by Reading Parking Authority
Reading Parking Authority announced a five-minute extension to the “Free 10 on Penn” program that provides free parking for people running quick errands on Penn Street. Drivers will now receive up to 15 minutes of complimentary parking, an increase from the original 10 minutes.
Reading Parking Authority (RPA) made the announcement after voting on the issue during its monthly Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14. The change went into effect at 8 a.m. on the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 15. Pay stations have already been programmed to display the increase to 15 minutes. Street signs are expected to be updated within the next two weeks.
The innovative free parking project created in collaboration with Mayor Eddie Moran launched on Sept. 1 as a two-month pilot program. Parkers are required to enter their license plate number into a pay station to receive the complimentary time, and reports show that 3,590 people used the program during the pilot period.
Feedback on the program has been overwhelmingly positive, but users said they sometimes needed slightly more time to complete their errands. After speaking with constituents, Mayor Moran requested the additional five minutes, noting additional time would be especially helpful to people picking up mobile orders from downtown restaurants.
The initial 10-minute time period was selected because local data collected over several months prior to the pilot program showed that over 50% of vehicles on Penn Street parked for 10 minutes or less.
The program will go through a second trial phase to evaluate the effectiveness of the time extension. The extended pilot program will run through Feb. 1, 2024.