2012 City Agreement FAQs

Will the 2012 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) replace or alter the 2003 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)?

The 2012 agreement between Brown and the City of Providence does not alter, affect or modify in any way the 2003 MOU. Payments by the four private colleges and universities will continue under the 2003 MOU. The 2012 MOA is a separate and distinct agreement that provides additional monies to the city.

What are the terms of the 2012 MOA?

Brown University and the City of Providence reached an agreement on May 1, 2012 that provides payment to the City of Providence in the amount of $31.5 million dollars over a period of 11 years. This amount is in addition to the payment that the City receives in accordance with the 2003 Memorandum of Understanding regarding properties taken from the tax rolls pursuant to purchase by the University.

Prior to the agreement, Brown paid approximately $4 million each year in voluntary and property tax payments to Providence and nearly $2 million in fees. The 2012 Agreement provides for payments of $3.9 million per year for five years beginning in June 2012, followed by $2 million annually for six years until June 2022.

The agreement includes the lease of 250 parking spaces from the city for 20 years which began July 1, 2013.

The agreement also provided for the acquisition of certain sections of streets that are abutted on both sides by Brown-owned property. Transfer of ownership took place on January 1, 2013. The street sections are:

  • Brown Street between George and Charlesfield Streets
  • Benevolent Street between Brown and Magee Streets
  • Olive Street between Thayer and Brown Streets

Where are the leased parking spaces located?

The agreement called for 250 permits to be made available to Brown employees to ensure that permitted employees are able to park all day on select public streets (thus not contributing to ongoing traffic and congestion resulting from regular movement of cars). Permits may be used on the following streets:

  • Thayer between Waterman and Power
  • Charlesfield between Hope and the Brown University Keeney Residence Hall property line
  • Brook between Waterman and Benevolent
  • George between Magee and Brook
  • Brown between Meeting and Waterman
  • Benevolent between Hope and Thayer

Parking on these streets is used on a daily basis primarily by members of the Brown community. Click here for a map of the streets.

Parking on these streets is available to permit holders only from 8 am until noon Monday through Friday. From noon until 6 pm, the parking spaces are available for permit holders and non-permit holders. Permit holders may remain in the spaces during the noon to 6 p.m. time frame without regard to the hourly limitations. Non-permit holders are only able to park for two hours between noon and 6 pm. The city enforces the agreement by ticketing and towing those without permits parked from 8 am until noon or for more than two hours after noon. All of the revenue from ticketing belongs to the City.

Can the public park in the leased spaces in the evening?

Parking is available to the public in the leased spaces for no more than two hours on weekday afternoons from noon to 6 pm and all day on weekends. Other than the restricted access from 8 a.m. to noon and the hourly limitations on parking after noon on weekdays, there are no related restrictions emanating from the parking agreement. Thus, the parking agreement does not restrict parking in the evenings, overnight, or on the weekends. If the city allows overnight parking, the cars parked overnight will have to be moved by 7:45 am on weekdays.

How does the parking agreement compare to the findings of the College Hill Parking Task Force?

According to a report produced by the College Hill Parking Task Force, a broad-based group formed to address parking and traffic challenge on College Hill:

  • There is adequate on-street parking available to meet current demands, but a more effective management program is required, and
  • Designating enough all-day, long-term on-street parking will reduce traffic congestion.
  • In alignment with these findings, the agreement calls for 250 permits that are available to Brown employees to ensure that permitted employees are able to park all day on select public streets (thus not contributing to ongoing traffic and congestion resulting from regular movement of cars every few hours as a result of current on-street parking rules). The addition of these designated spaces for employees should make other spaces available for non-employees.

This parking plan addresses the Task Force recommendation of replacing short-term (2-3 hour parking) with long-term parking on the streets around the Brown campus, and does so without the cost of metering, while bringing significant guaranteed revenue to the city with additional resources derived through city enforcement of regulations.

By replacing short term parking with long term parking, we project that the traffic on College Hill would decrease 25 to 30 percent, freeing parking in other areas (Thayer Street) for shoppers and visitors.

How are the leased spaces be allocated within the Brown Community?

Leased spaces are available for purchase by University employees through the parking office. If spaces become unavailable due to demand, a wait list will be created.

Will the city lose revenue on the parking due to fewer tickets/enforcement?

No. The agreement between Brown and the city provides new funds to Providence totaling $31.5 million. This amount is in excess of the combined value, as determined by both the city and Brown, of the 20 year parking lease and the abandonment of portions of the street. The streets identified do not have meters and the city did not receive revenue for parking that occurred there. The city received revenue from violations, which it continues to have authority to do under this agreement.

The city enforces the agreement by ticketing those who park for more than the allotted time without a Brown permit and those who park during the time designated no parking without a Brown permit, bringing in additional revenue for the city.

The parking spaces are leased for 20 years. Will there be an automatic renewal of the lease for Brown at the end of that time?

The agreement calls for two additional ten-year option terms.

Which streets have been transferred to Brown?

The agreement provided for Brown to acquire the following streets that are abutted primarily by Brown owned property:

  • Brown Street between George and Charlesfield Streets
  • Benevolent Street between Brown and Magee Streets
  • Olive Street between Thayer and Brown Streets

Click here for a map of the streets.

