Its starting — city governments think they are helping merchants and being ‘nice’ by giving free parking on streets in shopping areas. The problem is exactly the opposite of what they want to happen, happens.
One of the reasons that we charge for parking is to provide turnover. That is, so that folks who work in the area won’t park there all day and take prime spaces from shoppers. Right? Well if you take away the charges during the busiest times of the year, wouldn’t those same employees in the area simply park on street and take those spaces, driving parkers to the big box stores on the edge of town?
Politicians love to give things away. Why not give away parking? Not a good idea. To free parking at Christmas I say Bah Humbug!