This page includes information on:

  • Parking for students, employees and visitors
  • RISD parking permits
  • Parking enforcement
  • Rhode Island state laws for motorized scooters and motorcycles

Please consult the RISD parking map for information about parking locations.


Motor vehicle operation on campus must be in accordance with State of Rhode Island statutes. In some instances, State of Rhode Island and/or City of Providence citations may be issued in place of, or in addition to, RISD citations.

All parking policies are set by RISD administration with input from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and are implemented by DPS. RISD reserves the right to change any of its parking policies at any time without advance notice. Various conditions, including but not limited to weather conditions, construction and special events may temporarily limit access to RISD parking facilities.

Damage and theft
RISD is not responsible for any loss or damage to a vehicle, its accessories, or its contents by reason of theft, accident, fire, or otherwise while on RISD property, city streets, or while parked in any lots RISD contracts with outside agencies. In the event of unusual circumstances not covered by established regulations, please contact DPS immediately. Allowing for unusual circumstances is at the sole discretion of the Director of Public Safety or his/her designee.

Disabled vehicles in parking areas must be reported immediately. The owner or operator is responsible for prompt removal and any associated towing expenses.

Student parking
There is no parking for students at RISD. Those in need of overnight or other spaces will need to make private arrangements. Students who require a vehicle on campus for medical accommodation must contact Disability Support Services for parking permit approval.

Employee parking
RISD provides employee parking spaces on a first-come, first-serve basis in several campus parking lots. Employees must obtain a parking permit from the DPS office prior to parking in a RISD lot. An annual tag fee is deducted from pay on a pre-tax basis. The fee is based on annual wages and is subject to change. Permit holders maintain the right to turn in her or his parking permit, stop the parking permit payroll deduction and forfeit access to RISD parking facilities.

Visitor parking
Metered and timed parking for visitors is available along Benefit Street, North/South Main Street or at various Metropark locations nearby. Visitors are prohibited from parking in RISD Staff lots, with the exception of legally documented handicapped guests.

Metropark provides guest parking at the SoMain lot located at the corner of Power and South Water Street and at the 199 Canal Street Lot.

Guest parking permits are available through DPS and may be picked up in person at 30 Waterman Street. DPS also provides blank permits via interoffice mail upon request. Requesters must fill in the guest parking permit completely. Metropark rejects all incomplete permits.

After parking, guests must inform the attendant of their guest status and then collect a permit from the requesting department prior to departure. Hosts are to give the yellow and bottom copies of the permit to guests and keep the top copy for their records. Guests must turn in the guest parking permit to the attendant upon exiting the lot.

Please contact DPS if you are hosting a large number of guests at a specific time. DPS will try to coordinate with Metropark to secure the necessary number of reserved spaces for your group. Metropark may also offer a special reduced large group rate.

Handicapped parking
Any member or guest of the RISD community with a state-issued handicapped parking placard or license plate is allowed to park in designated handicapped parking spaces in various RISD parking lots. Eligible community members should still apply for a RISD parking permit so that they may park in non-handicapped spaces if necessary. If all handicapped spaces in campus lots are validly occupied, contact DPS so that it may review capacity needs.

Handicapped spaces in campus lots are covered by city and state parking regulations. Illegally parking in handicapped spaces will result in immediate ticketing and towing. Repeated misuse of handicapped parking spaces will result in the revocation of campus parking privileges.

Parking permits

RISD staff, faculty, emeritus professors, and trustees are entitled DPS-issued parking permits that allow them to park in RISD parking facilities (including those owned by RISD and private facilities where RISD has made arrangements for employee parking).

A valid parking permit allows for parking in the following areas:

RISD lots

  • 130 Point Street (8 spaces)
  • 187 Garage Studios (5 tandem spaces)
  • BEB (23 spaces + 1 handicapped space)
  • Benefit Street Lot, 292 Benefit Street (22 spaces)
  • Congdon Street Lot (6 spaces)
  • Defoe Lot 1 - Lower (13 spaces + 1 handicapped space)
  • Defoe Lot 2 - Upper (4 spaces)
  • Design Center/Auditorium Alley (4 tandem spaces)
  • Dwight House (3 tandem spaces)
  • Farnum Lot (33 spaces + 1 handicapped space)
  • Fones Lot (10 spaces + 1 handicapped space)
  • ISB Lot (10 spaces + 4 handicapped spaces)
  • Planet Street Lot (9 spaces)
  • 161 South Main Street Lot (22 spaces + 1 handicapped space)
  • Waterman Street Lot 1 - Upper (20 spaces + 3 handicapped spaces)
  • Waterman Street Lot 2 - Lower (3 spaces + 1 handicapped space)
  • Woods Gerry Lot (24 spaces)

Note: spaces marked with an * are for students and staff.

