Commission Changes Overnight Parking Policy

Row of cars parked on street.
Overnight parking has been a much-discussed issue in recent years. The Mt. Lebanon Commission passed an ordinance that revises the policy. /Photo: Ken Lager

The Mt. Lebanon Commission made overhauling the municipality’s rules on overnight parking one of its top priorities for 2021. Commissioners amended the overnight parking ordinance in April, but the changes will not go into effect until October 1.

Mt. Lebanon prohibits overnight parking between the hours of 2 and 6 a.m. Streets free of parked cars at night allow fire, police and medical rescue teams to respond more quickly. During snow and ice events, snowplows are able to work at night without damaging or blocking in vehicles.

Overnight parking is intended to be used infrequently and for a good reason—out of town company, for example, or the need for a temporary overnight guest. In the past, requests for overnight parking were done by phone, and the department granted the requests on a case-by-case basis. Several years ago, Mt. Lebanon automated the request system, allowing residents to apply online. Following that change, requests spiked from 60 to about 300 per night.

This places a burden on police officers, who need to compare the license plate of each car on the street against a 10-page list that is generated each night.

As part of their examination of this issue, commissioners found that many residents with access to off-street parking or who are eligible to purchase overnight permits in municipal lots, garages and zones are not taking advantage of those options, and instead are making requests on a nightly basis to park their cars on the street.

The new ordinance grants 20 overnight parking permissions per year per license plate. The Commission chose that number because 93 percent of the requestors made 20 or fewer requests annually. As always, there will be no overnight on-street parking permitted if there is an inch or more of snow or ice  in the forecast.

Residents without driveways or parking pads have a couple of options.

In areas with no off-street parking or public parking lots within a tenth of a mile from their homes, residents  may apply for permit parking zones, which would enable them, for a fee of $150 for six months, to park overnight from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. (except when an inch or more of snow or ice is forecast). In order for an area to be considered for the zone, a majority of owners of the property abutting the zone must request it. Requests for the creation of a permit parking zone must be submitted, with proof of residency.

You can also apply for special permit parking spaces, which can be granted for up to two license plates per home. The same permissions and costs associated with permit parking zones apply. Special permit parking spaces will only be authorized for a year at most, but  residents can reapply when the time has expired. The parking enforcement supervisor will review all requests for approval and make recommendations to the municipal manager. As with the permit parking zones, this permit will not allow cars to be parked on the street when an inch or more of ice or snow is forecast.