Everyone who parks a car in the median on South Broad Street is breaking the law, but traditionally, the Philadelphia Parking Authority has looked the other way.
If you are a Philadelphian who has logged onto the World Wide Web in the last few weeks, you’ve heard about this. Ever since the median was cleared for the Democratic National Convention, there’s been a push to enforce the parking ban year-round. And it’s been led partially by the 5th Square, an urbanist PAC that believes keeping the median clear is a matter of safety and respect for public space.
Mayor Jim Kenney, a South Philly native, has been publicly noncommittal about the practice, saying that 5th Square and other supporters should win over South Philly residents before any permanent changes are made. But privately, he’s encouraged the PPA to step up its ticketing of the most egregiously misparked cars.
“The mayor, the PPA and members of the administration met to discuss the median parking issue a few weeks ago, before the administration met with 5th Square this week,” Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said on Wednesday. “In that meeting, we agreed that PPA should ticket in the median when a car is fishtailed, in the turning lane, and in the crosswalk. We also agreed that any other changes should be community-driven.”
PPA spokesman Marty O’Rourke said the authority is (allegedly) already ticketing cars parked halfway into turning lanes and intersections, but that it has agreed to step up enforcement after meeting with the mayor. He couldn’t say how many tickets have been issued since the meeting.
Jake Liefer, a co-founder of the 5th Square, said he’s happy to hear that Kenney is encouraging the PPA to pay attention to the worst cases of illegal parking.
“All of the median parking presents a safety and risk issue, but the ones that are in crosswalks and in turning lanes are the most at risk for danger to pedestrians and drivers,” Liefer said.
Meanwhile, 5th Square is continuing its push for a full, permanent ban on parking in the median. The group is trying to convene meetings with community organizations over the next few months. And, in a move that’s more likely to appeal to its urbanist millennial base than anyone else, the PAC is holding a dance party/fundraiser at The Dolphin on South Broad next Thursday.
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