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Mayor Kenneth J. Hopkins opposes proposed legislation to relax city ordinances and allow permanent overnight parking on city streets.
“While I know the city council has been discussing this topic for several months, I support the strong recommendations and opinions of my department heads who do not advocate for a change from Cranston’s long-standing prohibition of overnight parking on city streets,” Mayor Hopkins said. “I agree that it is not prudent from a public safety neighborhood issue as well as a problem for our plowing and street sweeping duties.”
Both Cranston Police Chief Colonel Michael Winquist and Fire Chief James Warren do not recommend implementing a new overnight parking scheme from a safety issue, and Public Works Director Richard Bernardo also opposes from a maintenance issue. “By prohibiting cars on streets, the police can more easily identify stolen or suspicious cars, Hopkins said, and “in storms when we implement parking bans, it will cause major issues with residents who ignore or fail to know about the ban. Our ability to properly snow-plow and implement our street sweeping program is compromised with cars parking all over city streets,” said Hopkins.
Right now, Cranston residents cannot park their vehicle on any city street for a period of time longer than two hours between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. on any day. Mayor Hopkins said the implementation of a parking permit system will be an administrative burden to some department not yet identified in the proposed ordinance.
“Some streets are not practical, where others would require subjective judgment if you only allowed parking on one side of a street,” Mayor Hopkins said. “We would have neighbors pitted against neighbors. No one would be pleased if they could not get a permit and somebody who lives in another house could park in front of their house.”
The mayor acknowledged that while a small group of residents are impacted by the present law, he has heard from many residents who want to keep the overnight restrictions in place.
“I sympathize with some people, but in many instances there are people who bought or are renting properties with full knowledge of the available off street parking situation,” Mayor Hopkins said. “If people are adding drivers or cars to their households without proper available parking, we should not turn the whole city upside down.”
He noted the present parking restrictions have served Cranston’s 30,000 homes well since at least 1969. He added that the Police Department will work with any resident who has an occasional one-time issue like seal-coating a driveway or a lot of guests or family members staying over.
“We handle those items on a case-by-case basis with a phone call to the police department,” said Hopkins.
There is legislation to allow overnight parking that will be considered at the March 27th City Council meeting, submitted by Aniece Germain, councilperson, noting the increased density of people living together in homes and how patterns have changed. Many of the denser streets also do not have sidewalks.
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