PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The city of Central Falls began issuing tickets on Tuesday to people who are violating a new ban on overnight street parking that has prompted a public outcry.
Maj. James Mendonca, executive officer of the police department, told The Associated Press that 75 tickets were issued Tuesday morning to those whose cars were left on the streets between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. He said 32 of the violators were Central Falls residents. The rest were from out-of-state or other Rhode Island municipalities.
The violation carries a $40 fine. Several unregistered cars were towed, Mendonca said.
The ban was approved last month by the state-appointed receiver who oversees Central Falls' operations. It went into effect Jan. 2 but violators were given only warnings at first.
Public safety officials say the ban will allow better access for emergency vehicles, snow removal equipment and street cleaners and help reduce crime and vandalism.
Mendonca, who proposed the ban, said it allows officers to be more pro-active about overnight policing.
"Every vehicle becomes a suspect now," he said. "We're being proactive rather than being reactive."
Residents packed a City Council meeting Monday night to complain about the ban. They call it inconvenient and say it raises safety concerns for people forced to park in city lots — and walk several blocks home — at night. Residents and members of the council have also criticized receiver Robert G. Flanders for approving the ordinance, rather than letting the council take it up.
Under the receivership, the council was relegated to an advisory status and the mayor stripped of his duties. Flanders filed for bankruptcy on behalf of Central Falls in August.