What will Brown do with those streets?

The University is undertaking a planning process that will include campus and neighboring community input to identify the best uses of the streets from the perspectives of pedestrian safety and security.

Will the public have access to those streets after abandonment?

Brown is a private institution with an open and welcoming campus in the center of Providence. While exact use of the streets has not been determined, it is expected that members of the public will have access as they do most University grounds.

Does the city get the streets and parking back after the 11-year expiration of the MOA?

The agreement calls for a steady stream of predictable funding to the city for the duration of the agreement to support the city during this challenging fiscal period. The on-street parking spaces are leased for 20 years, and ownership of the streets is permanent.

What will happen at the end of the agreement (11 years)?

The duration of the agreement provides time for the city to address fiscal challenges and to work toward a productive partnership and a more sustainable economy. We know that the most important role that Brown can play for Providence and RI is to continue to improve as an internationally renowned research university, and the city and state seek to provide the environment for Brown to thrive and contribute as a productive partner to provide education, opportunities, employment and economic growth. It is imperative that we identify opportunities to work together with city and state officials in productive ways moving forward, to support our assets—our colleges and universities—so that we have sustainable and mutually beneficial growth and success. This agreement provides the time and conditions to move forward more productively.

Why is Brown entering into this payment agreement with the city of Providence?

Brown is and always has been committed to the success of Providence and Rhode Island. The strength of our city is important to our students, faculty, and community. While Brown (together with other colleges and universities) is not the cause of the current fiscal crisis, we have entered into an agreement that will provide substantial financial assistance to Providence during a critical period while the city addresses the range of structural issues that it faces. The city, under the leadership of Mayor Taveras and the City Council, is taking difficult steps to address structural issues, which will require some time to yield important results.

We have sought options to support the city in ways that also benefit the University as an institution of higher education and as one of the state’s major employers. The City needs additional financial support at this time. Brown needs a predictable environment for its growth and success so that it can continue to contribute to the vitality of our city and state.

Does Brown pay any taxes on its property in addition to the voluntary payments in this agreement?

Yes. In addition to the voluntary payments made as part of the 2003 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Brown pays $1.5 million in real property taxes on properties that are used for educational purposes, and $1.34 million in property taxes on property we lease or do not use for educational purposes. In total, Brown pays $8 million each year in voluntary and property tax payments to Providence and over $2.3 million in fees.

What does Brown do to encourage faculty, staff and students to reduce demand for parking on College Hill?

Brown is a community of over 12,000 students, faculty and staff. For the last decade, the University has implemented an aggressive approach to reduce the demand for parking on College Hill, providing resources and information to the Brown Community to promote convenient, safe, and environmentally friendly ways to move around the campus, to travel to and from Brown, and to reduce traffic congestion on College Hill. Among the steps that have been taken are:

  • Discouraging students and employees from bringing cars to campus: 12 years ago, 500 permits were issued to students. Today, parking permits are provided on a very limited basis to students with a demonstrated need to bring a car to campus.

As the costs to the University have increased, the University has increased parking fees for permits while offering free access to public transportation and a range of programs designed to make travel to and around campus convenient and environmentally sound:

  • Public Transportation Incentives: Brown University pays the Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority (RIPTA) more than $500,000 annually to participate in the U-Pass program, which allows all Brown University ID holders (faculty, staff and students) to ride any RIPTA bus or trolley free of charge anywhere in the state. More than 4,000 riders take approximately 34,000 rides per month, and the number of riders and rides has increased by 6 to 10 percent each year since inception.
  • University Shuttle: The University offers a day and evening fixed-route shuttle service and an evening point-to-point on-call shuttle service allowing students and employees to travel easily on and around campus, including facilities in the Jewelry District
  • Zip Cars: The University has partnered with ZIPCAR to offer Brown community members an alternative to driving to campus. Brown currently has 24 vehicles in its fleet (22 on campus and 2 in the Jewelry District) providing service to approximately 2,500 members (1,450 Brown-related and 1050 greater Providence community) traveling 30,000 miles per month.
  • Bicycle Stations /Bicycle Sharing: Brown has 100 sets of outdoor bicycle racks and over 60 indoor, for a capacity of over 1,400 spaces. Brown also offers bicycle registration to discourage theft, and is working with various civic groups to help promote cycling in the city. Bikes at Brown, a student initiative, launched a bike-sharing program in March 2009 using University funds to purchase bikes for shared use.

What role does on-street permitting play in this overall approach to demand management?

In addition to progress made to encourage students, faculty and staff to leave their cars at home, to remain an employer of choice and support a productive workplace requires a more effective and efficient approach to parking to accommodate those who must drive.

Today, many employees continue to take advantage of free on-street parking rather than taking public transportation or purchasing permits, opting to move cars every two hours, creating traffic and congestion, and limiting productivity.

In lieu of a parking garage on College Hill, the on-street parking spaces need to be managed more efficiently.

Does the agreement address property in the Jewelry District, including the I-195 land?

No, the agreement does not address property in the Jewelry District or the I-195 lands. The I-195 lands are under the jurisdiction of the I-195 Commission.