Overnight parking on streets causing issues

Staff photo by Dean Shalhoup Nashua residents who are accustomed to parking in the street overnight may find tickets under their windshield wiper come morning. The city has long had an overnight parking ban, except for streets that are part of the On-Street Parking Program.

NASHUA – The city ordinance banning overnight on-street parking has been on the books for decades, but after a slew of public questions and comments this week, many apparently did not realize they would get tickets for leaving cars on the street at night.

Many residents who weighed in on the Nashua Civic Sounding Board Facebook page this week seemed unaware of an overnight ban. Others expressed dismay that the law applies to cul-de-sacs, as well as the narrow and congested streets typical of an older neighborhood.

And the fact that parking enforcement, for years a function of the Nashua Police Department, was shifted last fall to the city’s Economic Development Department, surprised many. That move, Economic Development Department Director Tim Cummings said Thursday, had no bearing on the terms of the ordinance.

“When the legislation was passed, the ordinance was amended to reflect the change to Economic Development,” Cummings said, adding that no new restrictions were added to the ordinance.

And any tweaks that are made to the existing ordinance are “merely housekeeping in nature,” he said.

Among those who posted comments were city Alderwoman Pat Klee, of Ward 3, and Alderwoman Jan Schmidt, of Ward 1. Schmidt added that aldermen, since parking operations shifted from a police operation to an Economic Development one, have been “working to find the best solution to address every area of the city.”

A special overnight parking program, launched about four years ago, is aimed mainly at helping residents of inner-city multi-unit apartment buildings, many of whom have no driveway. Known as the Overnight On-Street Parking Program, it allows residents to park overnight on certain streets, using specially designated spaces for which they purchase a permit. The list of streets and information on permits can be found at www.nashuanh.gov.

Ward 7 Alderwoman June Caron, meanwhile, said she has had constituents contact her regarding overnight parking.

“I refer them to Tim Cummings’ office, so they can ask about it,” Caron said.

She referred to the process by which residents can request permission to park on their street overnight, such as when they are installing a new driveway or are expecting overnight guests.

Permission is granted on a case-by-case basis.

The ordinance establishes that overnight parking is not allowed anywhere in the city unless it is specifically permitted for a specific area, or if a short-term exception has been granted.

If aldermen decide to revisit the ordinance, “I’d be happy to work with them,” Cummings said.

In the meantime, “providing customer service” is a priority for parking enforcement personnel as they work their routes, he said.

“We interact with the public … explain the different rules and regulations. We want to make sure people understand,” he said.

Cummings added that he is planning a city-wide mailing in the near future, and wants residents to know “we’re always available to help clarify something.”

For more information about overnight parking regulations in Nashua, go to www.nashuanh.gov/1189/Overnight-Parking, call 603-589-3205, or email parking@nashuanh.gov.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-1256, dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DeanS.