Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Days Numbered for City Hall Parking

Ever since Dilworth Plaza was reborn as the wet and wild Dilworth Park, the north side of City Hall has looked worse than ever. Walking towards North Broad Street through or around City Hall, you might be wondering where the Walmart is. That's because every day of the week there are anywhere from a few to a lot of personal vehicles treating the north apron like a suburban parking prairie. 


It's ugly. PhillyMag.com called it crap.

Ramping up for a visit from the Pope and the upcoming Democratic National Convention, the city is finally recognizing the lingering blight throughout Center City that might be caught in the backdrop of an international news broadcast. But we're not just hosting the Vatican and a bunch of politicians, we're also prepping for millions of visitors who will be taking billions of pictures and posting them to Instagram.

Well, the north apron of City Hall is about to get a makeover that will help it blend into Dilworth Park a little bit better. While permanent bollards will put the kibosh on the abundance of civilian parking, eradicating parking in and of itself isn't that exciting. What's more noteworthy, particular for our upcoming tourists will be more greenery and the fact that City Hall will be keeping its mature trees. Finally, someone in Philadelphia recognize the value of a living tree!

The changes obviously won't be as dramatically transformative as Dilworth Park, but not everything needs to be in order to be just as significant. 

However there are some questions that remain to be answered. 

For one, what will happen to the parking that has been allowed to run rampant over the last few years? Will it be condensed to the Northeast corner of City Hall or will City Hall simply tell its employees to walk from the dozens of parking lots and garages a few short blocks away? And two, will City Hall use this redesign as a misguided opportunity to formally accommodate permanent parking spaces on the apron?

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