Ranking Philly’s 5 Mortal Parking Sins

#Savesies are bad. #Movesies are worse. But don't even think about trying to auction your spot.


Even with the strange new lens through which Philadelphians now view City Hall and parking, what happened over at the intersection of Broad and Market earlier this month was truly strange. After unified public outcry over apps that allow users to auction off their public parking spots, City Council responded, advancing a bill that would make it illegal to sell or reserve these spots.

In any other city, I assume that this is how things are supposed to go: Citizens see a problem, the government responds, changes are made.

But this is Philly, where pay-to-play is a time-honored tradition, and where our unique brand of parking rage and bureaucracy has earned us a reality TV show.

How did we come together over, of all things, parking? It seems that Monkey Parking and Haystack — two of the apps in question — are at the pinnacle of injustice, so clearly corrupt and backwards that even Philadelphia can’t embrace them.

With snow on the horizon and holiday shopping season in full, frenzied swing, here’s a reminder of Philly’s parking faux pas, from minor infractions to unforgivable transgressions (all of which are risky maneuvers in a city that routinely lands on Santa’s shit-list).

Level 1: The Lawn Chair Reservation

Technically, our preferred method of claiming a spot during a snowstorm is against the rules, as the city’s cutesy #nosavesies campaign will remind you. But in practice, everyone knows this isn’t true. Like religion and politics, savesies is one of those controversial topics you don’t bring up around people you want (or have) to continue a polite relationship with. In the interest of keeping the peace, let’s move on and agree that this is a case-by-case situation.

Level 2: Moving the Lawn Chair

While putting out the chair (or, my favorite, cones stolen from the city) is somewhat tolerated, moving the chair takes you to another level. Even among us savesies deniers — it’s true, but please don’t tell my family so close to the holidays — the chair-movers are an extremist faction, a splinter group that doesn’t represent our peaceful ways. #Nosavesies, yes — but even more so, #nomovesies.

Level 3: The Two-Spot Park Job

Most days, I am a nice lady who drives a Volvo and writes fluffy little things on the Internet while avoiding any and all confrontation (earmuffs are on, commenters). Unless you take up two — or, somehow worse, one-and-a-quarter — of the parking spaces on Catharine. In which case, I will release my inner Northeast girl all over Queen Village, cursing you, your family and your suddenly awful “Coexist” bumper sticker. You people are why I drink.

Level 4: Physically Assaulting a Fellow Parker

Most of us can agree that biting, shooting or otherwise physically assaulting someone over a parking space is reprehensible. And yet, it happens — and you can see how, if you read any comments on a parking post (which you really should before you move that chair). We don’t condone it, but we stop short of the whole “not doing it” thing.

Level 5: Parking Auction Apps

Ultimately, this is where we draw the line. There are many inconveniences you can avoid with money and technology — but in Philadelphia, public parking is not one of them. Say what you will about this city and its inequalities, but at least one thing has been made clear: We are all circling this godforsaken block together.

Follow Monica Weymouth on Twitter.