The City of Greensboro has announced that those shopping or dining downtown can park free for two hours in all four of the city parking decks during the holiday season.

Holiday parking vouchers good for two hours of free parking will be available at the retail businesses and restaurants in the central business district that choose to participate. But the vouchers will only be available at retail businesses and restaurants. So if you have to go downtown to see your lawyer, you’re out of luck unless you meet over lunch.

The two-hour vouchers are actually good for three hours of free parking, because from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays the first hour in the city parking decks is already free.

According to the press release, this is being done to “encourage shopping and enjoying local small businesses this holiday season.”

The parking decks are already free from 6 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends.

The announcement notes that the parking vouchers do not apply to on-street metered parking.

Which brings up an interesting point. From March to October parking was free at on-street metered spaces throughout the central business district.

However, in complete contrast to this press release and other announcements about two-hour free parking in the parking decks, the city never announced that on-street parking downtown was free.

Not only did the city not announce that on-street parking downtown was free, the Parking Operations and Enforcement division would not confirm that parking downtown was free or even that parking tickets were not being issued for vehicles at expired meters.

To have that fact confirmed, the Rhino Times had to contact Greensboro Department of Transportation Director Hanna Cockburn, who readily confirmed that on-street parking downtown was free.

Announcing that on-street parking was free downtown during the spring and summer would have also “encouraged shopping and enjoying local small businesses,” but for some still unknown reason it was never done.

However, the City of Greensboro did issue an announcement that parking enforcement officers would start writing parking tickets again on Oct. 19, which must have come as a shock to people who had been plugging the meters for months when they didn’t need to.