Downtown drivers have a new and fairly inexpensive parking option near the Metrodome.
Downtown drivers have a new and fairly inexpensive parking option near the Metrodome. The Downtown East Municipal Parking Ramp has opened underground at South 4th Street and Park Avenue. During March, parkers will pay $50 for a month-long contract, Monday through Friday between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. After the first month the cost goes up to $55.
Monthly parkers need to be out of the ramp by 6 p.m. because that's when parking for Metrodome events begin. Parking for Dome events ranges from $5 to $25.
The 455-stall ramp uses an automated system rather than a cashier for collecting payments. According to city parking and skyway systems engineer Mike Sachi, the automated system allows the city to keep the parking fees lower.
"As the cost of labor keeps rising ... we end up having to raise our rates so much that it pushes people away. In order to keep the rates down, we're going to this automated system," Sachi said.
The Hiawatha Light Rail Transit line will cross above the ramp when it starts running in 2004. City plans call for a six- to eight-story office building to eventually rise on the site's northwest corner.
"[The office building] is one of the driving forces for constructing the ramp in the first place," Sachi said. "Realizing the LRT alignment was coming across that block, if we didn't build something prior to the LRT construction, then we couldn't come in after the fact and dig out the parking. We built the parking first to anticipate development on that block."
For more information on the Downtown East Municipal Parking Ramp, or for a monthly contract, call Larry or Mohamed at Municipal Parking Inc. at 338-7275.