Free parking in downtown Greensboro is not over yet, but free parking in the city’s parking decks is ending on June 15.
The city parking decks will resume normal operations on June 15, which means hourly parkers will be charged the regular rates. The first hour is free. From 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. the charge is $1 an hour. Parking in the city decks is free from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. it costs $2 to enter the deck, but there is no charge for leaving.
The good news is that parking at meters on the street continues to be free. The city is not writing tickets for expired meters, but it is writing tickets for flagrant violations such as blocking an alley or parking in a no-parking zone.
The city stopped giving tickets for meter violations at the end of March because of the stay-at-home orders.
The city does not, however, say that parking on the street is free, but simply that vehicles are not receiving tickets for expired parking meters.
This break in giving tickets for expired meters gives the city an opportunity to bring some sense to the parking regulations downtown that have evolved over the years with no articulated plan.
For instance, businesses on most of Elm Street enjoy the benefit of having unmetered parking on the street in front of their businesses, while businesses on most other downtown streets have meters with stringent, some have called it “obsessive,” enforcement.
The businesses on Elm Street don’t pay any additional taxes or fees for this benefit.
In 2016, there was an effort led by former Mayor Keith Holliday and Downtown Greensboro Inc. President Zack Matheny to remove all the parking meters from the downtown area. The City Council didn’t pay much attention to that request, and didn’t even bother to appoint a committee to study it. Other cities have reported that when the cost of maintenance, collection and enforcement are considered, removing parking meters was a financial wash.