The start of a new month comes with some changes to parking in downtown Burlington. Two-hour parking is no longer free at the marketplace garage.
“When guests come to downtown Burlington, they have somewhere to park,” said Jeff Padgett, director of parking and traffic. “We want to ensure there’s turnover in the garage.”
Padgett says the city will now charge a low fee for the marketplace garage. He says it’s often over-utilized because of its convenient front and center downtown location. Instead of the familiar 2 hours free, it will be $1 per hour for the first two hours. Prices beyond that have not been affected.
“We’re trying to use pricing to shift things around a bit,” said Kelly Devine, president of Burlington Business Association. “If you’re more motivated by low cost or free, you have options and if you’re more motivated by convenience you have options.”
Devine says 2 hour free parking will remain at the Lakeview College Street Garage, just two blocks away. It boasts more than 1,000 spots compared to the 365 spaces in the marketplace. People who work downtown will also be able to park there for free.
“These are the types of workers who really keep Burlington vibrant,” Padgett said. “They’re really on the front lines, they’re the waiters, the cashier register people, the floor managers”
Padgett adds 80% of transactions in the marketplace garage were free. A new validation program also takes effect, which can allow restaurants and businesses to foot the parking bill for customers.
“The owners [or] managers of that place may say, ‘parking’s on us’,” Devine said. “It’s just a way to offer customers a little bonus for them coming downtown.”
The changes were intended to roll out last July, but pushed off until this year because of COVID-19.