Free parking at metered spots during the Christmas shopping season has been a New Hope tradition for as long as most folks can remember.
Some years it’s offered from Monday to Thursday during the two weeks leading up to Christmas. And some years free parking is offered every day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.
Thus far this year, unfortunately, it seems to have fallen through the cracks.
First, some history: A resolution was passed by borough council in 2011 formalizing free holiday parking at parking meters and the role of the New Hope Chamber of Commerce in covering the meters with orange plastic “free parking” bags.
Then, in December 2017, as new electronic parking kiosks were being installed, metered parking spots in the borough were declared free of charge from Dec. 15 until Jan. 1.
Last year, after a vocal crowd of merchants turned up at the November council meeting seeking more support from the borough, parking kiosks around town were programmed not to charge for time spent in parking spots from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day.
The frequent changes to how free parking was offered, along with the switch from meters to electronic kiosks, contributed to the confusion this year that borough and chamber officials say caused holiday parking to be overlooked thus far.
In a nutshell, the chamber thought the borough would take care of it, and the borough thought the chamber would initiate the discussion.
The chamber president and borough manager on Friday said that they will discuss the possibility of offering free holiday parking this year at a borough council workshop meeting on Monday at 4 p.m.
For many downtown business owners, it’s fingers crossed.