Friday, May 16, 2014

Broad Street Median Parking

I live on a small residential street near Chinatown, an odd court cornered by a main house that shares a garage. Recently after arriving home from a flea market with a large dresser tethered into the back of my busted Beetle, I pulled on the sidewalk to unload, in front of the garage addressed to my house, turned on my blinkers, and quickly ushered the piece behind the gate on my court.

I know how ruthless the PPA can be on my street. Most of them are polite though. I've lived here for five years and they know me and my car. They smile.

This wasn't one of those days. Within the >3 minutes I was out of sight, a meter maid had ticketed my car and vanished. Legally it's understandable. I was illegally parked. But my hazard lights, open trunk, and open gate indicated that I was clearly loading, on a street with no proper loading zone. Still, it was technically illegal.

But there are other parts of the city where cars park illegally, and the illegality is not so technical. It's unnerving to receive a ticket when I was clearly loading on a small residential street for less than five minutes, then drive down the city's most prominent boulevard to find cars, many not even registered with the Philadelphia Parking Authority or even the state, parked along the Broad Street median, or even atop the concrete median on Oregon Avenue, all without a ticket.


Apparently the problem with the illegally parked cars along Broad Street and Oregon Avenue isn't as simple as the PPA letting the cars slide. Like most nonsense in the city it comes down to various agencies claiming it's someone else job. The PPA is responsible for cars parked at corner, in front of stop signs, or overstaying their limit in loading zones. Parking atop a median isn't a parking violation, it's a traffic violation, which defaults to the responsibility of the Philadelphia Police Department.

Five years ago a South Philadelphia Division Police Inspector told the South Philadelphia Review that the Broad Street median parking tradition was "done." Five years later those cars remain. As it is today, cars are occasionally ticketed but only at the discretion, or availability, of a police officer with nothing better to do.

But the ultimate problem has nothing to do with the PPA's inability to ticket cars in the middle of the street or the Police Department's reluctance to do so. It's in the minds of those who reserve their parking spaces with lawn chairs as they drive a block to the 7-11, those who won't park in a space that can't be seen from their front window, and those whose relatives visit their 20 foot wide row house and somehow expect a space near the door.

It's the definition of unreasonable.

In the best of cases, these people think it's a headache to park a block away. In the worst, they'll tell you that saving spots with pieces of furniture is a "Philadelphia tradition." But not only is doing so an illegal tradition, it's unfair to the other forty people who live on the same block, fairly hunting for the same space.

Truly eliminating the illegal median parking along South Broad Street would likely exasperate the alleged woes of those who expect curbside parking, but it would also introduce them to the reality of having a car in one of America's densest cities. South Philadelphia and other neighborhoods where our unusual parking traditions abound pose equally unusual obstacles, which have likely led to the PPA and the Police Department - along with midcentury malaise - to overlook the violations.

South Philadelphia is one of the city's densest neighborhoods, but it's also one of our flattest. Unlike similar neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. or New York where occasional apartment buildings and parking garages offer street parking a bit of retrieve, South Philadelphia is almost exclusively single family row homes.

It's not a problem without a solution, but the solution is not one brought to us by architects and developers. It's a solution that involves an evolving mentality and abandoning unjust traditions. Forcing the hundreds of cars illegally parked along Broad Street and Oregon Avenue into their neighborhoods will force neighbors to accept the fact that parking a few blocks from their house isn't that bad.

But how do you force the city to finally address this antiquated ignorance? Next time you receive a parking ticket, suffer the indignity of traffic court with a photograph of South Broad Street's median lined with hundreds of unfined traffic violations. The PPA will likely tell you that ticketing those cars is not their job, but they might also drop or reduce your own fine. Once this happens more than a few times, the city's Police Department will find themselves pressured to finally resolve the issue.

