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#TBT: Penn’s Landing AutoPark

#TBT AutoPark at Penn's Landing # 1Alright, folks. Time for another stroll down the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s (PPA) Memory Lane.

If you visited Penn’s Landing in the mid ‘90s, there’s a good chance you parked at our lot under the bridge, then made a beeline for South Street.

For nearly five years, the PPA operated the aptly named AutoPark at Penn’s Landing. With over 200 parking spaces, you could park for only $4 before taking in the waterfront, or exploring the always vibrant South Street.

#TBT AutoPark at Penn's Landing # 2Fun fact: The grand opening ceremony was such a big deal, Fredo Corleone showed up!

Ok — so that’s not Fredo, it’s Rocky Morroto, the PPA’s Director of Off-Street Parking, but isn’t the resemblance uncanny? No need for a Halloween costume for Rocky in those years.

Fast forward to 2015: the PPA no longer operates the lot at Penn’s Landing and Rocky’s hair is grayer than clay, but he’s still making sure our garages are on the up and up!

If you’re looking for parking, check out what our current garages and lots have to offer. And if you’re interested in some of the improvements we’re making, check out our 8th & Filbert garage transformation!

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Parking Fails: Volume 1

We’ve all seen our share of bad parking jobs. You know — the types that leave you scratching your head wondering what could have possibly been going through the driver’s mind before turning off the ignition. In fact, some park jobs are so mind boggling, they become Internet viral sensations. Take a look at the gems below and learn from the best, or in this case, the worst.

 

Parking Fail #1Parking Fail #1

There are only two explanations for this one: Either the car merely fell out of the sky, or Ace Ventura went for a joy ride.

Either way, hopefully the owner of the silver Honda had some sort of sense of humor. Maybe their reaction was something like this, but it probably wasn’t.

 

 

 

Parking Fail # 2Parking Fail #2

Sinkholes: they’ll getcha. Imagine walking out of the grocery store to your car only to find it swallowed by the earth. On the surface, the driver appeared to have a superb park job, so this isn’t a parking fail on the driver’s part, but definitely on the parking lot’s part. This is a particularly bad case of “wrong place wrong time.” Could you imagine the call to the insurance company? “Hi, State Farm? Soooo, my car got gobbled up by a sinkhole. I’m covered, right?

 

 

Parking Fail # 3Parking Fail #3

This police officer definitely went home with a story that night. Just look at how he’s trying to process the situation here.

Officer: “Whelp. I think a see the problem here. Ya see, there’s a car wedged in between two other cars.”

What was the recourse here? Even the best tow truck drivers in the world would be dumbfounded. They probably would recommend getting a crane in there, and we don’t blame them.

Do you have a funny or ridiculous parking pic? Share it with us on Twitter or Facebook! Who knows — maybe it’ll be featured on the next edition of Parking Fails!

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Taxis For All Philadelphia In Support of Order 126-11: Modern Taxicab Standards

You are stranded and alone. It is 2 a.m., you are 10 miles from your home, and there is no bus route you can take back. Most have stopped running anyway. You call for a cab for the eighth time, but there is still not a single vehicle in the whole city to take you home. You have been waiting for three hours, hoping that one will come on duty. All you can do is wait.

It is a story common to more than 120,000 people with mobility disabilities in Philadelphia. You do everything right—you call for a ride from a taxicab company (often days beforehand, as is the current policy for wheelchair accessible vehicles) and your ride just never shows up. And when they stand you up, you’re stuck waiting on that lonely corner.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority’s Proposed Rulemaking Order 126-11 ”Modern Taxicab Standards” would solve this problem. The new regulation will require vehicles purchased for taxicab service after a designated date to be wheelchair accessible. If this rule is approved, the precedent of universal accessibility will be set here in Philadelphia and other cities across the nation will be urged to follow suit. We have waited on that lonely street corner long enough.

Accessibility is a civil right. Twenty-five years after the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law, politicians and businesses alike are still disregarding the rights of people with disabilities. As with every struggle for civil rights, a shift will only occur through the efforts of those with the strength and courage to correct injustice. We must continue the fight.

This regulation is about more than transportation. Being able to utilize a responsive transit system means being able to participate in society. Being heard and understood starts with being able to come to the table. Accessibility is the first step toward awareness and acceptance, and we can’t afford to wait any longer.

Your part starts with submitting a public comment in support of this rulemaking. It starts with you going to http://www.philapark.org/2015/06/proposed-rulemaking-126-11-modern-taxicab-standards/ and sending an email.

