Park Harrisburg Introduces Pilot Program for 15-Minute Free Parking Zones to Support Downtown Restaurants, Retail Businesses

After a series of meetings with downtown businesses and the mayor’s office, Park Harrisburg on Wednesday introduced a pilot program that will convert select loading zones into free, 15-minute parking zones for patrons visiting downtown restaurants and retail businesses.

The zones, located on Second Street between Walnut and Pine streets, will replace outdated 15-minute loading zones that were reserved for commercial vehicles. The change was prompted by downtown businesses that often have customers stopping to make a quick retail purchase or to buy takeout food. The time limit will be strictly enforced, and fines remain the same as in commercial loading zones.

“It’s clear that downtown businesses rely heavily on customers who may only stop for a few minutes, and we wanted to work with them on finding a solution,” said SP+ Senior Vice President Chris Sherman. “Commercial vehicles typically remain in the street, which has made the loading zone concept outdated. This change will help steer more customers downtown. SP+ appreciates the opportunity to work with businesses and Mayor Eric Papenfuse’s office on this new pilot program.”

Mark Jeanette, owner of the Tinder Box at 217 N. Second St., worked with all parties on finding a solution for customers.

“This is a great change because many of my customers only stop in for a few minutes,” said Jeanette, who specializes in fine cigars. “Parking in Harrisburg is improving, and this is just another example. SP+ and the mayor’s office have been extremely helpful.”