Free holiday parking at downtown parkade starts Nov. 27

Free parking is returning to downtown Bellingham for the holidays, starting Nov. 27.

This year, the City of Bellingham and the Downtown Bellingham Partnership will allow free parking for up to four hours on the first floor of the Commercial Street Parking Garage, at 1300 Commercial St. The promotion continues until Dec. 25.

Regular rates will apply at all on-street parking meters throughout the holidays.

In the past, the annual holiday promotion focused on free street parking. But this year the City of Bellingham and the Downtown Bellingham Partnership wanted to bring attention to the underused Parking Garage, which is also known as the parkade.

“The Commercial Street Parking Garage is often overlooked as a prime location to park in downtown Bellingham, yet it’s only two to four blocks from most restaurants, shops and businesses in downtown,” said Nick Hartrich, executive director of the Downtown Bellingham Partnership, in the news release. “There are more than 70 spaces available on the first floor and offering four hours of free parking there will allow people to do their holiday shopping at their favorite local businesses and still have plenty of time to grab lunch and catch up with a friend.”

The city’s 2016 budget includes more than $1 million in improvements to the parkade, including better lighting, a new camera system and improved entrance signage. Renovations should begin in March and take a year to complete.

In November, the city activated a new security system in the parkade with cameras that are monitored 24 hours a day.

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