Here is some good news for anyone who has to visit downtown Greensboro while the stay-at-home order and other restrictions due to the coronavirus are in place.

If you do have a reason to visit downtown Greensboro, you don’t have to worry about plugging the parking meter.

According to the Greensboro Department of Transportation (GDOT), until the city is up and running on a normal basis, the city will not be ticketing cars for minor parking violations like having an expired meter or parking over the line.

GDOT wouldn’t say that on-street parking is free, but simply that tickets would not be issued for expired meters or other minor parking violations.

Gross violations like blocking a street or a driveway will still be enforced, but the normal violations for which most people receive tickets, like expired meters, will not be enforced during the coronavirus shutdown.

One of the biggest concerns heard from people who have to visit the downtown is the fear of receiving a parking ticket.    

In 2016, former Mayor Keith Holliday and Downtown Greensboro Inc. (DGI) President Zack Matheny led an effort to remove the parking meters from the entire downtown area, but the City Council didn’t pay much attention to the request, which had the backing of a number of downtown businesses.

Holliday at the time noted that Greenville, South Carolina, which is often cited as a model of how to recreate a thriving downtown, had free parking on all its downtown streets.

As has been noted several times by the Rhino, the current parking regulations downtown lack any apparent coherency. For example, the parking spaces in front of the Municipal Federal Credit Union on North Greene Street are free while the vast majority of the parking places on Greene Street have meters.

Parking on South Elm Street and a couple of blocks of North Elm in the downtown area are free, but the parking spaces on most but not all of the other streets downtown have meters.

Once the city gets back to normal, one can only hope that the new normal doesn’t involve tickets for expired meters in the downtown area.