Thanksgiving and Free Parking…


Thanksgiving and Free Parking…

The Thanksgiving holiday is upon us and thus the beginning of the Christmas Shopping Season and city after city are offering “free” parking for folks coming downtown to shop. If you look at the news feeds every other one is something about a certain garage, or downtown, or shopping area providing “free” parking. Bah Humbug

The Christmas shopping season is hectic enough without having to run around searching for parking. Parking charges help provide parking by culling out the folks who can park in offstreet lots and in structures far away from the shopping area. These people are the employees who work in these stores and offices.

If you offer “free” parking, they will simply get there before the stores open, fill the choice spaces, and your customers, those who have hundred dollar bills dripping out of their pockets and purses, will be forced to park blocks away and fight their way to your front door.

The Thanksgiving holiday is the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Shopping areas should think about what they are going to do about their employees and free up those spaces for shoppers.

My suggestion? Find a lot nearby (even a vacant lot) and have your employees park there. Provide a shuttle to the shopping area for them. Just think, if just 20 stores with 10 people working in each did this it would free up 200 spaces. And assuming that each shopper taking those spaces spends two hours, that means in a 10 hour shopping day TWO THOUSAND people would have had safe, convenient parking right out front of your store.

Changing the rules and providing “free” parking, particularly that which says something like “First two hours free” leads to citations, misunderstands, anger, and public relations nightmares.Stay the course; be consistent, free up parking spaces. Remember the lots and streets around your stores are like churches and temples, you don’t build them for Easter, or Yom Kippur. So be creative, make allowances, and have a Happy Thanksgiving and a perfect Christmas shopping season.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. Wouldn’t be 1,000 shoppers? 10hrs/2rs= 5 turns a day x 200 spaces= 1,000…..unless you were taking into account 2 people per car

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