Effective May 1, 2021, vehicles parked in a loading zone in the City of Reading are required to pay parking meter rates for use of the space.

This change comes as part of comprehensive revisions to Reading parking law, the first in more than 10 years.

After careful review, the revisions were enacted to better reflect today’s parking needs and concerns in Reading.

Loading zones are designed to provide retail businesses with areas for commercial vehicles to conduct loading and unloading activities.

The ordinance change is intended to encourage frequent vehicle turnover in loading zones so spaces are available for their intended use and make city streets safer by decreasing the frequency of double-parking.

Prior to updating the ordinance, parking authority officials say loading zone spaces were routinely abused by drivers using them for non-commercial vehicles, purposes other than commercial loading and unloading, or periods much longer than the designated time.

As a result, commercial vehicles attempting to load and unload were left with no choice but to double-park, leading to erratic and dangerous driving on city streets.

Double parking increases the risk of accident, injury, or fatality by causing other vehicles to make quick lane changes—potentially crossing into oncoming traffic—and diminishing sightlines for other drivers and pedestrians.

As defined by the ordinance, commercial vehicles include all motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or more that are used for the transportation of goods, wares, or merchandise.

Reading Parking Authority says passenger vehicles having a truck license or registration do not qualify as a commercial vehicle.

No physical meters will be placed at the loading zones, but multiple electronic payment methods are available:

ParkMobile: Drivers pay at each space on a per-use basis using the app or by texting “Park” to 77223.

ParkMobile fleet parking: Companies register all the vehicles in their fleet to one account. Charges are billed to one credit card and businesses can add or remove vehicles at any time via the ParkMobile website.

Parking permits are also offered for the introductory price of $30 per vehicle per month, permits are available month-to-month for individual vehicles or fleets.

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