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Petition started to make car-free Broad Street median permanent

When we shared the news of the median parking ban on South Broad Street for the duration of the Democratic National Convention, many of our readers spoke out in the comment section in favor of a permanent ban on this middle-of-the-road parking.


A petition has now been started to try to make this enforcement last longer than just this week.

The 5th Square petition is calling for the Kenney administration to make this change for the sake of safety. They also note that “the street already looks and feels better.”

No more blocked turning lanes; no more drivers and passengers suddenly exiting vehicles in the center of the street; no more pedestrians suddenly popping out from between parked vehicles; no more dangerous traffic conflicts as drivers in the left-hand lane try to parallel park in the median.

While Mayor Kenney has acknowledged that this parking situation is “not a good thing,” he also previously told he was “not going after center strip parking,” mostly based on the longevity of this issue. Philly Mag’s Dan McQuade wrote a history of this parking practice last year, noting that even 100 years ago, cars were illegally parking on Broad.

Interested in weighing in on the issue? You can find the petition here.


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47 Responses to Petition started to make car-free Broad Street median permanent

  1. Ben July 27, 2016 at 9:44 am #

    I was firmly in the ‘indifferent’ camp until seeing South Broad this week. Safer for pedestrians, bikes, and it just plain looks better!

    • Sean Ohearn July 27, 2016 at 10:36 am #

      I agree it looks better and i’m ok with making it a permanent thing…. IF there is something done for the immediate neighbors who rely on that extra parking space. i.e. increased back in angle parking. getting rid of the few driveways that exist in Lower moyomensing, newbold, Girard Estates and east passyunk.

    • Bob July 27, 2016 at 10:47 am #

      Sure, the whole city would look better if we removed cars, but it’s not practical. All our cars have to go somewhere.

      • Ben July 27, 2016 at 11:39 am #

        As has been noted in the petition, this makes very little impact to the number of parking spaces available nearby – some quick estimating using Google Maps satellite view is that total number of parking spots from 13th to 15th Washington to Oregon will see a single digit percent decrease by doing this.

        Could take care of most of the difference by adding blocks with permit parking on them and actually increasing the fees for permit parking, especially for houses with more than 2-3 cars.

        • Parker July 27, 2016 at 11:49 am #

          Permit parking fees were raised about two years ago and are now on a sliding scale based on how many cars per household…

          1st vehicle in household – $35 annually
          2nd vehicle in same household – $50 annually
          3rd vehicle in same household – $75 annually
          4 or more vehicles in same household – $100.00 each annually

          • Ben July 28, 2016 at 8:58 am #

            I understand that, but honestly, they should increase the first vehicle to a minimum of $100 (at least in/around Center City) and double it for each subsequent vehicle. As an example, a non-reserved monthly space at the Constituion Health Center garage goes for $1800/year, or over 50 times the current on-street permit rate. If the city (and the residents) wants to reduce the number of cars parked on the street, they can start by charging a more realistic rate that reflects what people would be willing to pay.

            • shan July 28, 2016 at 10:13 am #

              are you crazy to park in south Philadelphia yeah ok

            • Alex July 29, 2016 at 9:00 am #

              This is the logical solution to the problem. Incentivize downsizing your personal motorcade and start accepting the fact that you live in a growing city and now share a small plot of land with a lot of people. don’t like it? move to the burbs and keep the cars on the lawn.

        • Bruce July 27, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

          Yes! More permitted parking west of Broad would be a good thing.

    • Ann2323 July 27, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

      Please prove that it is safer. If you can do that with actual facts I would be open to changing my opinion, until then I will fight to have it remain.

  2. Oldsoithphilly July 27, 2016 at 10:11 am #

    Ben I agree with you. I didn’t care either way but it certainly does look much better.

  3. Dana July 27, 2016 at 11:07 am #

    Enact permit parking in these neighborhoods, and ban commercial vehicles from parking in residential areas overnight. There is also a problem with auto repair shops and car dealerships parking cars on residential streets for weeks/months at a time. One easy solution would be to ticket and tow all cars that do not have current registration and inspections. It would be nice if the city offered some kind of incentive for people to get rid of their vehicles, like discounted SEPTA passes, a tax deduction, or subsidized car share memberships.

  4. AL July 27, 2016 at 11:37 am #

    I’d be interested to know the stats on how much the median parking actually contributes to collisions and injuries. It’s Philadelphia, so people will always be darting across Broad Street, regardless of the medians.

    While it is an eyesore, for people who have no parking permits (visitors, caregivers, temporary residents and students), this really provides relief. It also keeps them off of side streets where a lot of neighbors feel territorial and entitled to “their” spots.

    I think the people who want to get rid of it will probably complain when their “secure” spots are getting snagged by former median parkers. It’s like the neighbors who wanted to make sure motorcyclists couldn’t park on the sidewalks in front of their own houses, then got upset when motorcycles ended up in normal spaces. You can’t have it both ways and I think a lot of neighbors don’t look that far ahead before they start petitions like this one.