Let’s make the City of Brotherly Love the first city in America with a fully accessible, fully integrated taxicab system—with liberty and taxis for all.

 

Note: The above text was drafted by Taxis For All Philadelphia, an advocacy group promoting unhindered taxicab accessibility for those with mobility disabilities.   

 

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#TBT: AutoPark at Center City

#TBT 15th & ArchIn late 2014, you probably noticed that we added the brand spankin’ new Family Courthouse Garage to our slew of AutoParks in Center City. For this month’s #TBT, we’re not dwelling on 2014. Instead, we’re heading back to the same location in 1992.

Before becoming the Family Courthouse Garage, 1503 Arch Street was a surface lot called AutoPark Center City. In 1992, the AutoPark Center City opened for public use and was constantly filled to the brim until it closed up shop in 2010.

Clearly a lot has changed since 1992. Just look at the first customer’s truck and compare it to today’s Ford F150s! One thing hasn’t changed: 1503 Arch Street is still a perfect jumping off point for a good ole walking tour of Philly.

Now that you’ve stepped into 1992 — jump back to 2015 and see what our Family Courthouse Garage has to offer!

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When Parking in Philly is FREE!

4104988795_7451dc4c65_zAs consumers, we LOVE hearing the word free, right? And what’s not to like? It’s always refreshing to pull money out of your wallet only to be told to put it back.

We don’t want Philadelphians missing out on parking deals, especially when they’re free. That’s why we threw together a blog highlighting when parking is free in Philly! Take a look below and reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook with any questions! Also — don’t forget to check out the official PPA Parking Cheat-Sheet!

Holiday Parking:

Throughout each year, the PPA does not enforce parking meters on select holidays. In other words — FREE meter parking on the days listed below. Additionally, time limits on residential blocks are not enforced on:

  • New Year’s Day (January 1)
  • Martin Luther King Day
  • Easter Sunday
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day (July 4)
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Day (December 25)

Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver via Flickr

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#TBT: North Philly Neighborhood Lot

#TBT South Philly Nieghborhood LotFor this month’s #TBT, we’re heading back to the early 1990s as the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) broke ground on its neighborhood parking lot at 7100 Ogontz Avenue in North Philadelphia. This throwback picture shows the attendees of the groundbreaking ceremony, from left to right: State Representative, Dwight Evans; PPA Chairman, Herman Wooden; State Senator, Alison Schwartz; and  former Mayor of Philadelphia, Wilson Goode.

After construction was complete, the lot served the business district for close to five years before being redeveloped. Nowadays you won’t find a parking lot if you drive by 7100 Ogontz Avenue. Instead, you can gas up and grab some Tastykakes at M & J Market before hitting the road.

Now let’s fast forward 20 plus years: Parking lots may come and go, but we still offer convenient parking throughout all parts of Philly. In fact, many of our facilities offer discounts such as Early Bird Specials and validations for many tourist attractions!

So the next time you need a parking spot in Philly, check out what our garages and autoparks have to offer. If you have any questions, we’ll get you answers on Twitter and Facebook.

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#UnblockBikeLanes: Continuing the Conversation

bike lane data mapIn December 2013, the Philadelphia Parking Authority initiated #​UnblockBikeLanes — a Twitter hashtag campaign to accomplish the following:

  • Give citizens the opportunity to report b​locked bike lanes via T​witter.​
  • Compile relevant data highlighting the most problematic areas with blocked bike lanes in the city.
  • Engage active voices within the Philadelphia community, in particular, The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.​

Since its launch more than a year ago, there have been over 270 reports of blocked bike lanes via #UnblockBikeLanes. On a daily basis, citizens have responded to our campaign and reported blocked bike lanes.

We’d like to thank the public for providing us with invaluable data and feedback​ on this vitally important issue and continuing the conversation of bicycle safety in Philadelphia.

One question that been frequently asked is, “What’s being done with #UnblockBikeLanes?”​and today we aim to answer that question by sharing the data that we’ve been gathering since December 2013.

Here’s an interactive map​ which highlights bike lane ticket issuance and #UnblockBlockBikeLanes​ reports from December 18th, 2013 to December 18th, 2014. This information allows us to zero in​ on problem areas for proper enforcement. Check out the map, and feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments.

With the release of this data, it’s our hope that local residents and visitors to our great city will continue utilizing #UnblockBikeLanes and let us know of any bike lane violations.

