A Greensboro Department of Transportation (GDOT) update is included on the agenda for the Greensboro City Council work session on Tuesday, Sept. 15 and has some amazing news.

The transportation update is the last item on the agenda, after a proposed name change for the Human Relations Department and the establishment of an African American Disparity Commission, so the transportation update may be delayed.

But the presentation for the GDOT update includes the news that the City of Greensboro is not issuing tickets for parking violations.

This is news that parking enforcement employees have been unwilling to divulge to the public. In an earlier update on the status of parking enforcement, the Rhino Times had to contact GDOT Director Hanna Cockburn to get confirmation that GDOT was continuing to allow people to park free at parking meters in downtown Greensboro.

Since COVID-19 restrictions went into effect in March the city has had an unannounced policy of not writing tickets for expired meters or other minor parking violations. For people who do business or who own businesses downtown this is valuable information. It makes coming downtown to eat, shop or conduct business a far less stressful endeavor. Telling the people of Greensboro that they did not have to fear being greeted by a parking ticket when they returned to their vehicle parked on the street downtown would have been a boost for downtown businesses, but for some reason this fact was never publicized and it still not posted on the city website under parking.

There well may be some mention of it somewhere on the city’s website, but if so, it’s not easy to find.

According to the presentation the free on-street parking downtown will continue as long as the COVID-19 restrictions are in place.

The city now has months of data on how not charging for on-street parking has affected revenue. Other cities have discovered that metered parking is pretty much a wash when the full cost of metered parking is considered. Perhaps if someone studied the data, it would show similar results for Greensboro.

In 2016, there was a big push from downtown businesses to offer free parking in all of downtown Greensboro, instead of only in certain chosen spots, like in front of the Municipal Federal Credit Union where many city employees have accounts. The City Council paid no attention to the request at the time.

GDOT also reports that since the COVID-19 restrictions went into effect, the city has had 720 cancelations of monthly parking permits. Despite the fact that it is free to ride Greensboro Transit Agency (GTA) buses and SCAT buses, ridership is down 53 percent.