Orlando works to ease downtown parking woes with free parking program

Whether it’s because of access or the cost, many people have felt the frustration of parking in downtown Orlando.

A recent survey from an organization called the City District Main Street found that parking is one of the top-three issues hindering the area’s economic growth.


The city said sometime after Memorial Day a new program will roll out allowing you to enter a code on your Park Mobile app and get two free hours instead of paying at a meter.

For Eric Humphries, the decision on where to eat lunch on Thursday came down to where he could find a place to park.

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“We were looking at a pizza place on the other end of Central and it just was too hectic,”  he said.

He travels from Brevard County to downtown Orlando often, spending time at restaurants and shops across the city. But he says he tries to avoid what can sometimes be a parking mess.

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“If there’s something going on downtown it can be pretty ridiculous,” he said.

The city says they’re working on improving parking options and on Wednesday they approved $100,000 in funding to bring back a program first rolled out in 2020 meant to temporarily ease parking pains.

Using a special code,  city officials say you will be allowed park for free at meters anywhere within the downtown development area and you’ll be covered for up to two hours at the meter and you can use the code 4 times.

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The city said participating businesses can also have their vallet parking reimbursed for their customers. It’s all in an effort to drive more people to local shops.

“Hopefully will encourage people to come downtown for a meal and potentially go to one of our events or just spend more time in downtown in general,” said David Barilla, with the Downtown Development Board and Community Redevelopment Agency.

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