2 comments:

  1. Guest parking

    Free Parking Software for Town Houses, Condominiums, and Businesses Solves Parking Problems
    Searching for a parking space is such as frustrating routine activity for lots of people in cities all over the world. This search is burning over a million barrels of oil of the world each day. There are also 4-parking spaces every vehicle in the US and almost all streets are most of the time, empty, which leads to urban environments that are ironically doing far more to accommodate the vehicles than people. As the global population continuously urbanize, without a convenience-driven and well-planned retreat from cars, these sort of parking problems will worsen.
    http://webparkingsoftware.com software is the first step in the right decision. It involves using low-cost sensors, mobile phone-enabled, and real time data collection automated payment systems enabling people to reserve parking in advance or predict accurately where they can find a spot. When deployed as a system, free parking software thereby reduces car emissions in the urban centers by means of reducing the necessity for the people to circle the city blocks needlessly searching for parking. Furthermore, it permits the cities to manage their parking supply carefully.
    This free parking software is now being developed in many different states and cities around the United States and some other countries. For instance, in LA, smart meters and low-power sensors are tracking the occupancy of parking spaces across the Hollywood district, one of the most congested areas. The users will be able to access this occupancy data in order to determine the availability of the spots and then pay for them with their mobile phones. Other than the environmental benefits and lending convenience, free parking software is improving the utilization of the current parking, which lead to greater revenue for parking owners.
    These programs will be able to make great differences on a neighborhood level, but more widespread development and deployment is necessary for free parking software to change the cities and to contribute to the transportation sector pollution reductions greenhouse gas. One problem is that there are no citywide solutions all over the fragmented private and public parking providers. The occupancy data has a tendency to have many owners and is not accessible or standardized in a way that may enable software developers to turn into user-friendly applications. Thereby, individual smart parking efforts are so far successful locally, but uncoordinated, and operates in their own entrepreneurial or bureaucratic vacuums without a need to take gap between current free parking software and more widespread transportation system planning is an enormous missed opportunity for the cities to reduce the transportation related emissions.
    Moreover, free parking software has been hindered by a lack of insight into the complete benefits of this software, specifically when compared to the cost of building extra parking spaces. Lack of collaboration between communities with the parking software programs, as well as lack of coordination between hardware providers, municipalities, and developers is also contributing to the slower adoption of smart parking. Nevertheless, it is possible to overcome all these issues. Cities will be able further accelerate these advantages by means of updating the land use and building codes policies to reflect the reduced need for parking.

    ReplyDelete
  2. email blast to tenants
    Free Parking Software for Town Houses, Condominiums, and Businesses Solves Parking Problems
    Searching for a parking space is such as frustrating routine activity for lots of people in cities all over the world. This search is burning over a million barrels of oil of the world each day. There are also 4-parking spaces every vehicle in the US and almost all streets are most of the time, empty, which leads to urban environments that are ironically doing far more to accommodate the vehicles than people. As the global population continuously urbanize, without a convenience-driven and well-planned retreat from cars, these sort of parking problems will worsen.
    http://webparkingsoftware.com software is the first step in the right decision. It involves using low-cost sensors, mobile phone-enabled, and real time data collection automated payment systems enabling people to reserve parking in advance or predict accurately where they can find a spot. When deployed as a system, free parking software thereby reduces car emissions in the urban centers by means of reducing the necessity for the people to circle the city blocks needlessly searching for parking. Furthermore, it permits the cities to manage their parking supply carefully.
    This free parking software is now being developed in many different states and cities around the United States and some other countries. For instance, in LA, smart meters and low-power sensors are tracking the occupancy of parking spaces across the Hollywood district, one of the most congested areas. The users will be able to access this occupancy data in order to determine the availability of the spots and then pay for them with their mobile phones. Other than the environmental benefits and lending convenience, free parking software is improving the utilization of the current parking, which lead to greater revenue for parking owners.
    These programs will be able to make great differences on a neighborhood level, but more widespread development and deployment is necessary for free parking software to change the cities and to contribute to the transportation sector pollution reductions greenhouse gas. One problem is that there are no citywide solutions all over the fragmented private and public parking providers. The occupancy data has a tendency to have many owners and is not accessible or standardized in a way that may enable software developers to turn into user-friendly applications. Thereby, individual smart parking efforts are so far successful locally, but uncoordinated, and operates in their own entrepreneurial or bureaucratic vacuums without a need to take gap between current free parking software and more widespread transportation system planning is an enormous missed opportunity for the cities to reduce the transportation related emissions.
    Moreover, free parking software has been hindered by a lack of insight into the complete benefits of this software, specifically when compared to the cost of building extra parking spaces. Lack of collaboration between communities with the parking software programs, as well as lack of coordination between hardware providers, municipalities, and developers is also contributing to the slower adoption of smart parking. Nevertheless, it is possible to overcome all these issues. Cities will be able further accelerate these advantages by means of updating the land use and building codes policies to reflect the reduced need for parking.

    ReplyDelete