Parking on Broad Street and the Lawsuit to End It

Should cars be allowed to park down the middle of Broad Street?

Parking on Broad Street and the Lawsuit to End It
The long-debated question rarely moved beyond a heated Facebook debate, but now there’s a lawsuit against the Philadelphia Police Department and the Philadelphia Parking Authority to end the practice once and for all.

Reported first by PlanPhilly, Jake Liefer, co-founder of the urbanist political action committee 5th Square, filed the lawsuit in Philadelphia Common Pleas on July 20. Supporters argue pedestrian and cyclist safety while the opposition defends the tradition and sanctity of those 200 extra spaces.

Joe LiTrenta, a lifelong resident of South Philly and host of Philadelphia Block by Block, spoke out in opposition. He’d like to see the city and state settle this once and for all.

A poll conducted by The Philadelphia Citizen and BeHeardPhilly last year found an almost even divide among supporters and opposition.

Bonus Track: Watch this video from August 2016 from when the Philadelphia Fire Department had to extend their ladders over a section of cars on Broad Street.

51 thoughts on “Parking on Broad Street and the Lawsuit to End It

  • July 25, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Just my opinion: No, it should not be allowed. But, the city needs to do two things:

    1. Come up with a comprehensive parking plan, including the reduction of car ownership in households (4 cars in one South Philly household is a very rare need and outrageous). It also needs to come up with more parking solutions, even if garages can be utilized.

    2. A plan for Broad Street – What could be a beautiful boulevard for the city with a median, safer pedestrian crossings, etc, is run down and treated like a highway through a bunch of strip malls. One idea – Route bicyclists into protected bike lanes down Broad. There’s room there and it would make other streets safer and less congested. Plan more trees, provide incentives for businesses and households to come and stay. Something…

    • July 25, 2017 at 11:35 am

      Agreed. The PPA owns at least one surface lot that could be turned into a garage (like the one on Passyunk). Also, the price of a parking permit needs to be jacked way the hell up, especially for multiple cars. Parking shouldn’t be so cheap, plain and simple.

      I’d love to see the median turned into either trees/grass or protected bike lanes. Something completely inaccessible by cars. No matter what, we shouldn’t be encouraging car ownership in a high-density city like Philadelphia.

      • July 25, 2017 at 3:33 pm

        Use the median as a bike lane, really? This is the problem with everyone on this issue. No one thinks through and sees the whole picture. The subway has vents in the median that allow air into the tunnels. If this were a bike lane, bikes would need to weave in and out of the left lanes if traffic. Not to mention the fact that they would be encountering left hand turning lanes where they’d have to dodge all the cars tuning every other block. Keep the parking because it’s needed. Meter it and generate about one million dollars per year in extra income. Put this money into a Special Services fund that will be used only on Broad Street to clean and green.

        Oh! And eliminate the parking in the left lanes of Oregon Avenue. That, my friends, is a dangerous situation because there isn’t a center median wide enough for a parked car, let alone two of them side by side!

        • July 26, 2017 at 9:01 am


          Just because we’re not all engineers doesn’t mean concepts can’t be floated out there to build toward something feasible and tangible. I assure you there is a way to put bikes on Broad where there’s room, add trees and make the pedestrian experience safer/better. Metered parking should be more abundant, but on a grand avenue like Broad, I think it would be better to move the parking. I do like your idea of the Special Services fund!

          Agreed on the left lanes on Oregon Ave!

          • July 28, 2017 at 11:27 am

            you don’t have to be an engineer to have that idea, Anthony. Especially since it already exists and works extremely well in other major cities. But apparently Carmen’s self taught engineer degree is more advanced than that of all those other city’s engineers.

      • July 25, 2017 at 3:58 pm

        The last thing E. Passyunk needs is a surface garage. It is actually a regressive idea, that would only lead to increased traffic and congestion, and LESS parking overall. There will never be “enough” parking, so the last thing anyone should do is to encourage more people to drive.

      • July 25, 2017 at 5:52 pm

        How about first permit to an address is reasonable and everyone after that increases in price? Garages in the big building charge $300 a month.

        I’d also suggest they return to alternate side parking for street cleaning. That is a great way to get people to not have extra cars just parked for weeks. And need-bonus: there wouldn’t be trash all over the streets.

        • July 26, 2017 at 9:02 am

          The reason there are so many cars is because the permit is so incredibly cheap. The city is using valuable real estate to give people almost free parking. The permits need to be raised way up in value, especially after one or two vehicles.

          • July 27, 2017 at 9:16 am

            Incredibly cheap, or completely free like in large swaths of South Philly. City needs to make permit parking mandatory and double to triple to cost of the permit, especially the cost for car 2 and up. Then, you may start to see the cost of owning the luxury item kept on public land outweigh its benefits, and cars registered out of state will slowly go away as well.

