Thursday, July 28, 2016


One of our cute little traditions in Philadelphia is that the median of the major North/South artery in South Philly is unofficially a free parking zone. It's illegal to park there, officially, but it's, you know, "tradition." It's also ugly, dangerous, and largely just serves as a fre long term parking storage facility for multi-car households who have extra cars that are rarely used. Snow provides good evidence of how often people actually need those cars. If a car is still sitting there with snow on it 2 weeks after a storm, it probably isn't used very often.

The number of usable parking spaces this illegal parking adds for commuters is pretty small. Still, South Philly is a special place where finding parking is more difficult than anywhere else in the city (it isn't). Did I mention that one of our two subway lines runs down this route and it probably has the best bus coverage in the city?

To the extent that parking is a problem (it can be anywhere), the simple solution is to implement permit parking for residents. Hey, I live in South Philly, though not quite deep enough to be in the free median parking zone. As soon as permit parking came to my block, no more parking problems. Generally, any kind of parking enforcement is not tolerated.

This is just a preamble to thanking the Gods of the internet for giving me so much fun yesterday, reading an online discussion about a proposal to make the temporary enforcement of the median parking ban, instituted for the DNC, permanent. We all have hobbies. You'll take away peoples' babies before you'll take away their illegal parking. It's good fun.

I am sympathetic to parking issues, believe it or not. I'm not very sympathetic to people who think it's a problem if they have to park 2 blocks away from the house sometimes. People write things like, "how would you like it if I parked in front of your house???" Which, you know, is normal everywhere else in the city, suggesting that parking in South Philly is not actually a bigger problem than elsewhere. They aren't private spots, they're public, and the free long term storage opportunities provided on S. Broad St. don't really help that situation anyway.

At least they amuse and confuse visitors to the city.

...adding, yes there are people with mobility problems for whom two blocks is a problem. I'm not talking about those people. Solutions which help them are completely unrelated to providing free illegal parking to everybody else.