OAKLAND (KCBS) – Shoppers in Oakland are receiving a holiday gift: free parking on Saturdays. It’s something of a gift for the merchants, too. Business owners hope it will allow them to compete with the malls and big box stores during of the holiday shopping season.

“Any little thing helps, especially being in this city and parking being difficult and a lot of people nowadays expecting to get free parking,” said Michael Mischer, owner of Michael Mischer Chocolates in Oakland’s Grand Lake neighborhood.

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KCBS’ Jeffrey Schaub Reports: 

Through Dec. 29, 2012, street parking will be free, all day, at any metered space in Oakland – commercial zones excepted.

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City-owned garages will be fee-free, too.

“I think that it will bring lots of people down to this area often,” enthused one woman.

“Parking definitely makes or breaks whether or not I go out and go shopping in a neighborhood,” another shopper reasoned. “So now I can kind of just go out freely and bop around. I’ll do it.”

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