City street spaces

  • Benefit Street (11 spaces)
  • Fulton Street (6 spaces, 1 reserved for RISD service vehicle)
  • South Water Street - East Side (16 spaces)
  • South Water Street - West Side (20 spaces)
  • Washington Place (5 spaces)
  • Westminster Street (3 spaces)
  • Westminster Street (1 space)

Permit holders are prohibited from parking in any spaces expressly reserved for another faculty or staff member, spaces marked as “visitor” spaces, or any spaces expressly marked restricted by a sign or pavement markings. Parking in these restricted areas will result in a citation or towing of the improperly parked vehicle. Spaces reserved for a specific individual are to be used by that individual only.

Note: the 55 Angell Street Lot is reserved for specific RISD community members.

Acquiring a parking permit
You may submit your RISD parking permit application:

In person: Department of Public Safety, 30 Waterman Street (Weekdays 9:30 am - 3:00 pm)
By mail: RISD Department of Public Safety, 20 Washington Place, Providence, RI 02903
By fax: 401 454-6388

To receive a permit via inter-office mail, fill out an electronic application in full. Incomplete electronic applications will not be processed. Paper applications are available at the DPS office. Paper applications must be filled out each year in full, in blue or black ink, even if all information is unchanged from the previous year. Incomplete applications are returned to the applicant and a permit(s) is not issued. The RISD parking permit application also serves as the payroll deduction authorization, which is sent to Payroll for processing.

Applications submitted in person are processed immediately, at which time a permit or hangtag will be issued. All other permit applications are fulfilled via interoffice mail.

Permit/hangtag holders are expected to read and understand all RISD parking polices and must display the proper permit or hangtag when parking on campus. Vehicles are subject to ticketing, towing or immobilization until a valid permit is affixed to the vehicle. Permit holders are responsible for all citations/fees associated with any vehicle displaying their permit or hang tag.

Permit holders are only allowed to utilize RISD parking facilities when they have official business on campus. Storing of vehicles on the RISD campus or in any RISD parking facilities is prohibited.

Permit options
Regular campus parking: Faculty/staff members may apply for a regular campus parking permit, which entitles the permit holder to park in all RISD lots. Parking in all lots is first-come, first-served as spaces become available.

 Groups of two or more people may become part of a carpool group. Carpool groups should collectively apply with DPS for special carpool permits. All members of a carpool group will be issued sequentially numbered permits related to that group.

Only one vehicle from each carpool group may be on campus at a time. The carpool may park in any regular RISD Lot in accordance with established regulations.

Fees for parking permits are paid through pre-tax payroll deduction. By completing a RISD parking permit application you agree to the appropriate payroll deduction.

Permit rates are based on annual wages and are subject to change. The payroll deduction is spread over twelve months for the monthly payroll and over 26 pay periods for the biweekly payroll.

Community members who no longer need a permit and wish to cease payroll deductions must complete a stop parking permit payroll deduction form and return the decal in person to DPS. Payroll deductions will continue without chance for refund until the permit is returned.

Emeritus/trustee permits
Emeritus professors and trustees are provided lifetime parking permits free of charge. The Trustee Office makes arrangements with DPS for issuing permits to emeritus professors and trustees, who must abide by all established parking regulations.

Multiple vehicles

Permit holders may park only one vehicle on campus at any given time. In the event that two vehicles belonging to the same permit holder are found parked on campus at the same time, the second vehicle is subject to towing and the owner will lose parking privileges for the second vehicle.

Parking enforcement

Parking citations

  • $30.00 No permit/expired permit
  • $30.00 Improper use of a permit
  • $30.00 Parking in reserved/visitor spaces
  • $100.00 Unauthorized storage of vehicle
  • $30.00 Parking on sidewalk/crosswalk
  • $30.00 Parking outside of marked spaces
  • $30.00 Parking in no parking zone
  • $30.00 Parking in service lane
  • $30.00 Obstructing a building entrance or loading zone
  • $100.00 Obstructing snow removal or dumpster
  • $30.00 Parking in a posted tow zone
  • $30.00 Obstructing a fire lane
  • $30.00 Obstructing a fire hydrant
  • $100.00 Improper/unauthorized use of a handicapped parking space
  • $25.00 Improper disposal of a parking citation
  • $50.00 Boot removal

Payment of parking violations
The first citation issued in a year (running October 1st to October 1st) is a warning only, and no citation fee will be imposed. Fines for parking citations that go unpaid for 30 business days will double. Citations are counted against the vehicle owner; the citation count is the cumulative citations for all vehicles registered to that person. Unpaid employee parking violations will be brought to the attention of the employee’s supervisor and Human Resources.

