Councilman Domb: Maybe It’s Time to Ban On-Street Parking in Center City

The move could free up traffic flow, he says — but it’s a gutsy proposition in a city that’s notably aggressive about saving parking spots.


Photo by Jared Piper/PHL Council

Anyone who navigates Philadelphia’s streets (whether by foot, bike, bus or car) knows they’re extremely clogged. Traffic seems like more of an issue than ever, especially with the rise of delivery trucks and ride-sharing vehicles like Uber and Lyft, which frequently double-park.

WHYY reports that at a hearing on SEPTA’s budget on Wednesday, City Councilman Allen Domb proposed a gutsy fix: banning on-street parking in Center City.

Before you hoot and holler, hear him out: Domb said cutting on-street parking could “dramatically free up traffic flow” in Center City, according to WHYY, as the move would hypothetically allow for more street space by prompting cars to use parking lots. Domb reportedly asked for a study that shows whether the move could also generate revenue, seeing as the city taxes privately owned parking lots at 22.5 percent.

The councilman reportedly directed the inquiry at Mike Carroll, director of the city’s Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems, who said he would look into it.

Overall, it’s a bold proposition in a city that’s notably aggressive about saving parking spots. Plus, approving the move would require a slew of considerations: how would it shift the role of the Philadelphia Parking Authority? Would the PPA even support the move? How would it affect the prices of parking garages? (The average cost to park for one hour in a Center City garage rose 23 percent between 2010 in 2015, to $13.39, according to a 2016 study.)

Center City District president Paul Levy told WHYY he was hesitant, saying that while the suggestion “might make sense … we should avoid doing things in a piecemeal or impulsive fashion.”

For more information on Domb’s suggestion, visit WHYY.