Philly Traditions than Need to Be Parked
Philadelphia is a city of traditions. Some, such as Mummers Day Parade, “God Bless America” during Flyers games, and the Christmas lights show at Macy’s/John Wannamaker’s, are terrific. Some others, such as the sometimes-deserved boorish reputation of Philly sports fans, are not so much.
But you know what’s a Philly tradition that needs to go? Quirky parking tendencies. Oh, there are so many. Whether it’s the Philadelphia Parking Authority deliberately declining to enforce certain laws or the general populace knowing that laws will not be enforced, there are things that are relatively unique to Philly, and not in a good way either. In no particular order, here are Philadelphia “traditions” that have no place if we are to be the “Next Great City:”
- Median parking on Broad Street and South Philadelphia – For years, when people have visited the city, the two most questions I get are “Where can we get cheesesteaks?” and “What’s up with cars parking in the middle of the road?” For the former, we usually end up with a trip to Jim’s Steaks, but for the latter, I often don’t have a good answer. People have been parking in the middle of the road in the median, on Broad Street as well as other streets near the Sports Complex, for as long as I can recall. Since there are no parking meters, people can park there indefinitely. True, I have not found there are signs prohibiting it, but I thought it was just common sense not to do so. Aesthetically, it doesn’t exactly look good to have a bunch cars in the middle of the road. More importantly, as far as safety, cars parked on the median block the way for turns or emergency vehicles.
- Airport roadside parking – To many Philadelphians, airport parking to pick up arriving passengers mean short term parking, where you can park your car to meet them at the security checkpoint. Instead, it means, right or wrong, parking on the roadside on the airport exit off the I-95 highway. Somehow, someone years ago decided that the roadside ramp was a perfect place to park your car, put your hazards on and pretend you’re waiting for AAA assistance. Chances are, if you did park there, you would be far from alone, as many others would also park there instead of dropping a couple of bucks for short term parking or even finding the Park & Ride lot. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has been trying to dissuade the practice since last year, placing signs regarding the illegal behavior and offering the actual legal lot as the proper alternative. One of the problems, of course, is that the proper, legal parking lot, is not immediately known or accessible. So perhaps there needs to be better signs or directions to it.
- Sunday parking rules – You may be parked somewhere in Center City or Old City on a weeknight, have your parking stub be expired for less than three minutes, come back to the car and discover a ticket. Yet, you may park your car in a street lane in Center City on a two lane street with “No Parking” signs on a Sunday and still be fine. There are unwritten rules that Philadelphia Parking Authority will turn a blind eye to those who try to park close to a church. The usual prerequisite is that you need to have a church circular note saying you’re at a church service on your dashboard. The major problem is that there seems to be no rhyme or reason where “Sunday parking” is or is not enforced. There’ s church a 15th and Lombard Street, and you will usually see cars on Lombard Street on that block. But you walk one or two blocks over and you will also see cars parked on a street lane at 17th and Lombard Street right by the “No Parking anytime sign (like this picture) or even 17th and Pine Street . Continue to walk down Lombard to between 17th and 18th Street, and no cars will be parked. Where’s the official press release or chart on where the laws are or are not enforced?
There are some other parking oddities for certain, but the point is that both PPA and citizens needs to respect and enforce these parking laws.