Parking FAQ

Everything you ever wanted to know about parking.

What do I do if I get a parking ticket?

Pay it. The easiest way to pay your ticket is online. Pay your ticket online. The fine for parking tickets is $15 - $200. If you believe the parking ticket you received is unwarranted, you can fill out an online appeal form.

The parking meter ATE my coins, what do I do?

Note the number of the parking meter and report that number to the Traffic and Transportation Department at (515) 283-4973. You may remain parked at the meter. Should you receive a parking ticket upon your return, you will need to make sure that you: 1) have reported the meter as faulty; and 2) call the Parking Violations Payment Office at (515) 283-4125 to alert them that you have reported the meter as faulty.

Are there places to park downtown?

Yes! There are approximately 30,000 public parking spaces in downtown including approximately 4,000 parking meters for long and short term parking needs.

What is a SmartCard?

SmartCards are similar to debit cards. A person can insert the SmartCard into a parking meter and buy time on the meter, up to the maximum limit of the meter (2, 3, 4, or 10 hours). If there is time left on the meter when the person returns, they can reinsert the same SmartCard and have the remaining value on the meter refunded back to their SmartCard.

Where can I purchase a SmartCard?

The City of Des Moines has provided three automated SmartCard vending machines where cards can be purchased for $5.00 and value placed on the card using, cash ($20, $10 & $5 bills only - coins, $1 &$2 are not accepted), MasterCard and VISA (credit or debit). SmartCard vending machines are located at:
→ 3rd and Court Parking Garage office
→ 9th and Locust Parking Garage office
→ 5th and Grand (YMCA lobby)
→ City Hall lobby, located at 400 Robert D. Ray Drive

What happens if I lose my SmartCard?

Because the SmartCard has value, it should be safeguarded. There are no refunds for lost, stolen or mutilated cards.

How much does it cost to park on the weekends?

Parking at meters is free all weekend, as well as after 6 p.m. during the week. (Fees may be charged at some garages for special events.)

What do the green placards on the parking meters mean?

These are special meters that allow for a short duration of free parking. Instead of inserting coins into the meter, there is a button you push which gives you 15 minutes of parking. There is, however, a 30 minute limit on parking at these meters. These meters are located conveniently throughout downtown in places where you may need to make just a quick stop.

How do I use the new double space parking meters?

Double space parking meters look like single space parking meters, but they control two parking spaces. First, select either the "left" or "right" parking space, depending on which space you have chosen. Once you have selected your parking space, you can purchase time on the meter with either coins or a SmartCard. If you forget to select your parking space before entering money, you will still have approximately ten seconds to select the correct space and receive full credit for time purchased.

An "E" on the display simply means that the space is empty. A dash (-) will indicate that the space is occupied or that there is time on the meter. To check the amount of time remaining on the meter by pressing either the "left" or "right" space button.

Are the City parking ramps connected to the skywalk system?

All but one City ramp is connected to the skywalk system. The Center Street Park and Ride is the only City parking ramp NOT connected to the skywalk system.