Historic Downtown Annapolis: Where Holiday Parking is Free
By Markus Moore, Director of the Department of Transportation.
This holiday season, downtown Annapolis will be as festive and beautiful as ever. There will be lights galore, and for the three nights of Midnight Madness (December 1, 8 and 15), Downtown Annapolis Partnership and the businesses have organized carolers, hot cocoa, and selfie opportunities to capture those magical holiday memories.
While downtown restaurants and retailers tell us they are bustling, we have heard some visitors are hesitant to come downtown due to the rebuilding of our main downtown garage.
We have worked with our partners to make your downtown experience as wondrous as ever.
Downtown Metered and Residential Parking
Throughout the Hillman rebuild, we have instituted parking changes. Some of these updates are in place to protect on-street parking for residents - like migrating District I and District II to paid parking through ParkMobile (two hour limit). For best results, download the ParkMobile app ahead of time.
Of course, any resident with a sticker does not have to pay and has no time limit.
Other changes include upgrading downtown’s old parking meters to parking kiosks that service multiple spaces. On-street metered parking can now be paid with coins, credit/debit cards, or through ParkMobile. As new kiosks are activated, older dual-head meters, many inoperable, are removed.
Free Holiday Parking
Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley has again approved free holiday parking to encourage visitors to shop, dine, and stay in downtown. The program offers three hours of free parking at metered spaces. The three-hour limit will be enforced, so if you expect your stay to go longer, please use garage parking further up West Street and take the free downtown shuttle.
Vouchers for Gott’s Garage
As an additional incentive, the City of Annapolis is distributing tens of thousands of free parking validations for Gott’s Garage to retail, restaurant and service businesses in the immediate Hillman Garage user area. This area includes Maryland Avenue and State Circle, Compromise and Dock Streets, Market Space, Duke of Gloucester, Compromise and Main Streets, and small connectors in between.
To use the validation, enter at Gott’s and take a ticket. While shopping or dining downtown, ask for parking validation. Each yellow validation is worth two hours of free parking. When you exit the garage, feed the white ticket, followed by the yellow validation. Validations can be used at both the Gott’s pay station kiosks or exit gates.
Other Parking Deals
Park at Park Place (One Park Place) for $1 for the first hour/$3 for two hours. Take the downtown magenta shuttle, which runs in a continuous loop approximately every five minutes from Park Place to Main Street and back. Download the “TransLoc” app and track the shuttle in real time.
Park free at City garages (Gott’s Court, Knighton, Park Place) on Sunday mornings (enter after 6 a.m. and exit before 2 p.m.). The State Garage (19 St. John’s Street) offers free parking from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Friday and all day on weekends. Whitmore Garage (37 Clay Street) offers free parking on Sundays.
ANNAPOLIS GO! is a ride-share service operated by Via. For $2 per ride, Annapolis GO! will pick you up and take you to your destination. Download the Annapolis GO! app to see the service area map. Annapolis GO is extending hours during Midnight Madness.
BIRD offers e-bikes and scooters. Download the Bird app (riders must be 18) and the app will show you the closest e-bike or scooter. In the safety section of the app, request a free helmet to make your ride as safe as possible. It will be shipped directly to you.
Make sure you have a plan to see historic Annapolis, one of America’s most beautiful downtowns. While we recognize there are changes to navigate due to infrastructure improvements, we have worked to smooth the transition. This holiday season, it is my hope that we’ve “sleighed” it!
oped originally published in Capital Gazette 11/16/2022