Overnight Parking Passes — Now Online

Still imperfect, but some sanity may be coming to our overnight parking regime. When the city last overhauled the system, the ability of residents to call into the police station on the night-of to enter a guest’s car on that evening’s ‘do-not tag’ list* was completely eliminated. The idea was apparently that people could plan ahead for all contingencies, head over to the DPW during business hours, fill out a form, and pay up. This was, of course, completely impractical.

That guest pass system made no allowance for sudden emergencies as when family members respond en masse to a death in the family, or when you have convinced an inebriated guest to sleep on the couch. In addition, residents who lived in an apartment building larger than six units were not allowed to apply at all. Now Mayor Elorza, along with the estimable Councilman David Salvatore, have launched an online Residential Permit Parking Program for purchasing passes, and I am all in favor of this.

But that Guest Pass provision is still way too expensive:

If you are a permit holder, you may obtain a guest pass for an additional cost of $25.00. The pass is good for one year and may be used up to five times per month.

If you are a permit holder? The cost of a permit is $100/car for cars registered in Providence, and $200/car for cars registered outside of Providence. And worse, the guest permit is tied to that one license plate: “. . . permits will be issued for the individual vehicles, not for the owner. Each vehicle requires an individual permit.”

So while being able to purchase permits online seems to have made guest passes accessible in a way that might allow for spur-of-the-moment decisions, it is only practical for the affluent. (If we are to truly be a Creative Capital, then we may want to make it possible for artists and musicians to visit and perform.)

So while I am thrilled that this system has gone online, I am hoping that Councilor Salvatore will be open to tweaking the underlying rules to make them more economically feasible, more equitable. Here are two suggestions:

  1. Parking permits should be available to all residents, no matter what size their apartment building. (You allow a car registered out-of-state to get a residential permit, but not an actual resident living in an apartment?)
  2. In addition to the existing one-year guest pass for $25, invent a one-night-only ‘guest permit’ for $10 . . . something that people can use in an emergency or to keep that drunk relative off the road. (Online, increments of $10 are completely doable and can add up.)

Go here for info and FAQ on the Overnight Parking Permit.


*The do-not list worked just fine. It was suggested at the time that it was being abused and overused. I worked patrol nights in the Providence Police and performed this task for years. When someone was overdoing it — which happened rarely — you just told the desk not to accept that request any more.

I would also like to go on the record as having opposed the overnight parking ban for decades, as I saw more and more property owners paving over their front yards.

2 thoughts on “Overnight Parking Passes — Now Online”

  1. When I moved in my neighbors said it wasn’t necessary to get a parking pass because they so rarely check on my street. I got one anyway and got a guest pass for when my daughter visits from out of state. Why am I the only one on the street who got a $60 ticket for violating the overnight parking ban?

  2. Spent the summer living with my partner who started residency — never got a ticket in our two months on the East Side but moved closer to downtown and now I’m ticketed twice a week! I genuinely do not understand the logic behind an overnight parking ban for non-residents. Does Providence not want people to visit their city? When did discouraging tourism become sound city governance? Just completely mind-boggling.

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