Greater City Providence

Overnight parking coming to the West Side

parking signs

So this has been in the planning stages for the better part of forever it seems, and now I’m getting information from various sources that it is happening. On the West Side, residents will finally be able to get parking stickers and park on the street all night, beginning July 6th. Residents in the designated area will be receiving letters from the Parking Administrator (Ernie Carlucci) by the end of this week.

A public meeting will be held to explain the system at the Public Safety Complex on Dean Street June 22 at 6:00pm.

Patrick Ward has this to say about the program over on UrbanPlanet:

Honestly, this is a big deal for PVD. It will improve the quality of life for hundreds (if not thousands) of people living in the city.

  • No more getting up in the middle of the night to move cars.
  • No more paving entire yards for parking.
  • PVD will become a greener city with more trees!
  • Reducing paved surfaces means less runoff/pollution in our rivers.
  • More cars parked on the street act as a deterrent to speeding and reckless driving.
  • Cars parked on the street act as a buffer between street traffic and pedestrians on the sidewalk.
  • Also, there are roughly 2500 units of housing in PVD with no off street parking. These buildings typically fall into disrepair because they are less desirable to rent/own. They become magnets for blight and crime (even in good neighborhoods).

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • One of the only downsides I see to street parking is the possible increase in property crimes due to breaking into cars. Call me a pessimist, but the opportunity will now be easier.

    However, the datageek in me wants to know what the numbers are like for car/property crimes for cities with and without on-street parking? Maybe a potential increase is just my perception. We have a natural experiment on our hands in any case.

  • I don’t have any actual numbers, but a housemate’s car had its rear window completely smashed one night 2 summers ago. It was a completely random thing and the car was parked in the back of the small lot/driveway that is only for our house. This was on Federal Hill where there is no on street parking.

    It’s possible there might be an increase in crimes against cars, but if someone is going to break into a car on the street, why not just walk 3 feet into the driveway and break into the car?

    The best place to look for this data is probably Somerville.

  • This is an an absolutely huge win for Providence! I know the city has a couple of pilot programs underway but i think this will be the first large scale roll-out. This was pushed through because the residents called for it! We gathered over 300 signatures in the neighborhood and kept pushing to get it done. A special thanks to Patrick W. for really getting the ball rolling.

    This is really a no brainer solution for a glaring problem in the city and I think this will be a huge success for the Armory!

  • Congratulations to all involved in this battle, and it’s awesome for the West End… Any bets on how long this takes to migrate to the East Side?

  • I think you’ll be hard pressed to find someone to take that bet. 🙂

    Do we know what the actual area is? I’m really curious. I know there are some people in my neighborhood (even though it’s mostly single family homes with driveways) that would like to see on street overnight parking to help calm traffic.

  • In theory: People won’t want to blacktop over laws and yards for zoning required parking…

    In theory: People will want to convert blacktop back to greenery…

    In theory: We could relax zoning requirements for parking spaces per unit for apartments and condos…

  • I’m not sure what you mean by that question. It will ideally do as Bret has said. Sure, it will still be more desirable to have private off street parking, but it won’t be a necessity as it is in the current situation.

    This won’t affect street trees at all, at least not that I can think of. Cars and street trees live together in harmony now, but only during special hours.

  • Maybe this additional point is moot, but, how much money does the city bring in from ticketing cars parked overnight? With such a large deficit it seems a bit silly to [me to] be cutting programs that bring in money.

  • The city should not be depending on tickets to help the deficit. After all, people could suddenly start obeying the law, as unlikely as it sounds. If that were to happen, the city would have no money. Instead, the city should be embracing the idea of permit parking throughout the city. This would give the city a regular income on a program that would cost them little – the only costs being the signage and the printing of the permits. How much money does the city spend on sending parking enforcement or police around to ticket overnight parking offenders? Couldn’t these resources be better used preventing real crime?

    As I have said, my neighborhood is full of single family homes, each with driveways. People are in favor of lifting the ban (though I admittedly don’t know how they feel about permits). I have a driveway that can hold 3 cars. I would gladly pay for a permit. After all, you never know when you might get a few overnight guests.

  • Seems like almost every city in the free world, including Pawtucket, has figured out how to allow their residents to use the streets for parking without the world ending. I would not put it beyond Providence to screw this up, but there is plenty of precedent out there for us to see how to do this and how to make it work.

    East Side?

    My guess is ONE MILLION YEARS!!!! That’s my best guess without going over, do I get the dinette set?

  • I agree with Jef. It will easily not be in our lifetime. But honestly, in many ways the East Side isn’t anything like the rest of Providence so perhaps it doesn’t really matter as much.

    I personally think the quality of life would improve for those who live near students, if the city would simply enforce occupancy laws, and one way to do that may be to limit the number of parking permits per unit. Right now, there’s absolutely NO enforcement of how many students can be sardined into an apartment.

  • Are student rentals really that overcrowded? I’ve been in a bunch and I have never witnessed overcrowding. It might seem that way from the number of cars, but that could be because if you have a house with 2 or 3 3-4 bedroom apartments, each resident brings a car. That’s easily 8-12 cars for that one house.

    Are there actually occupancy laws? I would imagine they would be related to square footage and have to be enforced on a house-by-house basis. I can see them limiting the number of guest permits per unit, but is it really fair to lay out a blanket “only 3 permits per unit” even if the place is legitimately a 4 bedroom apartment?

  • The headline on the press release should be “Providence Joins the Ranks of Cities Like New York, London, and Paris”.


    Seriously, there’s no reason why the Big Little can’t deal with onstreet parking if a major city like the Big Apple can do. The issues around it are well understood at this point.

  • I think the law is no more than three unrelated persons per unit, but it is certainly possible that is an urban legend. And, yes I can tell you that I’ve known apartments on the east side and the west side and all around town with at 6+ students per apartment x 4 units…

    I could see the east side getting on street parking if there was a concerted effort by the universities to keep students from bring cars to school. That is, you apply to live off campus and you apply to have a car off campus as well.

  • Oy vey, this is so exciting, I can hardly stand it. When I was at RISD, I paid more for parking a month my 2nd year than I did for my apartment.

    Woohoo for parking in PVD!

Providence, RI
5:10 am8:22 pm EDT
Feels like: 75°F
Wind: 9mph NNW
Humidity: 35%
Pressure: 30.01"Hg
UV index: 0
75°F / 54°F
79°F / 66°F
91°F / 68°F