NORTH PROVIDENCE – Town officials will take a closer look at fines given for parking offenses, potentially bumping them way up as a way to deter illegal parking on local streets.
The Town Council sent new Police Chief Alfredo Ruggiero’s request for a review of the fees to its ordinance subcommittee last week.
Chairman Stefano Famiglietti, who put the matter on the agenda, said the current fine schedule, which hasn’t been updated in nearly a decade, doesn’t seem to be functioning as much of a deterrent. Ruggiero came across the low fees during a review of local regulations.
According to town code, fines for parking where prohibited violations, including double parking, parking in a loading zone, and obstructing a driveway, among others, is $16. The fine for the same offense in many surrounding towns is between $50 and $100, according to Ruggiero’s review.
Famiglietti said he and members of the subcommittee plan to sit with the chief and others to hear more details on the rationale for increasing the fines and why he believes increasing them will deter more illegal parking.
“I’d like to hear more from the police chief,” he said.
Famiglietti said parking issues are a concern, but the vast majority of the complaints he receives from residents are about speeding.
A town table detailing violations for various parking offenses does show increased fines for certain offenses, but most are $16, including parking on a sidewalk, parking with left wheels to the curb, parking within 8 feet of a fire hydrant, parking in a loading zone, angle parking, parking within an intersection, and parking within 25 feet of a corner. The fine for overtime parking is $10.
Other fines include $50 for parking violations in snow or another emergency, $85 for a first violation of handicapped parking restrictions and $160 for a second offense, and $310 for a third offense, $50 as to obstruct traffic flow, and $50 for parking in a tow zone.
Five or more unanswered tickets will result in the violator’s vehicle being seized either by use of a boot or the vehicle being towed.
Famiglietti said police are typically very diligent about issuing parking tickets in response to issues that arise.
Council President Dino Autiello said he looks forward to the thorough explanation from police on potentially increasing fines. He too said the bulk of the calls he gets are related to speeding, and that might be at least partly related to North Providence trending to become a younger town. He said there are quite a few issues related to violations of resident-only parking restrictions, and increasing the fines could help.