OAKLAND (KCBS) – The city of Oakland is offering free parking at meters for the next two Saturdays, all part of a push to help stimulate holiday shopping at local businesses.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said it was an easy decision to make parking meters free all day long on both December 17 and 24 as this is a critical time of the year for retailers.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

“Parking has been very controversial in our city over the years,” said Quan. “So this month, we’re trying a couple of experiments.”

The other experiment that began earlier this week is a six-month pilot program giving drivers who park at meters a five minute grace period before a ticket can be issued.

Oakland City Council Member Jane Brunner heard lots of frustration from merchants and shoppers alike before introducing the idea.

“You’re one or two minutes late and you have a ticket that is $68,” said Brunner.

Shari Godinez with the Oakland Merchants’ Leadership Forum said the changes could really help bring in more business.

“I really believe that this will help relieve a lot of the pressure that the consumers feel when they’re so worried about getting a parking ticket,” she said.

To keep drivers from hogging spaces on free meter Saturdays, cars will still be ticketed if they’re not moved within the allotted time restriction.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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