    • Ben July 27, 2016 at 11:40 am #

      Were people actually complaining about motorcycles parked next to the stairs at a rowhome, not actually blocking any ‘pathway’? It seemed like it was just from the PPA trying to make a revenue grab.

    • SoCrisp July 27, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

      Are there really “temporary” people parking in the median? I lived in South Philly for 4 years and never felt even remotely comfortable parking in such a hazard-ridden area. Definitely smells like more of an old-timers problem. I’m also in the camp that anyone who owns a car in the city and complains about people taking “their” spot really need to either get over themselves or move to the burbs.

      • Ann2323 July 27, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

        Just because you are not comfortable with it doesn’t mean the rest of us aren’t. Of all the serious problems in this city, I find it ridiculous that this is what people find pressing enough to start a petition over.

        • shan July 28, 2016 at 10:14 am #

          right these people are crazy

      • JB July 27, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

        SoCrisp, you’re absolutely right. Median parking on South Broad is more like long-term storage for multi-car locals than anything else. It’s like when we get a blizzard, and “that one car” on your block is still covered with snow, three weeks later. If you can go more than seven days without driving somewhere, you can reconsider your need for a car.

        • spf5000 July 28, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

          The Broad Street median is free parking for commuters that finish their commute on the subway. Commuters should not be parking for free all day long.

          • AL July 29, 2016 at 9:50 am #

            Well, the reason that happened was because commuters were parking on side streets and then local residents couldn’t find parking. The neighbors got together and determined that the streets should require parking permits, which pushed the commuters out further.

            I’d also venture to say that some of the commuters are probably just locals who don’t have access to reliable Septa options. This brings us back to “if more people used Septa, Septa would be better, but nobody uses Septa, because Septa isn’t good, but if more people used Septa…”. Presumably, those commuters do pay city wage tax, so they aren’t necessarily parking for “free”.

            I want to whine about how I have no car, I take Septa, I have no children and I have private insurance, but I live and work in the city so I still have to pay all the same taxes as everyone else! Life is hard. (This is the appropriate place to whine about things being unfair, right? Because I keep trying to find a “whine” zone, but nobody wants to listen.)

    • Val July 27, 2016 at 3:20 pm #

      You’re totally right. Those cars aren’t hurting anyone, and with the lack of parking for guests and visitors, it’s one of their few options. It’s one of the cool things about South Philly!

  5. Estiven July 27, 2016 at 11:48 am #

    Lane Restriping / Bike Lanes Please!

    • AL July 29, 2016 at 9:54 am #

      Co-sign on this. Do you think marked spots would work also? Sometimes I think that if the spots were delineated, people would understand how to park better. That might also limit oversized vehicles taking up large sections of blocks. I know cost makes it impractical, but I like to dream about it. A lot of smaller towns have marked spots on their main streets and it seems to help drivers understand how to space their vehicles when they park.

  6. Mark Singer July 27, 2016 at 1:57 pm #

    There’s no ‘problem’ here to fix… maybe someday when we fix all of the real issues we are up against, but not now. And why the hell would anyone want to give the PPA more authority over anything, they are the most criminal and inept organization we’ve had in this city for decades.

  7. Jefe July 27, 2016 at 3:23 pm #

    Yeah because there is so much room for extra cars on the side streets. Dream on.

  8. Lou_100x July 27, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

    All illegal parking needs to end. It’s ridiculous and indefensible.

  9. Ryan July 27, 2016 at 3:43 pm #

    Sounds like a bunch of tight ass white people shit to me. This is the Philadelphia I know I love. If you can’t ride your bike or park your car I’m this city, beat it. Lived here for a long time and it part of the place. Where the fuck do you expect the cars to go with already no where to park. Learn how to ride a bike and drive. An eyesore really!? I’m Philadelphia!! Have you seen the trash here you schmucks!! Go clean the trash then come talk to me about cars being an eyesore in THIS CITY. This is the place that l know and love and although I am for positive changes this sounds DUMB!

    • Sam August 1, 2016 at 9:10 am #

      Anecdotally speaking, my car has been much safer parking in the median than it has when parked on the side of Broad. I’ve had my car damaged multiple times when parked on the side of Broad and two break ins. Never had anything happen to my car when parked in the median. The lack of parking in South Philly is a huge problem. Public transit isn’t an option for me given where my employer is located. I’d be fine with permit parking fees increasing a little.

      As Ryan stated, people complaining about an eyesore are out of their minds or blind to the utter plague of litter that troubles our entire city. It’s an embarrassment. I travel a great deal around the country for work and Philly is, by far, one of the dirtiest cities for litter.

      Unless the city is going to open public lots for Broad Street residents, leave my median parking alone!

  10. Hoon July 27, 2016 at 5:58 pm #

    As a resident of LoMo I hate the idea. When it takes me 20 to 30 minutes to find a parking spot, everyone counts. The only benificiary of this would be the PPA.

