It was a close call for those who need parking fees waved in Portsmouth. With few businesses open and most for quick pick up only the parking fee waiver helped them attract customers. According to, the City Council held its vote on Monday, and it was 5-4 in favor of keeping the free parking on street meters and the two municipal garages in place for the time being.

There were some compelling arguments from both sides. City Manager Karen Conrad pointed out that the parking free holiday, if extended until May 4 would cost the city $1.1 million in parking fees. If the Governor’s recommended business closures date of May 4 is extended through June 30, the loss could be $2.5 million. Councilor John Tabor noted that $105,000 in lost revenue over a two-week period of time could cover the salary of a police officer or a firefighter for a year.

Councilor Esther Kennedy voiced the opinion that businesses that have been facing pandemic closure and have changed to offer to pick up only per Councilor Peter Whelan noted that the streets are empty anyway and that the loss of revenue wouldn’t be much since the traffic is just not there and people are following the stay at home guidelines. So for now, free parking downtown so get out and support the local businesses through pick up if you really need to go out.


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