Northeast Times

Fairmount frustrated over parking

City of­fi­cials met with the Fair­mount Civic As­so­ci­ation last week to ad­dress park­ing con­cerns.

In a spe­cial meet­ing, Thursday, May 5, the Fair­mount Civic As­so­ci­ation heard an­swers to many park­ing and trans­port­a­tion con­cerns from five area mu­ni­cip­al and private groups.

Present were rep­res­ent­at­ives from the Phil­adelphia Park­ing Au­thor­ity, the 9th Po­lice Dis­trict, Phil­adelphia Streets De­part­ment, Phil­lyCar­Share and Zip Car. Also in­vited were SEPTA and Bi­cycle Am­bas­sad­ors, but neither at­ten­ded the meet­ing.

Two traffic dir­ec­tion­al is­sues were first ad­dressed. Charles Denny, the Streets De­part­ment’s as­sist­ant chief traffic en­gin­eer, said drivers trav­el­ing east on Fair­mount Av­en­ue do not have to stop at the in­ter­sec­tion when turn­ing left onto 22nd Street. The of­fi­cial stop line is bey­ond that corner, near the point where 22nd Street meets Fair­mount Av­en­ue from the south.

Many of the night’s ques­tions con­cerned park­ing. Of­ficer Tracy Lewis from the 9th Dis­trict said po­lice rarely tick­et double-parked cars be­cause they know park­ing is tough in the neigh­bor­hood.

She also said “No Park­ing” signs put up by home own­ers are il­leg­al and will not be en­forced by the po­lice. Denny, however, ad­ded that the signs are al­lowed if they refer to the area in front of le­git­im­ate drive­ways. The size of the no-park­ing area can­not ex­ceed the size of the curb cut for the drive­way.

Denny also said it is il­leg­al to park any part of a car on the side­walk, not just the en­tire vehicle.

Linda Brad­ley of the Phil­adelphia Park­ing Au­thor­ity said Res­id­en­tial Per­mit Park­ing Agree­ments (PPA) will be en­forced by po­lice. If people see that vi­ol­at­ors are not be­ing tick­eted, they should call PPA.

She ad­ded that rules gov­ern­ing res­id­en­tial park­ing zones, such as the hours for per­mit-only park­ing, might dif­fer between zones be­cause those rules are de­cided by the res­id­ents of the areas defined in their agree­ment and can be changed only by a pe­ti­tion by a res­id­ent.

Own­ers of corner prop­er­ties on blocks with per­mit park­ing can have a voice in the mat­ter only if their ad­dress is on the block in ques­tion. She ad­ded that a busi­ness on a block that is 70 per­cent res­id­en­tial has no say in per­mit agree­ment. If 70 per­cent of a block is busi­nesses, per­mit park­ing can­not be es­tab­lished.

Steve Lorenz, as­sist­ant chief high­way en­gin­eer for the Streets De­part­ment, said the city tries to re­sur­face streets every 10 to 15 years, but be­cause the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment re­cently forced Phil­adelphia to redo all the han­di­cap corner ramps in the city, that sched­ule might be moved up.

He said one corner cut ramp costs from $4,000 to $6,000. When the costs for re­pav­ing streets are av­er­aged out, he ad­ded, the ramps ac­count for half the total ex­pense.

In Fair­mount, two streets are sched­uled for re­sur­fa­cing in late sum­mer or early fall: the 2700 block of Brown Street and 27th Street between Brown and Par­rish streets, he said.

Lorenz also told meet­ing at­tendees to call the city’s 311 non-emer­gency line if road cuts by pub­lic and private util­it­ies have not been re­sur­faced. “We need as­sist­ance from the pub­lic on these prob­lems.”

The re-strip­ing of a street’s traffic lanes is done at the time of their re­pav­ing, he said, adding that if a re­quest is made to ad­dress a spe­cif­ic prob­lem, the Streets De­part­ment will in­vest­ig­ate the mat­ter.

Lewis said people should call 911 if their vehicle’s re­gis­tra­tion stick­er has been stolen. Not only is it the re­port of a spe­cif­ic crime, it also helps the po­lice es­tab­lish a crime pat­tern in the neigh­bor­hood. Lewis also said people can­not re­move stick­ers when the car is not in use and dis­play them when driv­ing to keep them from be­ing stolen.

Paula Robin­son, the 9th Dis­trict com­munity re­la­tions of­ficer, said any­one who sus­pects that a car has been aban­doned should call 311 and po­lice will in­vest­ig­ate the mat­ter.

PPA’s Bailey also said the city al­lows three han­di­cap-only park­ing spaces per block where park­ing is al­lowed on one side of the street, and four such spaces per block with park­ing on both sides of the street. She also said if homeown­er has put a cone in a park­ing space to re­serve a han­di­capped spot and no com­plaint is made when someone else parks there, the need for a han­di­capped per­mit can be in­vest­ig­ated by a doc­tor.

She said an in­vest­ig­a­tion will also be made when the han­di­capped per­son has died and the re­served spot is still marked. But she warned that the re­view is a 45-day pro­cess.

The Streets De­part­ment’s Lorenz ad­ded that it is il­leg­al for any­one to re­serve a spot for any oth­er reas­on, such as to save a cleared space after a snow­fall.

The on­set of elec­tric cars has placed the need for the con­sid­er­a­tion of new reg­u­la­tions by the Streets De­part­ment, and Denny said reg­u­la­tions on such vehicles will be pos­ted this sum­mer with a 30-day com­ment peri­od be­fore they be­come act­ive.

As an ex­ample of one such reg­u­la­tion, he said an own­er of an elec­tric car pe­ti­tion­ing to in­stall a char­ging sta­tion must prove that they do own such a vehicle and get a per­mit from the De­part­ment of Li­censes and In­spec­tions.

There would be a lim­it of four char­ging sta­tions per block, he ad­ded.

Denny also said bi­cyc­lists have the same rights and re­spons­ib­il­it­ies as any oth­er driver. But he ad­ded that po­lice are not as likely to tick­et bi­cyc­lists as much as oth­er drivers. Last year, he said, few­er than 100 tick­ets were is­sued to bi­cyc­lists.

Double-park­ing in a bi­cycle lane, he said, is as il­leg­al as do­ing so in any oth­er traffic lane.

Beth Mo­han Resta, mar­ket­ing man­ager for Zip Car, a for-profit car share busi­ness which has park­ing spots for its vehicles in Fair­mount, said the com­pany re­cently re­ceived a $140,000 grant to in­stall 20 elec­tric car char­ging sta­tions throughout the city for the elec­tric cars they will add to their fleet.

Zip Car re­cently made a deal to buy 18 Chevy Volts, which run only on elec­tri­city, she ad­ded.

Heath­er Na­woj, mar­ket­ing man­ager for the non-profit Phil­lyCar­Share, said her or­gan­iz­a­tion also has many spots in the neigh­bor­hood. “We’re al­ways look­ing for new spots,” she said. “This is a very good neigh­bor­hood for us.”••

You can reach at mbrakeman@bsmphilly.com.

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