1, 1971 City rents downtown lot for parking
December 9, 1971 Replacing the Harney Hotel with city parking lot deserves support
December 14, 1971 Assessor lists Harney Hotel's value, tax debt
September 20, 1973 Immediate action favored on downtown parking plan
March 7, 1974 Downtown group agrees on steps to spur action
June 6, 1974 Few attend hearing on downtown parking
June 18, 1974  Council moves to cut $5 parking fine 
June 25, 1974  New association recommends creation of parking board
June 27, 1974  Proposed parking board tabled for two weeks
July 3, 1974 City reduces parking fine
August 6, 1974 City approves parking board
September 4, 1974 Parking board recommends leasing lot 
September 11, 1974 Parking lot proposal returned to board
September 13, 1974 Finance committee considers raising parking lot rates 
October 19, 1974 Recommendation made concerning parking lots
 October 19, 1974  Recommendation made concerning parking lots
 November 15, 1974  Parking district, purchase of land to be recommended 
 November 30, 1974  Consider potential of downtown
 December 3, 1974  City may revive plan to set up parking district 
 December 6, 1974  Barnett suggests removal of meters
 December 13, 1974  Parking board to study proposed district
 December 20, 1974  Barnett wants priority put on parking district 
 July 8, 1975  Time will tell for city parking problem
 July 29, 1975  City may buy parking lots
 November 19, 1975  $1.6 million 'facelift' proposed for city block 
 November 20, 1975  Main Street proposal is exciting concept
 November 24, 1975  Town meeting on redevelopment of city block discussed by LPA
 December 30, 1975  Parking rates at city lot may be increased
 January 16, 1976  Proposed downtown revitalization plan draws concern for off-street parking
 January 19, 1976  Leadership needed on parking proposal
 January 20, 1976  Decision postponed on buying property in 700 block of Main
 March 17, 1976  Council authorizes spending $140,000 for city parking lot 
 March 25, 1976  Downtown merchants answer council parking challenge
 August 6, 1976  City approves final payment on parking lot
 September 28, 1976  Off-street parking lot to be ready by November
 Oct 1, 1976  Paving completed on city parking lot
 Oct 6, 1976  Council purchases meters for a new parking lot
 October 12, 1976  Council to be asked to float $800,000 parking lot revenue bond issue 
 October 19, 1976  Property owner objects to use of land for downtown parking lot
November 9, 1976 Council raises monthly fee at city parking lot
 January 28, 1977  Consultant expresses optimism for revitalization of downtown
February 23, 1977 Hilton called 'critical' to downtown revitalization 
 March 28, 1977  Downtown renewal faces further delay
May 19, 1977 Downtown to feel loss of major stores but merchants optimistic about future
July 1, 1977 City looking at acquiring more downtown parking
July 6, 1977 Downtown parking proposal hits snag
July 13, 1977 Downtown parking topic of LPA discussion
July 14, 1977 City to proceed with land acquisition for parking in downtown Rapid City
 August 1, 1977 Downtown parking gets go ahead from city council 
August 5, 1977 City acquisition of lots at this time questionable
August 19, 1977 Council, merchants, at odds over downtown parking 
August 19, 1977 Parking influential in decision to shop
August 28, 1977 Downtown parking, what is the problem
September 13, 1977 Madden wants list of things to be done downtown
September 22, 1977 Parking meter revenues could retire bond issue
September 25, 1977 Downtown development to be discussed
September 30, 1977 Citizens identify downtown priorities
November 10, 1977 Parking- Where does the money go? 
November 10, 1977 City officials, downtown businessmen issued 'do something challenge' by peers
November 17, 1977 Downtown area re-use, parking discussed
November 23, 1977 LaCroix proposes smaller parking district
December 6, 1977 Chamber committee okays parking district proposal 
December 30, 1977 City to try again on parking district 
January 8, 1978 Parking plan assessment method needs definition
January 17, 1978 City council creates parking district 
January 20, 1978 Downtown beautification project should move soon 
February 14, 1978 Downtown redevelopment plans approved
February 20, 1978 Downtown building plans good news to Rapid City 
February 22, 1978 Downtown area becomes public parking district
February 26, 1978 Downtown redevelopment finalized
April 21, 1978 Trial would show whether parking meters expendable
April 26, 1978 City takes first step toward removing parking meters 
May 4, 1978 Council approves assessment roll for parking district 
May 23, 1978 City workers begin removing downtown parking meters
May 27, 1978 Parking decals say "two hour limit" 
January 8, 1979 Downtown parking district slowly becoming reality
April 11, 1979 Needs for downtown bus depot, parking conflict
June 10, 1979 Construction of free parking lot delayed
November 21, 1979 Downtown Hilton clears financial hurdle; building could begin soon 



