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.
Thursday, February 20 2014 7:42 PM EST2014-02-21 00:42:09 GMT
Behind the glory of football there are the scars and bruises. Some visible, some not. We still have much to learn about the health risk football puts on it's players, but some of the biggest strides inMore >>
Behind the glory of football there are the scars and bruises, some visible, some not. We still have much to learn about the health risk football puts on it's players, but some of the biggest strides in research are happening on South Dakota's fields.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:17 PM EST2014-03-09 01:17:06 GMT
ST. PAUL — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), St. Paul Field Division Special Agent in Charge Scott D. Sweetow today announced a reward of up to $5,000 for information leadingMore >>
There is a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect(s) responsible for the arson fire to the Colonial Inn Motel, in Yankton.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:05 PM EST2014-03-09 01:05:09 GMT
Despite a warm-up on the way in our forecast, taking a dip into water outside may be the last thing on our minds. In Huron, Saturday, if it was for a good cause, it was hard to say no. More than 200More >>
Brave souls plunged into icy cold water in Huron, Saturday, for a good cause. More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 6:54 PM EST2014-03-08 23:54:51 GMT
The three Americans on board the Malaysia Airlines flight that went missing in Southeast Asia have been identified and include two young children, according to the flight's manifest. ABC News reportsMore >>
Malaysia Airlines previously reported that one of the Americans on board the flight was an infant.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 6:46 PM EST2014-03-08 23:46:53 GMT
Chances are, those security breaches that affected major retailers are still fresh on our minds. Now, consumers and companies are coming up with new ways to protect themselves online. A cybersecurityMore >>
The cybersecurity event DakotaCon is happening this weekend. It's a real world exercise. Each college team or "IT team" goes in and secures a network from outside use. A group of "hackers" are on hand trying to break the team's security breach.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 11:06 AM EST2014-03-08 16:06:58 GMT
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Vietnamese air force planes on Saturday spotted two large oil slicks close to where a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 went missing earlier in the day, the first sign that theMore >>
There was no confirmation that the slicks were related to the missing plane, but the statement said they were consistent with the kinds that would be produced by the two fuel tanks of a crashed jetliner.More >>
Friday, March 7 2014 11:09 PM EST2014-03-08 04:09:14 GMT
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Search and rescue teams are looking for a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet with 239 people aboard - including three adult Americans and one infant. The airline says it lostMore >>
Malaysia Airlines says the plane was carrying 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew members.More >>
Friday, March 7 2014 10:31 PM EST2014-03-08 03:31:23 GMT
Six weeks after arson shuttered the Co-op Natural Foods Store, shelves are stocked and customers are coming through the doors once again. And it's not just the food they're excited about. "The thingMore >>
Six weeks after arson shuttered the Co-op Natural Foods Store, shelves are stocked and customers are coming through the doors once again.More >>