Starting this month, the PPA has begun cracking down on illegally parked scooters. (I.E. Vespas. Not to be confused with Mopeds. They are different things, OK? Geez.) There are a select few places where you can park your scooter–at half the rate of normal parking–in Center City.
First, he went after the vampire squirrels in LOVE Park. Then, it was the fist-pumping bros of Drexel. Now, Phillly street artist Kid Hazo has set his satirical sites squarely on the PPA with the largest parking ticket ever:
Starting out Sunday morning, when most hip city dwellers were still staking out tables at cafes, Hazo parked his car (legally), disguised himself in sunglasses and a cap, and walked quickly toward South Street, carrying a big, black plastic garbage bag.
Inside was an enormous mock parking ticket with an exact replica of the dreaded “VIOLATION” along one end. The upper right corner read, “Place Giant Stamp Here Absurdly Large Postage Required Post Office will most likely not deliver this.” The address: KID HAZO Street Art Division PO BOX 092013.
His mission? Slip it under the wipers of a parking authority traffic enforcement car.
Slip it he did, right onto the windshield of PPA officer T. Free’s patrol car at Sixth and South. Then, of course, Kid Hazo ran like hell. The guy, after all, is in his 30s with a full-time job—not exactly your average graffiti artist.
But, then, the PPA isn’t your average scoundrel. Hopefully, the message was big enough this time. [Philly.com]
We’ve all seen it: PPA sedans making their own parking spots, vans stationed in front of fire hydrants, handicapped spots occupied by regrettably un-handicapped PPA officials—the list goes on. One twitter user, though, is doing something about it and suffering the consequences.
— PPAwatch (@PPAwatch) September 9, 2013
For those of you who don’t know, @PPAwatch posts driver-submitted photos of PPA vehicles breaking their own strictly enforced rules, serving as the ultimate example of the organization’s “do as I say, not as I do” attitude. Naturally, the account’s founder, who remains anonymous, got the PPA’s attention.
Which is why over the weekend the increasingly popular @PPAwatch account was suspended—ostensibly for using the PPA’s new trademarked logo, causing confusing for people wanting to contact the real outfit. Riiiiiiiight.
Yesterday, though, @PPAwatch removed the official PPA logo and had their account restored. Today, they’re up to almost 900 followers and counting, dishing out PPA-themed justice to wrongdoers on the organization’s inside.
So remember the next time you’re out: if you see something, tweet something. The PPA can’t get away with it forever. [NBC]
If you ponied up for street parking over the weekend, you may have noticed something besides the usual hatred every good Philadelphian feels when dealing with anything related to our city’s parking enforcement: a new logo for the Philadelphia Parking Authority. The first image update for the agency in decades, the PPA’s new look is a sleek update on the chunky ’80s logo, and it only ran the parking cops a cool $5,000 and nine months of lead-time thanks to JLT Design’s Jenna Teodoro. Some 18 designs later, we have the current logo: lowercase red and blue letters atop of a stylized skyline shot.
Expect to see the new logo somewhere in Philly over the next few months as the PPA ramps up its implementation. As for when to expect the promised change in the “customer service approach” the PPA has promised? Don’t hold your breath. [NBC]
Sidecar, the “car-sharing” service that paired taxi-hating customers with rando drivers, has ceased to operate in Philadelphia. Since February, when the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) shut it down after an actual sting operation, it’s been locked in a battle with the city, which claims SideCar vehicles are essentially an illegal, unregulated, uninspected taxi service. After a few months of wrangling, SideCar has now pulled out of its first-ever East Coast location.
So, what’s the narrative here? Rogue start-up trying to cut costs, blow through red tape, and flout the law? Or innovation-stifling bureaucrats loathe to upset the established order? Either way, the “sharing economy” that has given us Airbnb and Zipcar isn’t quite ready to revolutionize Philly. [Newsworks]
Last week’s CBS3 headline read: “PPA Plans To Keep Old School Meters In Most Philadelphia Neighborhoods.” The good news? That means most neighborhoods won’t have to master those inscrutable kiosks that reject fully 50 percent of the dollar bills you own. The bad news? The words “old school” are a bit of an understatement.
Over at Yanko Design, where builders and inventors launch prototypes and get feedback, DCA Design International has developed this parking meter, which looks phenomenal. As Yanko’s Radhika Seth put it, “We need this parking meter NOW!” I would argue Seth hasn’t seen parking meter need until he’s been to Philly.