    • Ian July 28, 2016 at 5:13 pm #

      The PPA doesn’t enforce here. It’s the PPD. Which is good because the money would actually go to the city. PPA money doesn’t.

  11. Angray July 27, 2016 at 9:23 pm #

    Do we have to sanitize everything as millennialis? Whatever progressive urbanist goals you think this will accomplish, you are barking up the wrong tree. Let some character and traditions be, and go after change that matters. I have lived here long enough to know this is not a safety issue. So if this is just some vocal people not wanting others to be able to do what they feel like they can’t, don’t rain on someone else’s parade. This is similar to the Mifflin Square “problem.” Don’t quash all the un-permitted, unregulated activity in Philadelphia just because it doesn’t fit into your idea of what should happen.

  12. Tiffany July 28, 2016 at 8:06 am #

    Isn’t it already illegal and just not enforced? And we all must know the reason it isn’t enforced is the high population of white people, and city employees, in South Philly. Put this situation at Broad and Olney and there would be tickets all over the place!

    • Lou_100x July 28, 2016 at 9:33 am #

      @ Tiffany: BINGO!!!!

    • shan July 28, 2016 at 10:15 am #

      really white people another thing to put race into in…..a parking spot hahha

  13. pauley s July 28, 2016 at 10:52 am #

    Seriously, can some of you people find a real cause to get behind!! How abut doing some physical work and grabbing a broom and sweeping the streets instead of typing and calling it a cause. This is such a non issue when you get to the bottom of it. The new comers are some of the most passive aggressive tools I have ever seen. It’s easy to sit behind a computer and bitch and complain and exert your will onto others!

    • rk July 28, 2016 at 5:44 pm #

      I’ve lived in the neighborhood for less than 2 years. I’ve cleaned up my street and the street around the corner multiple times while old-timers walked by me and just looked away.


  14. Andrew Marks July 28, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

    First Off, the fact people are using the point “it looks better” is plain stupid.

    When the PPA has forced all the residents in the area to burn money on parking and the limited parking spaces around the homes makes the center of Broad Street is very much needed as a parking solution.

    You bike owners need to learn how to ride. None of these excuses listed here are viable. Grow Up.

    • rk July 28, 2016 at 5:43 pm #

      burn money? it costs $35 for a permit. Forced to burn money? Parking is crazy underpriced.

      • Alex July 29, 2016 at 8:59 am #

        He likely has 4 cars, so, to be fair, he has to pay, what, $260/yr for parking permits? That’s some serious ‘scarole man!

        • AL July 29, 2016 at 9:59 am #

          I bet he’s the same type of guy who wanted to park his four horses and carriages in the center of Broad in 1889. Good sir, there are hitching posts for a reason!

          He probably let his horses take dumps right on the Ave without even cleaning it up! Let’s get a carriage cam to figure out who’s not cleaning up after their equines, then we can put them on blast in the Evening Bulletin. Can any of you do good pen and ink renderings of local ne’er-do-wells?

  15. Aaro July 29, 2016 at 6:29 pm #

    Let’s make a compromise, how about we enforce rules like no parking on left turn lanes, curb cuts, and obviously dangerous locations? Anyone who has ever driven down Oregon ave knows what I’m talking about. They still leave trash cans on the median til this day.

  16. Chuck August 2, 2016 at 12:31 am #

    What a dumb petition..If your an adult its not that hard to cross a busy street safely, Ive known how since I was 7 years old. Look up from your Pokemon game or slow down on your 1970s hippie bike and everything will be ok.

  17. Joyce August 2, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

    I think it would look better and would be safer. If there is a fire, the trucks don’t have enough room to maneuver. In New York, they have fire lanes. If a fire truck is responding to a call, it goes down the middle of the street.

  18. A Trane August 3, 2016 at 9:35 am #

    I love how some people are like “#ALLissuesmatter why not focus on the the real problems”. I think I might know where you stand on some other recent hot topics.

  19. Tico August 3, 2016 at 11:50 pm #

    Common sense will tell you if all those spaces are gonna be eliminated, many of those folks are gonna take up spaces in the surrounding blocks. Not all of those cars are commuters going into CC.The median is full of cars even in the evenings.

    • EmBee August 4, 2016 at 7:32 am #

      This morning I ran down Broad Street. Between Washington and Tasker I counted 13 cars with out of state tags parked in the median. When I got back to my block there were at least 5 cars without permits parked between the corner and my house. Lack of enforcement has only enabled and increased the problem.

  20. Stefi August 4, 2016 at 7:11 am #

    Here’s a solution.. volunteer to clean the streets once a week and earn a parking permit to park in the center of Broad. done.

    I think they should really be concerned about parking in the center of Oregon- those folks park in the lane of traffic causing to go to a single lane sometimes. Very scary when driving next to a bus!

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