The city of St. Paul has designated 27 areas where motorists need residential parking permits and enacted more than 100 policies that control parking in those places.
Now city officials are considering one rule for residential parking permits that would apply citywide.
Residential permit parking areas are generally in places where businesses, transit facilities, colleges or other institutions limit on-street parking for residents. Last year, the City Council asked the Department of Public Works to study the city’s nearly 40-year-old permit parking system and recommend how to simplify it.
“Overall, the good news and the bad news is that parking in St. Paul is becoming a more scarce resource,” said Council Member Rebecca Noecker, one of the authors of an ordinance that would simplify parking rules. “We’re trying to balance a really limited and valuable resource.”
A study released in June 2017 included the results of surveys of parking permit-holders and the general public and showed that more than 40 percent of respondents found signs in permitted parking areas difficult to understand. Nearly 40 percent of respondents said they would like more parking enforcement by police.
Under the ordinance, households in residential permit parking areas would be allowed up to three vehicle permits and two visitor permits. Nonresident owners would be allowed two visitor permits, and churches and nonprofits would be able to buy visitor placards for $1 each. Vehicle and visitor permits cost $15.
The ordinance will go before the City Council on June 20 for a public hearing. In addition to the rules related to the number of permits, it also would make changes to some parking permit areas, including merging some areas near the University of St. Thomas.
Other changes, including new signage, will likely happen at some point, said Elizabeth Stiffler, a traffic engineer in public works. The department is aiming to launch an online permit renewal system next year, she said.