In an effort to encourage more people to visit downtown Allentown businesses after 5 p.m. and on weekends, the city’s parking authority and its prominent developer are promoting a free parking program starting Sept. 19.
The Allentown Parking Authority and City Center Investment Corp. said street, lot and deck parking would be free on weekdays from 5 p.m. to midnight and on weekends from 8 a.m. to midnight, except during events.
The move comes at a time when City Center is prepping for the Sept. 19 opening of its Downtown Allentown Market, the new food hall filled with nine merchants along the ArtsWalk.
“Parking is so critical because we want the downtown to be accessible and affordable and convenient,” said J.B. Reilly, president and CEO of City Center. “The Lehigh Valley is largely a suburban environment and people are used to free parking. We have 6,000 parking spaces within two blocks of Seventh and Hamilton. Making them free, we think, will encourage people to come downtown.”
Reilly said the parking authority and City Center would offer the free parking program indefinitely.
The two organizations own the bulk of public parking spots in downtown Allentown.
The free parking spots include the following areas: Hamilton, Linden and Walnut streets between Fourth and 12th streets; the Farr, North and Northeast lots; and in the following decks: spiral, government, transportation, community, arena deck north, Eighth and Walnut, Ninth and Walnut and the ArtsWalk.