Overnight Parking–Providence City Council

The Dreaded Orange Tag

From all the fuss on the internets I thought there would be a crowd at City Hall where a plan for citywide resident permit parking was on the agenda.

I went to a very crowded and contentious meeting several years ago where the Summit Neighborhood Association had scores of people lined up to oppose resident overnight parking. I had all my arguments ready this time, but there was no one to argue with.

About fifteen members of the public were there, several of us took the signs handed out by a supporter. Since we were not allowed to speak, we held them up.

For two hours.

I did not see any parking opponents, for what that’s worth.
The acoustics were terrible and I heard very little of what the City Council members said, although the chairman kept pointing his finger at the man who was describing how the plan would work.  It was kind of like watching a silent movie without captions.

I had a lot of time to think–approximately 120 minutes, but who’s counting?

One intense internet brushfire going today concerned the $100 fee for the proposed permit. A new tax. How dare they?

But it’s actually a money saver, here’s why–

If you have a space on your property to park your car, you don’t need to buy a permit. Just keep on parking your car in the same place.

If you don’t have a space and are renting, and you pay less than $10 a month, that’s awesome. What a good deal. Don’t buy a permit. Keep on renting.

If your parking is not secure and convenient, you are probably paying much more than $100 a year, and getting the occasional parking ticket as well. You’ll save money with a permit.

I’m not unbiased. My house was built in 1918 and it was assumed you’d just hop on the trolley if you needed to go anywhere. Maybe you could park your machine on the street if you could afford one.

Those days are gone, but the houses remain. More meetings are planned.

Resident Permit Parking

Providence Daily Dose has an update on the parking situation in our lovely city, where you may still see barns and hitching posts, but dare not leave your car on the street overnight.

Does anyone else remember the Cianci decades, when police could never retrieve a stolen car, but always managed to ticket them, including one that had a dead guy in it?

Our intrepid officers have better things to do at 2am than write tickets–that’s when the bars let out after all.

I went to a community meeting where people were opposed to overnight parking. Some worried about students crammed into overcrowded apartments. I don’t see the connection, especially since permits would be limited to the legal number of occupants, and illegal parkers would be in the same situation they are now. I heard people say they don’t want the neighborhood cluttered with cars, but my neighborhood has paved its little front yards to make parking lots– and demolished nice old houses to replace them with first floor garage units.

We all wish the cars would go away, except for our own, but that’s a different problem to solve. Meanwhile, we are smaller than Boston, have wider streets than Pawtucket. Providence pre-dates the age of autos, and hopefully will outlast it. Resident permit parking is a fair and rational way to deal with our cars today.