            I know we love our cars here, but in what other city can you live within walking distance of city hall and feel entitled this to parking?

            • August 6, 2017 at 9:09 am

              One of the biggest problems with parking near Broad isn’t residents vehicles, it’s people who drive in from Jersey and the suburbs every morning and park their cars for free and take the subway and/or the bus into Center City to avoid paying for parking near their offices. I live near the Melrose and I see them all file in in the AM and hop on the subway.

  • July 25, 2017 at 11:50 am

    urbanist? here’s a motto for guaranteed happiness in south philly: live and let live.

    • July 25, 2017 at 3:08 pm

      Happiness guaranteed for whom? For firefighters who get injured trying to put a blaze out? How about the folks trying to cross Broad and get struck because cars are parked in the median and drivers can’t see them?

      South Broad is a mess. We should be trying to make it better for everyone.

      • July 25, 2017 at 9:44 pm

        You don’t sound that happy, try following the motto. And the posted video neither shows any ladders over cars nor mentions that such a thing happened. It does however show a firetruck right in front of the building.

        • July 26, 2017 at 9:03 am

          Quite the opposite. I embrace change. Those that don’t have trouble finding happiness.

      • July 26, 2017 at 9:24 am

        Please site your example of firefighters getting injured because of cars parked there. You cant just make something up and base your argument on it.

      • July 28, 2017 at 12:54 pm

        “How about the folks trying to cross Broad and get struck because cars are parked in the median and drivers can’t see them? ”

        I’ve lived in South Philadelphia for 30 years and I’ve never seen someone park in a crosswalk on Broad.

        • August 1, 2017 at 3:06 pm

          I’ve lived in South Philadelphia for 3 years and see people parking in crosswalks on Broad all the effing time.

    • July 27, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      Live and let live, which means don’t rat me out for all the illegal stuff I’m doing that’s infringing on everyone else’s right to happiness.

      • July 28, 2017 at 12:02 pm

        If you’re a crusader, south philly will provide amble petty crusades for you to make life difficult for others. Don’t.

  • July 25, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    There are zero accidents on Broad because of median parking. However numerous accidents caused by bikes. Bikes need to be registered and have insurance. They should be prohibited from being on Broad Street. Plus they honor zero traffic laws.
    Also, why do people care about this? Worry about your own neighborhood and mind your business. This has been going on for 70 years. To bring up that fire is low. To make that relevant then there should be no cars anywhere at any time. Worry about crime and drugs if you care, not parking.

    • July 25, 2017 at 9:53 pm

      Josephine, This is my neighborhood and I do care about this issue. Your mentality is exactly why south philly remains in a regressive state– your entitlement speaks volumes.

    • July 26, 2017 at 7:52 am

      This is our neighborhood too. And no matter what you think all our children born here are native philadelphians too.

    • July 26, 2017 at 9:52 am

      That’s not how this works. Parking can’t be prioritized above everything else. I have never lived in a big city where people where so obsessive about their parking. IMO, they need to have permit parking across South Philly and only then can you park in the median. Free parking only exaggerates the problem.

    • July 27, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      Its crazy but you can be worried about AND tackle many issues at once.

    • July 28, 2017 at 12:59 pm

      Correct Josephine.

      The city need to find away to enforce moving violations by bicyclists which are far more dangerous than parking. Once riding against traffic, on the sidewalks, blowing through stop signs and red lights is brought under control, MAYBE then we can look at parking.

      Priorities should be based on public safety and well being over virtue signaling.

      • July 29, 2017 at 9:07 pm

        Lol. If the city were to ever address bikes and stop signs and ref lights, it would be to adopt the laws of other bike friendly cities and go with a stop sign being a yield, and a red light being treated as a stop sign.

        • August 1, 2017 at 11:02 am

          yep–but if you want bikes to follow laws like they were cars, be prepared for the worst gridlock ever. Bikes in SF did it for a day to prove how bad it would be.

          Idaho stops work.

    • August 6, 2017 at 9:15 am

      Zero accidents, Josephine!? I’ve seen cars get hit in front of Walgreens and cars trying to get in the turning lane at Jackson when cars are pulling out of their “parking spot”.

  • July 26, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Uh oh. Nothing quite like parking to bring out the crazies.

    • July 27, 2017 at 9:18 am

      The great thing about this comment is that both sides will go “I know, right!” when they read it.

  • July 26, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Over the past year or so, I have consistently taken a close look at the cars parked in the median. What I have noticed is that very few of them have parking permits, and a good number have out-of-state license plates. This suggests to me that by allowing folks to park in the median, we are in essence providing a free parking lot for commuters who do not live in South Philly. I don’t see how median parking is solving any problems for South Philly residents.

