At a news conference after convention's end last week, Mayor Jim Kelley personally addressed the kerfuffle.
"I know it's an anomaly for many of us to see that," he said, but acknowledged that "it's been that way" for many years, long before he was born.
It may indeed be a birthright. Dan McQuade, a reporter for Philadelphia magazine, noted in an article last year that a 1916 court case mentioned "several automobiles" parked in the center of Broad Street. McQuade also referenced an interview with journalist and historian Murray Dubin, who postulated the practice originated with mourners at nearby funeral homes who needed to park.
"It's definitely unsafe. It's unsafe for pedestrians, it's unsafe for drivers. A lot of people don't like it because they think it's embarrassing to Philly," McQuade told The Associated Press in an interview. "But anytime someone suggests taking away something, people freak out because they're worried they're going to have to circle for hours for a space."