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Free parking program aims to boost business in downtown Allentown

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.

Downtown Allentown has a free parking program that starts Sept. 19 during certain hours. The program includes parking spaces in the PPL Center arena deck. (File photo) –

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.

Brian Pedersen
Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh.

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