Big changes could be coming for the City of Newport’s paid parking season.

During their Regular Council Meeting on Wednesday, March 22, Newport City Council received two communications from City Manager Joe Nicholson with several proposed changes to the paid parking season, meter changes, and parking at Easton’s Beach.

City Manager Nicholson said during the meeting that 2022 revenue from meters was $529,000. He believes his proposed changes could bring in an extra $100,000+ for the City of Newport. According to Nicholson, additional funds raised, like funds already raised through paid meters, will go into the Parking fund for city services, parking lot maintenance, etc.

The ordinance changes were passed on the first reading but require a second reading. A second reading will most likely be heard at Newport City Council’s next regular meeting on April 12, 2023. Further amendments or changes can be made by Council at the second reading.

Members of Newport City Council proposed having a workshop on these changes before the next meeting. We’ll let you know if and when that meeting is scheduled.

Meter Charges – Parking Season

The first communication, “Action Item #6139/23 – RE:  Ordinance Change:  Chapter 10.20.210. – Meter Charges – Parking Season”, would establish the time person (the season) for payment at parking meters as March 1 – November 30 of each year. Currently, the parking meter season is from May 1 through October 31.

An amendment was passed to allow residents to enjoy two-hour free parking during this new extended parking season. This amendment was passed unanimously.

Councilor Holder proposed an amendment to have the start date as April 1 instead of March 1. His amendment failed 3-4, with Councilor McCalla, Aramli, Ceglie, and Mayor Xay voting against it.

Another change to the ordinance would be to meter operating times. Currently, meters operate from 9 am to 9 pm. Under the proposed changes, meters must be paid from 9 am to 12 am daily at specific parking meter areas, including Washington Square, Touro Street, Touro Court, Market Square, Thames Street, and Memorial Boulevard from Thames Street to Bellevue Avenue.

“Extending the operating times for the downtown meters from 9 pm to 12 am more accurately reflects current practices in the downtown area. Public parking lots (Mary St. and Gateway) and private lots operate well past 9 pm,” City Manager Nicholson states in the communication. “Keeping the parking meters operational will encourage movement to off-street parking which will promote increased availability of on-street parking and less circling by motorists searching for an available space”.

The final change to the ordinance would establish that the maximum parking time fee shall not exceed four dollars per hour at meters. The City Manager says that “establishing maximum meter rates, rather than fixed rates, will allow for dynamic pricing: higher rates in high-demand areas and lower rates in low-demand areas.”

As amended with the free parking for residents, this item was passed 5-2 – with Councilor Holder and Carlin against it.

Easton’s Beach Parking Lot

The second communication, Action Item #6140/23 – RE:  Ordinance Change: Chapter 10.28.080.A.B.C.- Easton’s Beach Parking Lot – Parking Season, would establish the time period (the season) for payment at the Easton’s Beach parking lot as March 1st through November 30 of each year.

The existing ordinance establishes the parking meter fee schedule period as May 1 through October 31. The City Manager says that the Administration has proposed adjusting the time period of the parking season to March 1 through November 30 to more closely align the paid parking season with the increased parking demand.

Councilor Holder proposed an amendment to have the start date as April 1 instead of March 1. His amendment passed 4-3, with Councilor McCalla, Aramli, and Ceglie voting against it.

As amended with the start of the season as April 1 instead of March 1, this was passed unanimously.

Vehicles with a current Residential Parking Permit are entitled to free parking for the following periods: March 1 through the Friday before Memorial Day weekend and the Tuesday after Labor Day weekend through November 30.

Similar changes were proposed in 2018. City Council tabled those proposals at that time.


On Thursday, March 23, Newport Mayor Xay Khamsyvoravong shared the following statement with What’sUpNewp in regards to parking and transportation changes.

Council moves to include resident benefits for parking and transportation changes Newport, RI (March 23, 2023) 

Over the past twenty-four hours the City of Newport’s staff have presented the Council with parking ordinances and a final draft of the Master Transit Plan designed to help improve parking and mobility in  the City. As the Council and community consider these proposals, it is important to note the common sense approach the Council is taking to ensure changes benefit residents. 

The City’s multi-space parking meters have technological capabilities the administration is seeking  permission to utilize. City staff proposed using dynamic pricing whereby metered parking rates are  adjusted to meet demand and incentivize increased turnover. Importantly, the Council amended the parking meter ordinance to utilize this same technology to provide two hours of free parking to residents. 

At Easton’s Beach, the administration has proposed extending the beach parking season while also extending the period during which residents can park at the beach for free without a beach parking permit. Previously, residents had to purchase a beach pass in order to park at the beach from May 1st October 31st. Under the proposal, residents with a regular resident parking permit would be able to park at the beach until the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend, and after Labor Day. The extended period adds nearly three months of additional free beach access for residents.  

Last night was the first of two required readings for the ordinances. In order to be effectuated the ordinance revisions will need to pass at a second reading, which is expected for consideration at the  Council’s April meeting. Councilors and City staff will be working to consider if additional resident friendly changes should be made prior to the second reading. 

City staff also released a final draft of the Master Transit Plan. The Council has scheduled a workshop for  Wednesday, March 29th at 5:30 PM at City Hall to review the plan so it can fully understand and vet its respective components. The workshop is open to the public. 

“As the City adapts to its growing popularity as a destination, we are working to convert that rising tide  into a benefit for residents through things like expanding free beach parking for residents by almost  ninety days, and providing residents with two hours of free parking at City meters.”

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