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City Eyes to Make College Park Garage Free During Summer Weekends

City garage

The Council will discuss tomorrow if the City should offer free parking at the City parking garage on summer Saturdays, as a means of encouraging patronage of downtown businesses.

Currently City offers free parking during Sundays only. According to staff, the average lost revenue for a summer Saturday would be approximately $563.

Staff discussed offering free Saturday parking after Memorial Day (May 28, 2012), until 2 weekends before the UM fall semester begins on August 29. This would be 11 Saturdays, from June 2 through August 11. Therefore, The total lost revenue for 11 summer Saturdays would be approximately $6,200.

Staff is also recommending to spend an additional $500 towards at least one banner for the garage. Thus the total estimated cost of offering free garage parking on 11 summer Saturdays is $6,700.

Making the garage free might increase willingness of people to come to downtown College Park and patronize our businesses on the weekends. Please let me know your thoughts on whether the City should pursue this.


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  1. Phil

    This is definitely a good idea worth pursuing. I personally do not frequent downtown due to parking meters and pay parking. Having a pay free option might encourage me to make more trips downtown. Additionally, I do not know if this is already an option concerning the parking garage, but the first hour free would also help encourage downtown visits.

  2. Matt

    I’d go a step further. Given that the parking garage is not really meant as a cash-cow for the City, we should use it as a tool to encourage people to visit the downtown area.

    Make the garage absolutely free during the summer months, in-between semesters, and other times when students traditionally vacate the city. Institute a 48-hour rule to keep people from living in the garage, but don’t rush them out the door, either. Encourage residents to come down and visit the places that are usually packed with students. Host a “Take back the town…for a week” event, or something. You can turn the slow-season into a plus, it just takes some creative marketing.

    We should be doing everything we can to keep business flowing downtown when the students are away, as those are the “lean times” for those guys. If that means foregoing a minor amount of revenue that isn’t really paying for the garage, anyway, why not do it?

  3. Anita

    Parking is a big issue downtown. For many years I would visit the CVS and other businesses in downtown CP. Now since they’ve implemented the new meters I may visit once every two months. Downtown College Park has lost me as a customer. I now visit the businesses in Greenbelt, Hyattsville and Hillendale. Why not eliminate having to pay for the meters in downtown CP on summer Saturdays as well. Why not offer some sort of sticker to residents of CP so they don’t have to pay for meters in the city at all.

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