With new meters and higher rates for parking in Brattleboro, let’s review some ways you can park for free and do errands downtown.
1. Patronize businesses with free parking
This one is obvious and easy. A few places downtown have parking lots that are free to use while doing business at the establishment. Shop at the Co-op? Free parking. Doing banking at BS&L? Free parking. Need something at Brown & Roberts? Free parking.
2. Use the free spaces.
This is a bit more difficult, and I’m not going to reveal where these free spaces are, but they do exist in a couple of places. There are a handful of official, lined parking spaces without meters or kiosks. I know of some near the northern end of Main Street, and at least a few in mid-town. Find one and you have free parking without being tied to a specific business.
You can also park in a nearby neighborhood and walk to town, but parking enforcement folks do monitor the streets near the downtown area, so be mindful of the 2 hour limits.
3. Use up other people’s meters.
This is quite difficult with the new meters, because it isn’t easy to see how much time remains without parking and getting out to look at the meter and fewer people use coins, but sometimes other people overestimate their need for parking time, and you can park on their dime.
With parking lots and kiosks, you can sometimes find someone giving away a ticket with extra time on it, and sometimes people leave their extra-time tickets at the kiosk.
4. Watch parking enforcement.
Here’s where we start living dangerously. If you are willing to risk a possible ticket, you can simply park for free wherever you like. The trick here is to learn the Parking Enforcement routine, and take advantage of the loopholes.
Brattleboro has very limited parking enforcement staff, and in recent years their area of coverage has expanded beyond downtown. They can’t be everywhere at once, and they are on foot. If you know the route they follow, you can visually check to see if you have a few minutes to park and run in for a quick errand just about anywhere. The odds are in your favor.
This technique works best at meters rather than in lots — it is easier to see them coming when cars are parked in a straight line.
If you mess up, though, you’ll pay for a ticket.
5. Double up
If you have two adults in the car parked by a meter, have one do the errand and the other sit in the driver’s seat watching for parking enforcement. If someone heads in your direction checking meters, the person in the car can hop out and put a nickel in the meter (or, if you really want to be sneaky, pretend to be paying until the coast is clear again.)
Disclaimer: This is all theoretical, of course, for entertainment purposes only. Always pay for parking. : )
If you have additional tips or tricks for free parking, I’d love to hear them.