May 22, 1980 An open letter to Mayor Art LaCroix
June 3, 1980 City to evaluate nodes, gives go-ahead for design of eight more
June 6, 1980 New building to rise from building rubble 
June 9, 1980 Another phase of downtown facelift begins
June 13, 1980 Another building bites the dust
June 30, 1980 City to save downtown tree
August 29, 1980 Parking space 'growing'
October 7, 1980 Parking lot nearly done
November 15, 1980 Association wants more meters removed
September 4, 1981 City to put up $165,000 for new downtown bus terminal
March 17, 1982 Survey says parking needed downtown
April 21, 1983 Chamber offers employee parking incentive
August 10, 1983 City parking study offers no solutions
August 31, 1983 City to do a study on downtown parking 
September 28, 1983 Downtown parking (Action Line)
December 14, 1983 Downtown parkers fed up with fines
December 20, 1983 Downtown parking 
January 19, 1984 Downtown parking 
January 20, 1984 Importance of airport, parking to new companies disputed
January 22, 1984 City people to vote on tax increase
January 25, 1984 Sales tax election gets good turnout
February 16, 1984 City to interview firms on new ramp, city hall
February 16, 1984 Merchants plan survey on use of parking ramp
March 1, 1984 City employees to do survey on parking ramp
March 6, 1984 Leased space key to downtown parking ramp
March 6, 1984 Design contracts accepted for city hall, ramp
April 5, 1984 Panel makes no decision on parking ramp site
May 17, 1984 Sixth and Omaha picked as new city hall site
June 12, 1984 City Council studying parking ramp options
July 3, 1984 Parking ramp location gets tentative approval
October 16, 1984 Council reconsiders parking ramp site
October 17, 1984 Hitch in plans is parking ramp is unfortunate
October 26, 1984 Council still favors same ramp site
November 18, 1984 Parking remains downtown problem
November 18, 1984 Parking remains downtown problem
November 28, 1984 City studying tax district to pay for ramp
November 29, 1984 Downtown in period of transition, says Downtown Association President Thatcher
January 26, 1985 Parking method letter
February 19, 1985 City may expand lots rather than build ramp
February 19, 1985 Shift from ramp to parking lots makes sense
February 21, 1985 Parking lots letter
March 23, 1985 Handicapped parking letter
March 27, 1985 Council to consider leased parking plan
April 3, 1985 Council goes ahead with parking plans
April 4, 1985 Public works panel postpones decisions on parking plans, curbs
May 16, 1985 Council to consider use of parking boots
May 26, 1985 Parking violators owe city up to $30,000 in unpaid fines
June 2, 1985 Ramp plans discarded in favor of parking lots
June 5, 1985 Council acts on parking fines, sidewalk requests
June 11, 1985 Panel suggests lots be used for leased parking
July 1, 1985 Rapid City planners do serious dreaming about downtown
July 23, 1985 Demolition begun for city parking
October 10, 1985 Group forms task force to improve downtown
February 2, 1986 Council postpones night parking decision
April 30, 1986 City plans more leased parking places
May 1, 1986 City resisting bar owners' efforts to get parking lot opened at night
May 6, 1986 City acquires Laughlin building for parking lot
May 7, 1986 City acquires last building for parking lot
November 12, 1986 Snow complicates parking lot plans
November 19, 1986 Council seeks solution to muddy parking lot 
November 26, 1986 Merchants await parking lot decision
December 2, 1986 Council rejects proposal to gravel lot
December 16, 1986 Council fails to agree on plans for a parking lot 
February 23, 1987 Oft-delayed parking lot gets top priority
April 20, 1988 Some parking violators get booted into action
June 8, 1988 Parking! Parking! Parking! 
June 8, 1988 The psychology of parking
August 3, 1988 Bits & pieces
October 14, 1988 Leased parking available
November 18, 1988 Repeat parking fines may mean stiffer penalties
June 10, 1989 Panel backs plan to ease parking 



