In 2015, downtown stakeholders came together to talk about parking. The goal was to support all other efforts to create a vibrant and thriving downtown, with a mix of daytime and evening uses.

The Downtown Parking study revealed:

  • There are 28,000 on-street and off-street parking spaces.
  • At peak occupancy – at 10:00 a.m. during the week – 73 percent of the parking spaces are occupied. Even at its busiest times, there are over 7,500 unoccupied parking spaces throughout the downtown.
  • When meters are turned off on evenings and weekends, on-street parking spaces fill up and the ramps and surface parking lots are never more than 30 percent full.

As those working on the Downtown Parking Study concluded, we need to develop a market-based parking management system that marries our on-street meters and ramp strategies. The Mayor has proposed the following:

  • Make sure that employees and visitors know about all of their transit options for getting into and around downtown Saint Paul.
  • Improve wayfinding signage so people can find parking, their destinations and their connections to other modes of transportation.
  • Beginning January 1, 2016, enforce meters at current rates until 6 p.m. and at $1 an hour until 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
  • Establish higher “event” rates for on-street parking—encouraging attendees to park in the nearby parking ramps and lots.
  • Offer pay by cell at meters and in ramps.
  • Establish “optimum occupancy” levels both for meters and ramps to measure whether or not turnover is improving, and if more ramps are being fully used.


Many of Saint Paul’s neighborhood commercial districts would benefit from the same market-based approach to parking that is being implemented in downtown. On-street parking spaces that are intended to serve the short-term needs of customers—and the vitality of the area—are being used by those who park there all day. The city, therefore, will select one or more neighborhood commercial street segments on which to pilot a parking meter program in 2016, with the goal of moving beyond the pilot within the year.


October-November 2015

Public Works staff will assemble data on a variety of commercial streets outside of downtown. Possible areas to be considered include portions of:

  • Arcade Street Raymond Avenue
  • Cesar Chavez Street Rice Street
  • Como Boulevard Selby Avenue
  • Ford Parkway Seventh Street (East and West)
  • Grand Avenue Snelling Avenue
  • Payne Avenue University Avenue

Each will be evaluated against a series of criteria that will include:

  • Existing meters
  • Market strength
  • Parking utilization as compared with industry standard utilization goals
  • Compliance with existing parking rules
  • Right of way capacity
  • Impact on residential neighborhoods
  • Cost of implementation

The community will be engaged through:

  • Pop-up meetings/surveys along commercial streets
  • Meetings with district councils, business associations and advocacy groups
  • On-line discussion through Open Saint Paul

December 2015

  • Pilot project area(s) selected.

May 2016

  • Parking meters installed.

September-October 2016

  • Impacts analyzed. Additional street segments evaluated.

Last Edited: July 7, 2016