    • July 26, 2017 at 1:10 pm

      PL, I’ve noticed the same thing. At one point I took a good long walk and counted the out of state cars in the median. It was over 25%. Another time, in summer time I walked past S. Philly high where the median was completely full but I counted 18 open metered spots. Why pay a meter when you can park in the median for free?

      • July 26, 2017 at 3:26 pm

        ^^THIS! I live a block off of Broad and walk it every day with my dog. I can’t even count how many times the median is crammed with cars but every metered spot is open. The amount of lost revenue is amazing!

    • July 26, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      I verified just this morning. Walked from Snyder to Center City. The vast majority of the cars parked in the median did not have parking permits, and at least 25% were out of state.
      So really, it is a bunch of people too cheap fork out $35 for a permit, or people who aren’t eligible because they CHOOSE to register their car where they don’t live.

    • July 29, 2017 at 5:41 pm

      Usually, the out of state cars are NOT commuters…they are renters, who keep their cars parked on street for a week without moving it. The house, next to mine, was turned into 3 apartment dwelling. The tenants have 7 cars all together…and they just leave them on street and they take up almost half the block. WTF!!!..Not kidding, one of their vehicles is a converted little school bus!

  • July 26, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    We all survived when the DNC was here right? The median was clear and the world didn’t end.
    The people without permits and from out of state moved them and everything was just fine. We can have that every day.

    • July 26, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      ^ This.

    • July 27, 2017 at 11:39 am

      Look at you with your common sense and fact-based evidence. Same to the car-counters above.

  • July 27, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    The video has nothing to do with the article. For the safety of the climbers, those fire trucks have massive ladders that need to be that far away from a 3 story building – easy slope.

    Fake journalism

    • July 28, 2017 at 10:36 am

      I want the parking gone, personally, but to play Devil’s Advocate, a tree-lined median would be just as much of a hindrance to emergency vehicles as a car-filled median, if not more so.

      • August 1, 2017 at 3:10 pm

        That argument was never a good one for me, the emergency vehicle one. Beautifying a stretch of Broad with huge potential that could be a huge draw for the city should be a big priority. Right now, dilapidated cars and empty stores fronts are really depressing. It has the potential to be a beautiful economic corridor, our Broadway, and, almost for that reason alone, I’d love to see the practice banned.

  • July 28, 2017 at 9:38 am

    I’m sure there are plenty of people in South Philly who need their cars to get to work and can’t afford to pay more than $35 a year for a permit. Fine, that’s the compromise, keep the cost of the first permit low. But any house that has more than one car should be paying astronomically for permit parking. At least more than the yearly cost of a Zip Car membership.

    Then make all streets require permits so these schmucks that register their cars in Jersey and park them in South Philly will have to change. Let’s make those changes and then see if median parking is still needed. I’m guessing it won’t be needed.

    • July 28, 2017 at 10:43 am

      What is the annual cost of a Zip Car membership? I argue with my wife that insurance and gas can’t possibly be cheaper than a $96 monthly SEPTA pass, and she counters in defense of those who work strange hours or in places that aren’t easily accessible via public transit. In any case, yes, compromise to “one car: cheap; additional cars: not worth it.”

      • July 28, 2017 at 12:29 pm

        Zipcar is $35/year per person. Its about $9/hour or $50/day, and you don’t pay gas or mileage up to 180 miles per trip. You pay the IRS reimbursement rate after that. You can sign up for a car 5 minutes ahead of time on the website. A good alternative to having a car, but its not really designed for a daily commute.

        I am not a zipcar salesman, but my small biz work has an account and I have to admit that it works well on an as-needed basis.

        • July 28, 2017 at 1:55 pm

          The hubs and I are zipcar members, it used to be our only “personal” vehicle before we had kids (and had no car), and now its a “nice to have” in case there’s a situation where we need a second car. And way cheaper than owning a second car, plus it makes you think “do I really need a car for this, or can I get there another way?” Definitely recommend.

  • July 29, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Without median parking, traffic on Broad will be a lot worse….it will be backed up from all the accidents caused by idiot drivers making unsuccessful U-turns!!!

    • July 29, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      This is the stupidest argument yet. Congrats!

  • July 29, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    How about that brown Oldsmobile or whatever that looks like it is actually decomposing in the median somewhere south of reed. It’s like someone left it in the median to die.

    If it weren’t for the broad street run I bet there would be cars left in the median for years long after their owners were in the ground.

  • August 8, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    I don’t mind median parking on Broad St as much as median parking on Oregon ave. Parking and driving on Oregon ave in general is chaotic, scary, dangerous… People double park, park right up against the traffic lights, on sidewalks, sidewalk cuts, left turn lanes… anything. About twice a year, someone goes through and writes citation. The rest of the year, it is everyone for himself. Wheelchair folks have no chance. Normal drivers and pedestrians are just hoping not to die. They should sue the city and state for all accidents on Oregon ave since they choose not to enforce laws.

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