An effort by the City of Newport to resurrect a never used law to require mopeds to occupy regular car parking spaces, is being met with strong resistance from many of the city’s moped owners.
If enforced some moped owners are promising to disrupt city parking by an “Occupy Newport” protest, according to informed sources.
Dozens of moped owners are planning to park in what has been traditionally car parking spaces and to do so at the most inappropriate times.
Previously moped owners were finding ways to park without disrupting car spaces.
The controversy erupted when parking enforcement officers have told several moped owners that city officials told them to begin ticketing moped that were not parked in legitimate car spaces.
“I have just returned from Rejects Beach. Without warning the Traffic Division is ticketing mopeds, not bicycles….I have been parking there ( off the road/blacktop) for over 20 years, but today without warning $25.00 tickets were written. Even thought 2 bicycles chained together take up the same space- they were not ticketed,” Stephanie G. recently shared on the Newport neighborhood website Nextdoor.
For years the city has ignored the law, allowing moped and motorcycle owners to park in areas that don’t infringe on normal car parking spaces.
“I was ticketed last week while parking my motorcycle on the “white cross lines” next to a parking place on Washington Square. I have been doing this for many years. When I was on the planning board we often discussed how allowing scooters and motorcycles on these spaces, which are too small for parking a car, cuts down on the number of autos that need to be brought into Newport.
A good example of this is the collection of scooters that are regularly parked along Thames Street [across from the Speakeasy Pub] by the people who work at the restaurants and bars in that area.When I took my ticket to the police department, I was told that the NPD policy regarding these ‘extra’ spaces has been changed. From now on scooters and motorcycles will be ticketed. So now these workers might have to bring cars into the area and take up full parking spaces,” former State Rep. R-District 75 Peter Martin shared on Nextdoor.
In some cities, like Boston on Boylston and Newberry Streets, the city has carved up a limited number of car parking spaces into smaller moped spots – some 6 spaces for 36 moped spaces – and charged a nominal parking meter fee.
Newport City Officials did not respond to requests for comment, the cities motivation for this sudden change in police remains a mystery.
It appears in the city laws that there is no differentiation between mopeds and any other vehicles. Until this recent apparent recent change, the practice has been different. Moped owners have been parking in areas that do not infringe upon normal parking spaces without any enforcement.
All this comes while members of the City Council are attempting to address what they consider parking and traffic congestion.