This meter, called ParkD, has a lot of the same features the Philadelphia kiosks do, only made better, and with smartphone sync. And the aesthetics, well, they speak for themselves.
This is a pretty straightforward video about the benefits of red light cameras in Philly, put out today by the Philadelphia Parking Authority. Mostly, though, it’s awesome for the epic music at the beginning, which signals that the city is preparing for an invasion. “They can take our license plates! But they can’t have our red light cameraaaaaaas!” Or something.
PPA adds: “The first cameras were installed at Grant Avenue, Red Lion Road and Cottman Avenue along Roosevelt Boulevard. Since the program’s inception, cameras have also been installed at 34th Street and Grays Ferry Avenue, Broad Street and Oregon Avenue, Broad Street and Hunting Park Avenue, 58th and Walnut Streets, Broad and Vine Streets, Broad Street and South Penn Square, Broad Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard around City Hall, Henry Avenue and Walnut Lane, Rising Sun and Adams Avenues, Aramingo Avenue and York Street, Aramingo and Castor Avenues, and Lindbergh Boulevard and Island Avenue. There are also cameras at Welsh, Southampton, Mascher, Levick, Rhawn and 9th Streets along Roosevelt Boulevard. The most recent red light camera intersections are located at Academy Road and Grant Avenue, Woodhaven and Knights Roads, and Bustleton Avenue and Byberry Road. Philadelphia’s Red Light Camera Program was recently extended until 2017.”
For an update to this story, scroll to the bottom.
On Monday, we broke the news that the Philadelphia Parking Authority shut down new “ride-sharing” service SideCar over the weekend in a sting operation, with PPA spokesperson Marty O’Rourke telling us that the San Francisco-based company was operating here “illegally.”
Nonsense, claimed SideCar CEO Sunil Paul, who said in response that Philadelphia’s “defenders of the status quo aren’t quite on board yet” with his “progressive” service, which landed $10 million in venture capital last year, including a wad of Google Ventures cash.
SideCar said that the company wouldn’t cave to the PPA and that it was still operational here, although with service only available on weekends during its introductory period in Philadelphia, it would be five days before we could find out if their threats of defiance were real or just chest-thumping.
Well, here it is Friday, and we have our answer. Sort of.
This morning, a SideCar attorney met with the PPA, which has jurisdiction over all cabs and limos, to plead the company’s case. The result, says two PPA sources: SideCar intends to operate in Philadelphia this weekend without collecting fares or, as the company puts it, “suggested donations.” According to PPA spokesperson O’Rourke, “They’ve agreed to remove any requirement to use a credit card or charge for any form of compensation. And they’ve agreed to promote their service as a free service on their website.”
Of course, you can tip the drivers, right? Nope, says O’Rourke. “A tip is something that you give for a service,” he explains. “We consider a tip a fare. And we’ll be monitoring the situation tonight to make sure SideCar is in compliance with the law, and if they are not, cars will be impounded.”
A SideCar spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for information, although CEO Paul has started a Change.org petition demanding that the PPA support “ride-sharing” here.
So do you want a free SideCar ride in Philadelphia this weekend? Download the SideCar app here. And remember, no tipping!
Update 3/1/2013 8:15 p.m.: After an early dinner, I just took a SideCar from Center City to Overbrook, which normally costs about $20 in a cab, plus tip. The SideCar showed up within 5 minutes of my request, and there was no fare or “suggested donation”. The app actually explained that this was a “free ride.” My friendly driver explained that he was being paid $15-per-hour by SideCar and added, “The PPA just wants to get paid.” So enjoy the free rides while you can.
CBS Philly reports that the Philadelphia Parking Authority is expecting to collect $4 million less in revenue this year. “PPA executive director Vince Fennerty says fewer drivers are breaking the parking rules, resulting in fewer tickets. And he says the new parking kiosks in Center City and University City have made it easier to comply, since you can pay by credit card or dollar bills. “Over the last several years there has been more compliance with parking regulations in Philadelphia.” More people are paying at kiosks. More people are parking legally, not parking at hydrants, or double parking and parking at no-stopping zones. So, naturally more compliance means less tickets.” That revenue decline is steep: the Authority predicts a payment to the city next year of $43.6 million dollars, compared to $47.4 million expected in the current year.”