July 1, 1990 Downtown workshop takes up parking, lights
July 29, 1990 Downtown groups asks for parking opinions
July 30, 1990 Downtown shopping letter
July 31, 1990 Meeting draws opposition to parking plan
November 7, 1990 Council's parking rate cut gives downtown shoppers more space
December 2, 1990 City hoping for better response to parking offer
March 4, 1991 The psychology of parking
June 21, 1991 City expands parking-limit area
August 1, 1991 City wants to end game of parking tag 
August 21, 1991 City aims at downtown car-shuffling
August 26, 1991 Let's hurt downtown area
October 1, 1991 Council jilts turn lanes for parking
November 1, 1991 City considers same charge for all parking
May 13, 1993 Flood-plain parking lots get rejected 
May 18, 1993 Council keeps door open on greenway lot
January 5, 1994 Downtown parking ramp still a possibility for city
February 15, 1994 Claims increase that city is stalling on building parking ramp
March 17, 1995 Mount Rushmore Road plans scrutinized
March 28, 1996 Council eyes downtown parking lots 
September 27, 1996  Restriping will clear up parking inconsistencies
October 31, 1996 Higher parking fees could buy garage
November 14, 1996 Parking rates, fines may go up
November 19, 1996 Council ups rates for lease parking
December 1, 1996 First develop parking plan 
December 12, 1996 Parking lot blues
December 12, 1996 Blue signs don't guarantee parking spot
January 13, 1997 Parking fines face increase
March 28, 1997 Parking slots for handicapped
October 2, 1997 City moves ahead on adding downtown parking
December 28, 1997  Downtown dilemma 
December 29, 1997 No parking, no spending
December 30, 1997 Parking depends on persistence, luck
December 31, 1997 Workers practice parking shuffle 
September 3, 1998 Project progresses
January 1, 1998 Nothing personal, its just efficiency
January 29, 1998 Parking structure changed
February 5, 1998 Meeting today on parking ramp
April 7, 1998 Council awards bid for parking ramp
August 28, 1998 More parking this way
November 21, 1998 New ramp nearly ready for parking
December 3, 1999 Addition would not trim library parking



January 8, 2003  City eases up on parking violations
January 16, 2003  Parking fines still on council's agenda
May 8, 2003  Fifth Street parking decision delayed
June 15, 2003  Premium parking
June 15, 2003  Here are some tips if you park downtown
June 15, 2003  Parking officers do more than write tickets
November 9, 2003  New tower planned for downtown
February 5, 2008  Council to seek advice on parking
February 28, 2008 What's the answer RC parking problem? 
April 23, 2008 New parking plan proposes more meters, graduated fines
May 1, 2008 City wants input on downtown parking plan 
May 2, 2008 Proposed parking plan a good start for downtown 
June 26, 2008  City moving forward with proposed parking plan
June 28, 2008 Modified parking plan referred to council
July 3, 2008 City makes significant changes to parking proposal
July 17, 2008 Downtown parking plan called 'unfair' 
July 23, 2008 Parking ramp expansion hits a cash bump
July 28, 2008 Parking proposal does have some merit 
August 5, 2008 2012 funds to cover parking ramp costs
October 2, 2008 Parking concerns to be heard again
October 16, 2008 Downtown parking proposal could be delayed 
September 30, 2008 Public voices concerns over parking downtown
November 6, 2008 Solving Rapid City downtown parking
September 12, 2009 Expansion of ramp to shuffle parking
September 22, 2010 If you invite them, where will they park?
April 26, 2011 Efficiency, demand drive up revenue
May 10, 2011 Downtown needs free parking
2006-2016 History of President's Plaza

Online News Archive

Parking in the archive -- Aggregated list of news articles and government documents on parking

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