We all know that parking in the middle of South Broad Street is a thing, but when did people start doing that?
After this illegal median parking was shown in the b-roll of the Eagles game earlier this week on ESPN, Dan McQuade wrote an article on some of the history of this median parking. It turns out that cars have been parking illegally in the middle of Broad Street as far back as 100 years ago.
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And check this out: A case heard before the Pennsylvania Superior Court in 1916 contains this finding of fact about an car crash the year before: “They waited on the west side of Broad street until that portion of the street was clear of traffic and reached the center line of Broad street where several automobiles were parked.” Yes, cars were parking in the middle of Broad Street literally 100 years ago. The entire country had about 8,000 cars at the turn of the century. The Model T was introduced in 1908 and began assembly-line production in 1913. And cars were already parking in the middle of Broad Street. Former Inquirer journalist Murray Dubin surmised it began with funeral homes in the early 20th century; mourners needed a place to park, and chose the center median.
An issue of Automobile Trade News from 1917 said the city began enforcing parking regulations for the middle of Broad Street on August 8th of that year, but only between Race and Spruce. “Below Spruce on Broad, just out of the way of the hotels and theatres, motor cars were allowed to park for virtually an unlimited time,” the trade journal wrote.
Read more of the history here.