Oakland starts free holiday parking program

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Residents and visitors to Oakland will be able to park for free in the city on every Saturday between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, according to city officials.

The free parking is being offered at street meters and at four city-owned parking lots and four city-owned garages in an effort to stimulate shopping in Oakland's commercial districts.

Parking will also be free on Plaid Friday, Nov. 28, along with the Saturdays of Nov. 29, Dec. 6, Dec. 13, Dec. 20 and Dec. 27, city officials said.

Plaid Friday is Oakland's effort to encourage consumers to shop at local outlets instead of chain stores on "Black Friday."

"Oakland's small businesses are a key part of the thriving diversity that makes this city a special community," said Mayor Jean Quan in a statement. "Plaid Friday Weekend is an important time for us to come together and support the merchants that create jobs, pay taxes that fund public services, and produce many of the creative, beautiful goods and services we enjoy."

Quan's comments come as some businesses were cleaning up and preparing for the weekend after they were struck by vandalism and theft during three nights of demonstrations protesting recent events in Ferguson, Missouri.

"We are all frustrated by the small number of people who are using these mostly peaceful demonstrations to commit criminal acts," she said. "One action we can all take to counter this negativity is to support the businesses in downtown and Temescal that have been impacted.

The mayor added, "If we are to honor the important issues raised by the events in Ferguson, we must begin by respecting the wishes of Michael Brown's family. To our demonstrators, I say let your voices be heard without violence and without harming this beautiful city and its people. To our officers, I thank you for your dedication and professionalism as we strive to facilitate safe and lawful protests. And to our residents and business owners affected by these demonstrations, I thank you for your resilience and pledge our continued partnership to help you stay safe and thrive."

To keep the flow of shoppers moving, time limits will still be enforced at the meters, lots and garages, city officials said.

The free parking will take place at the Grand Avenue lot in the 3200 block of Grand Avenue, the LakePark Lot between Grand and Lakeshore avenues, the Piedmont Avenue lot on Howe Street between 40th and 41st streets and the Parkway lot on Wayne Avenue near Park Boulevard.

The four city-owned garages with free parking will be the Frank Mar Garage at 12th and Harrison streets, the Franklin Street Garage at 19th and Franklin streets, the Montclair Garage at 6235 La Salle Ave. and the Clay Street Garage at 14th and Clay streets.

To learn more about the free holiday parking program, click here.

ABC7 News contributed to this report.
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