They have lingered in the downtown area for nearly 80 years. Often times, when we think about them, we're less than enthused.
We're talking about parking meters. But have you ever wondered where your money actually goes beyond the coin slot?
Downtown, every cent counts, as the meters sit patiently waiting for you. If you don't feed them, a small yellow surprise will appear on your windshield.
"Our tickets have been consistent from year-to-year and we're writing anywhere from 36,000 to 40,000 tickets a year. 18% of those are warnings. It's pretty consistent," Public Parking Director Matt Nelson said.
Nelson explains the meters are here to increase turnover downtown. They've been around since the 1930s and all 1,000 of them are here to stay.
"The meters bring in anywhere from $250-300,000 annually in change. It's a fair amount of money but it covers about the cost to maintain the system. We make a slight profit there but we use it to reinvest into new meters, new technology for the future," Nelson said.
Speaking of new technology, and the future, the city of Sioux Falls is about to introduce 185 brand new parking meters called 'smart meters' which allows you to use your credit card.
"You essentially just insert the credit card into the meter. It's like an ATM, you select your time, how much time you want, you hit 'OK' and it processes your transaction. it works just like putting change into a meter," Nelson said.
The meters aren't cheap either with one costing right around $500.
"We bring in another $200,000 annually in fines on the tickets. The staff enforces it goes back into the system," Nelson said.
It's not just the drivers that call them a hassle, a few other business owners aren't so fond of them either. While those who oppose the meters declined an interview, the owner of Mrs. Murphy's Irish Gifts on Phillips Avenue said the opposite.
"It's a welcoming statement to welcome them downtown. It's a courtesy to have a space for them to park in," owner Dick Murphy said.
Murphy said the meters are less about pushing people away, because you have to pay, and more about keeping customers who do come downtown on the go.
"Whenever a business is setting up in a downtown area, you want the customers to have a movement, you want to see new customers come and enjoy your store just as much as the last people who parked," Murphy said. "If you had other businesses with employees who can park there all day long, that's not a good customer service type of attitude."
Despite the meters and bringing in thousands annually from fines alone, Nelson said people still try to find ways to avoid paying them.
"We do hear a lot of stories, that's consistent. People do forget to happy the meters, they have emergencies. There is an appeals process to have their cases reviewed. We do the best they can to accommodate their situations," Nelson said.
Just as the world adapts to new technology, meters will too. You can expect many more advancements soon including a friendly reminder to your cell phone letting you know your time will expire.
While the city can't promise free parking, it can promise easier parking ahead.
Tuesday, December 10 2013 11:34 PM EST2013-12-11 04:34:24 GMT
For people who spend time outdoors, hypothermia is a very real threat. Symptoms include shivering, confusion and slurred speech. It can take just minutes for these symptoms to appear leading to damageMore >>
Tuesday evening, KSFY News Reporter Tess Hedrick learned that lesson firsthand as she spent three hours in a cold car.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 11:31 PM EST2013-12-11 04:31:23 GMT
Fighting back against cancer is no easy task but for some cancer patients, the cost of getting healthy can be an even harder burden to bear. That's where the Yankton community has stepped in. This smallMore >>
Fighting back against cancer is no easy task but for some cancer patients, the cost of getting healthy can be an even harder burden to bear. That's where the Yankton community has stepped in. This small town by the river has shown that the kindness of strangers is bringing hope and healing.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 11:26 PM EST2013-12-11 04:26:18 GMT
For the second time this year, voters in the Tea area have shot down a bond aimed at absorbing the city's skyrocketing student population. The $10.5 million bond would have paid for an addition to theMore >>
Superintendent Jennifer Lowery tells KSFY News 58.89% of voters said yes to the bond, but they needed 60% for it to pass. That's just 14 votes short.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 7:39 PM EST2013-12-11 00:39:15 GMT
Aris Nance owns the non profit, Sheo. which is an acronym. "Someone helps everyone and together we can all help each other." Nance explained. The organization aims to help the homeless right here inMore >>
Aris Nance owns the non profit, Sheo, which is an acronym. "Someone helps everyone and together we can all help each other." Nance explained. The organization aims to help the homeless right here in South Dakota.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 6:27 PM EST2013-12-10 23:27:37 GMT
After decades of service to South Dakota, a Sioux Falls highway patrol captain announced plans to retire. Captain Kevin Joffer started his career in Viborg, beginning his police work in July 1979. In AprilMore >>
After decades of service to South Dakota, a Sioux Falls highway patrol captain announced plans to retire.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 5:02 PM EST2013-12-10 22:02:54 GMT
AP -- A Texas woman and former actress pleaded guilty Tuesday to sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, under a deal that her attorney has said wouldMore >>
A Texas woman and former actress pleaded guilty Tuesday to sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 4:31 PM EST2013-12-10 21:31:13 GMT
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting a 14 percent drop in dry edible bean production in South Dakota for 2013. The South Dakota office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service isMore >>
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting a 14 percent drop in dry edible bean production in South Dakota for 2013.More >>