Did I choose the photo above to be a zing against the city on parking enforcement? It was honestly the handiest photo I had around of a Multi Meter. It does however highlight a point, the city needs to maintain its infrastructure in order to realize profit from it.
The Multi Meters, which regulate parking on an entire block or portion of block rather than having to install a meter at every space, were first installed several years ago. Anecdotal observation shows that they’ve had their share of problems, and I often walk by people scratching thier heads and staring at them, trying to figure them out. Obviously, the meters need to work if the city is to realize revenue from them.
Of course parking, and paying for it, is often a lightning rod of a topic. I think people can imagine where I stand on the issue. There are rules about where, when, and for how long one can park ones car on public roadways. There are penalties for not obeying those rules. Don’t want a ticket, don’t violate those rules (or, you could walk, bike, and/or take the bus and avoid parking altogether).
In the Press Release below, the ProvPass is pointed to as an option to having to lug quarters around with you everywhere. The ProvPass, which is a debit style card for use at parking meters, was introduced with much fanfare by the prior administration. To this date it is only available at City Hall, the Public Safety Complex, and AAA. The cards come in $10 and $20 increments and are not rechargable, you are told to throw them away when they are empty.
The City should work with RIPTA to create a City Card for the Providence Metro along the lines of Seattle’s ORCA. As Commuter Rail penetrates deeper into the state, RIPTA will need to coordinate fare systems with the MBTA, ideally creating a smart card fare product that will work on RIPTA buses (and eventually streetcars) as well as MBTA commuter rail, bus, subway, and ferries. That smart card could then be expanded to work at Providence parking meters and other merchants.
Of course this won’t all happen in the next week or two, in the meantime the city says they will be working to expand the availablity of ProvPasses. RIPTA should tag along as the city seeks these new sales outlets for the ProvPass to get their exisiting fare products available at more locations.
City of Providence Press Release:
Feed That Meter: City to step up parking enforcement
PROVIDENCE, RI – The City of Providence will soon step up enforcement of its parking laws and begin issuing tickets to vehicles parked at expired parking meters or those that exceed posted curbside parking limits for all hours that parking regulations are in effect.
The City’s current parking ordinance will be fully enforced from Monday to Saturday, 8AM to 6PM, in accordance with the city’s existing parking enforcement ordinance. Posted one- and two-hour parking limits will be enforced and drivers need to “feed the meter” during the enforcement time posted on signs.
Fully enforcing the city’s parking ordinance has the potential to generate much needed new revenue. Last year, parking meters generated $1.3 million. The city is currently losing at least 35 percent of its meter revenue annually due to under-enforcement.
Full enforcement was made possible in part by the city’s recent agreement with Public Employees Local 1033, which will create flexible work schedules for Parking Enforcement Officers without additional overtime. In the past, the city did not issue parking tickets on Saturdays and weekdays after about 3 p.m. to avoid overtime costs that would exceed income generated by parking enforcement.
Drivers don’t need to carry quarters in their pockets: the City offers a smart card that can be used to pay meters throughout the City. The ProvPass parking card is available in $10 and $20 denominations. Users swipe the card in the meter when they arrive and when they leave. The meter calculates the amount of time used and deducts the appropriate amount from the card.
The ProvPass can be purchased at City Hall, the Public Safety Complex or at the downtown AAA office. In May, the City will expand and promote the program to make cards even more readily available.
Please check out posted signs when you park in Providence to avoid being ticketed!