Starting Thanksgiving Day, the City of San Luis Obispo will waive parking fees in the three Downtown parking structures. Those addresses include 842 and 919 Palm Street and 871 Marsh Street.
Several business owners said they hope that more people will come for holiday shopping.
Ryan Hughes, the General Manager at Central Coast Surfboards, said, “I think it's great that the city is offering free parking coming up. It'll really help, you know, get more people downtown, help support the local businesses is awesome.”
“We know that parking can be an emotional topic for people, and we want to encourage people to come downtown as much as they can," said Bettina Swigger, the CEO of Downtown SLO.
SLO City leaders hope the program will encourage the community to not only shop, but also them celebrate the holiday season together.
“A lot of people are doing a little pre shopping, kind of getting ideas for Christmas gifts. Some people are waiting till there are Black Friday sales and whatnot,” Hughes went on to say.
Shoppers said they do think the free parking will help.
Oscar Gonzalez, who lives in Santa Barbara, told KSBY, “[The program will] definitely going to bring more people. Not only will people be wanting to shop, but while they're here, they're also going to be wanting to pick up a beverage or a good meal. No better place than here in downtown to do it.”
“I think that's one of the biggest deterrents for folks coming downtown. I don't know for sure. I fortunately live very close to downtown. I can walk and bike pretty easily, but I think for folks who don't like just figuring out parking at all is really challenging and makes people not even want to bother,” said Samantha West, who lives in SLO.
Parking structure fees will be waived between November 24th and 27th, every Sunday in December, December 25th and 26th, as well as New Year's Eve and Day.
Alexander Blom, the owner of EcoBambino said that the whole community benefits when people shop local. “I think sometimes people forget when they're shopping locally that not only are they supporting the city of San Luis Obispo in doing so, but also they're helping creating jobs and helping creating families that own these businesses in town. And so we are so grateful for the support of this community that when they choose to shop locally."
People may still need to pay for street parking. Those rates could cost anywhere between $1.25 to $2.00 per hour, depending on the spot.