Any permit holder who has (3) unpaid parking citations will have their parking permit and parking privileges revoked until all citations are paid.

Illegally and improperly parked vehicles are subject to ticketing or towing by DPS. Before towing, DPS attempts to contact the vehicle’s owner through information provided on the parking permit application form. In some cases, vehicles may need to be moved immediately without notice.

In the case of gross violations, including but not limited to parking in a handicapped space or blocking buildings or fire lanes, vehicles will be towed without notice. Vehicles are towed at the risk and expense of the owner or operator.

Towing will occur for the following situations:

  • Disabled vehicles parked illegally
  • Vehicles obstructing fire lanes or other emergency access
  • Vehicles parked illegally in handicapped parking spaces
  • Student or employee vehicles parked illegally in spaces designated as Reserved

RISD will not be held responsible for any vehicle damage resulting from towing or tow storage. RISD will also not be held liable for any incidental damages that may occur due to towing.

Under special circumstances it may be necessary to tow a vehicle that is parked in accordance with all regulations. If a vehicle needs to be moved due to unforeseen circumstances, every attempt will be made to contact the permit owner prior to towing. If a car is towed under these circumstances, the institution will incur all associated fees.

Parking across the marked parking line is prohibited. This applies to vehicles not fully within the marked parking space due to the adjacent car’s violation of this policy. Any car violating this policy will be cited without exception.

Parking enforcement appeals process
Permit holders and RISD students have the right to appeal enforcement actions taken against them. A request to appeal must be submitted in writing to DPS within seven (7) calendar days of the issuance of the parking citation in question. Utilize the parking citation appeal form or acquire one in person from DPS.

The Parking Appeals Committee is comprised of a dean, a member of the administration and a member of the Staff Council. The Appeals Committee meets once a month to review submitted appeals. Appeals are answered in writing unless the committee requests that the appealer appear in person.

The Parking Appeals Committee has the power to affirm, reverse or modify any imposed parking citation. Committee decisions are issued in writing ten (10) business days after their meeting date. Decisions made by the Parking Appeals Committee are final and binding.

RI laws regarding motorized scooters

Per Rhode Island General Law, all motorcycles, motorized bicycles, and motorized tricycles must be registered with the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The storage of unregistered vehicles on RISD property is prohibited. Unregistered vehicles found on campus and other RISD properties are subject to towing. In addition, unregistered vehicles may be impounded by the city of Providence or municipality to which they are towed. Any fines and fees associated with said towing and/or impounding are the responsibility of the owner of the vehicle. RISD shall not be held liable for any resultant fees or damages.

Any Providence, Rhode Island State or local law enforcement authorities who see an unregistered vehicle parked in RISD lots or on city property may cite or seize said vehicle without notice.

All motorized vehicles parked in RISD lots are subject to the institution’s parking policies. Any motorized vehicle parked in a RISD lot without a visible parking permit or hangtag is subject to towing, regardless of its registration status with the State of Rhode Island.

Rhode Island General Law also requires a special license also requires a special license for the operation of motorcycles, motor scooters and other motor-driven cycles.

Rhode Island DMV motorcycle information
Motorcycle operators must possess a driver’s license with official motorcycle endorsement. RI DMV will convert a motorcycle license from another state to a first-time RI license. Those seeking a first motorcycle operators’ license must complete a 10-hour motorcycle safety course, which is conducted by the RI Department of Education at the Community College of Rhode Island. Required safety equipment includes:

  • Protective goggles or a windscreen
  • Helmet for any passenger
  • One (1) rearview mirror

Motorcycles and mopeds must be registered with the DMV. The fee is $13.00 per year. Moped operators do not require a special license but must have a valid RI driver's license. Mopeds are not permitted on Interstate highways.

Students who are not full-time RI residents are not required to obtain a RI-issued motorcycle license, but must hold a valid motorcycle license from their home state. Anyone not licensed to operate a motorcycle should obtain one from their home state or from the State of Rhode Island.

Operation of a motorcycle, motor scooter or other motor-driven cycle without a license that meets the provisions of RI General Law is considered a crime and is subject to citation. Operation of such vehicles with no license at all is a criminal offense that may result in the arrest of the operator.

Kit vehicles (motor vehicles that are built by an individual rather than a manufacturer) are also subject to registration with the State of Rhode Island and require an operator’s license. More information is available from the Rhode Island DMV.