How a Council Bill Requiring More Parking Could Backfire

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

PlanPhilly reported yesterday that the City Planning Commission and a number of community groups are having a rough time coming to terms with a bill that would increase the amount of off-street parking developers are required to provide when they build new houses and apartments.

If you’re someone who has ever struggled to find parking in the city, the bill might strike you as a good idea. More off-street parking for residents means more on-street parking for everyone else, right? Well, maybe. Maybe not. And in the long run, it could make parking more difficult and housing more expensive. My former colleague Ashley Hahn has the whole thing in a nutshell right here, but here it is in an even smaller nutshell. Read more »

The PPA Is Ending Free Parking on Wednesdays, First Fridays

Philadelphia Parking Authority kiosk in Center City on 9th Street

A PPA kiosk in Center City | Photo: Dan McQuade

The era of free parking in Center City is coming to an end.

Currently, street parking in Center City is free after 5 p.m. on Wednesday nights and on the first Friday of every month. As first reported by Philly.com, the PPA recently announced that it’s ending the promotion.

“The conclusion of these promotions is intended to increase parking opportunities for those shopping and dining in the city, and in light of the increased flexibility afforded by the meterUP app,” the PPA wrote on its blog. “In addition, the PPA has increased time limits in the evening on most Center City blocks allowing enough time for people participating in night time activities without being rushed to get back to move their car.” Read more »

Kenney to PPA: Target Worst Offenders Parking on Broad Street Median

Photograph by Claudia Gavin

Photograph by Claudia Gavin

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.” Read more »

Hey, Mayor, How ’Bout Making That Broad Street Parking Ban Permanent?

Photo: Holly Otterbein

Photo: Holly Otterbein

The South Philly parking catastrophe that some feared after the city’s decision to enforce the ban on parking in the median of South Broad Street during the Democratic National Convention has failed to materialize. And that in turn has led to a call for Mayor Jim Kenney to make enforcement of the ban permanent.

“I’m a South Philly resident myself. I live two blocks off of Broad Street,” said Jake Liefer, co-founder and treasurer of the 5th Square, a political action committee that seeks to advance an urbanist agenda for City Hall. The group launched a petition drive on July 26th to persuade the mayor to continue the ban after the convention. “Over the past three days, I’ve been able to park my car on my block easily — and even park right in front of my house.” Read more »

Dept. of Minor Miracles: Nobody Is Parked on the Broad Street Median Today

Look Ma, no cars in the median! | Photos: Holly Otterbein

Look Ma, no cars in the median! | Photos: Holly Otterbein

This morning, South Philly residents awoke to see something most of them had never seen in their lifetimes: South Broad Street completely free of parked cars in its median.

That was the first miracle. The second was this: the Philadelphia Parking Authority only had to tow away a handful of them.  Read more »

PPA: We’ll Tow Your Car If You Park In the Middle of Broad Street During DNC

Photograph by Claudia Gavin

Photograph by Claudia Gavin

People have been parking their cars in the middle of Broad Street for as long as anyone can remember, even though it’s against the law. It’s just one of those Philly things, and one that has apparently been going on for at least 100 years. But one agency known best for killing everyone’s fun has announced that your car will be towed if you attempt to park it on the South Broad Street median during the Democratic National Convention. Read more »

Panic at the Narberth Parklet!

narberth-parklet

Here in Philadelphia, we have to deal with things like stop-and-frisk, the tax abatement, and the sinister soda tax. But a few miles away in the Borough of Narberth, residents find themselves confronting a whole new species of evil: the parklet. Read more »

New Bill Would Wipe Out Older Parking Fines

iStock/hidesy

iStockphoto/hidesy

Have you gotten a ticket for parking in a loading zone or overstaying the two-hour parking restrictions? Did you do it more than three years ago and never pay the ticket? And have the specters of the fines and late fees been hanging in the back of your mind like a dark cloud? Well, there’s hope: If one councilwoman has her way, those old fines could be erased.

City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell has introduced a bill in City Council which would give Philadelphians amnesty for old parking fines. “Any person owing fines, fees or penalties for parking violations issued three or more years ago, shall be eligible for a one-time forgiveness of said fines, fees and penalties,” reads the councilwoman’s proposed amendment to the Philadelphia Code‘s section on parking violations. Read more »

Study: Center City Lost 7 Percent of Off-Street Public Parking

Center City parking facilities by capacity and type, via the Philadelphia City Planning Commission's 2015 Center City Parking Inventory study.

Center City parking facilities by capacity and type, via the Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s 2015 Center City Parking Inventory study.

The Center City construction boom has converted a bunch of parking lots into apartments and offices, resulting in a 7 percent drop in the total inventory of public off-street parking spaces in Center City from 2010 to 2015, according to the Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s 2015 Center City Parking Inventory (PDF).

New developments on 16 former surface parking lots or garages since 2010 removed 2,426 spaces from the supply of parking spaces available to the public, while only 763 spaces were added in two new projects, thus producing a net loss of 1,663 spaces. Five projects currently under construction will offer some public parking as well.

But as the number of spaces has dropped, so too has the number of cars parking in them. The 73.9 percent occupancy rate for public parking spaces represents a decline of 1.7 percentage points since 2010 and 3.8 percentage points since the peak survey year of 2005.

One reason for the fall-off in utilization: It keeps getting more expensive to park short-term off-street while on-street metered spaces remain bargains. Read more »

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