Again, thank you​ for utilizing #UnblockBikeLanes. We look forward to continuing the conversation ​and remember: if you see a blocked bike lane, tweet us a photo along with the location, time and day with the hashtag #UnblockBikeLanes. You may also call our hotline to report blocked bike lanes at 215-683-9627.

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#TBT: 11th and Market Street Park & Lock Garage

#TBT 11th and Market StreetsRemember a few months ago when we took a look at the grand opening of our Edison Park and Lock Garage? Well, we’re back again!

In 1961, the Edison Park and Lock Garage officially opened to the public, but it wasn’t until 1962 that the garage was officially complete. In the picture to the left, construction workers put on the finishing touches as they meticulously raised a 38 foot sign to the roof. Once the garage was complete, it housed 500 parking spaces on 11th and Market Streets.

Obviously as times  change, so do the parking rates. Just take a look at the sign. The going rate for half-hour parking was only 15 cents!

Nowadays you won’t see the garage on 11th and Market Streets. Instead you’ll see entrances to the soon-to-be renovated Gallery at Market East. In fact, a few blocks away you’ll also notice our 8th & Filbert garage is undergoing a much anticipated transformation! Also, if you haven’t already, make sure you check out the discounts we currently offer at our AutoParks!

Once again, we’d like to thank Margery Sly, Director of the Special Collections Research Center at Temple University, for sharing these pieces of Philadelphia Parking Authority history with us.

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PPA Airport Operations 10th Anniversary

Airport Economy LotIf you live in the greater Philadelphia area, you’ve probably flown out of the Philadelphia International Airport

(PHL). But before you checked in your luggage and made a beeline to your gate, where did you leave your car? Well, if you didn’t take SEPTA, there’s a good chance you parked with us before taking to the skies.

For the past 10 years, the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) has operated the PHL’s parking facilities. From the very moment the PPA began operating PHL’s parking, our airport staff has strived to provide convenient, affordable and hassle-free parking — and they’ve done just that.

Let’s take a look at the improvements we’ve made in the past 10 years.

Economy Parking:

Ten years ago our airport economy lots held roughly 4,100 parking spaces. Yeah — that seems like a lot, doesn’t it? But guess how many they hold now? Well if you add 3,000 to 4,100, you’ll get your answer. That’s right: We’ve expanded the economy lots by 3,000 spaces in 10 years. Believe it or not, our economy lots offer more than just parking. Check out everything our economy parking has to offer here.

Technological Enhancements:

Aside from adding parking spaces, we’ve also beefed up our use of new technologies that weren’t available a decade ago. By using these new technologies, we’ve greatly enhanced customer service experiences and cut back on paper usage by printing 30,000 less tickets per month!

Credit Card In and Out

Some of our enhancements include ways to get you in and out of the parking lots faster. At our airport parking facilities, lines are a thing of the past. Why? Well, in addition to using Google Wallet, we also offer a credit card in and out service. It’s simple: When entering our airport parking facilities, just have your credit card ready. At the entrance, insert the credit card into the ticket issuing machine. When exiting, just head to a Self-Service Credit Only automated lane and insert the same credit card. Also, if you have a contact-free enabled credit card, just hold the card about three inches from the vertical reader built into the ticket issuing machine and patron interface box at the exit. After that, the gates will lift and boom — you’re on your merry way.

Real-time Garage Parking Availability

It’s always great to know what you’re walking into, or in this case driving into, right? Well, another technological enhancement we’ve added is our real-time garage parking availability system. The PPA website is updated every 15 minutes, so drivers can check space availability before entering our airport garages. That way you’ll be able to make your flight without wandering around aimlessly looking for a parking spot.

License Plate Recognition (LPR)

The final enhancement we’ll highlight is the LPR. Sometimes when you’re gone for an extended period of time, you might forget where you parked your car. Trust us, with over 7,000 spaces, we understand it’s easy to forget where you parked. With the LPR, we can keep track of the exact spot you parked in. LPR technology works because cameras at the entrances of the parking facilities capture every license plate of every vehicle that enters. Then, the LPR software registers that information into the PPA’s database, so we can pull that information if needed. So if you forget where you parked after a long flight, let one of our team members know and we’ll locate your car!

Sure, we’re proud of expanding our economy lot and adding the tech features. But what are we most proud of? Our dedicated airport staff who made it happen — in only 10 years.

Frank Ragozzino, Director of Airport Operations, sums it up by saying, “I’m most proud of the workforce. It was a monumental task to take on operating at the airport. There were a number of issues we had to resolve and a lot of folks here were apprehensive when we took over airport operations. People were afraid they would lose their jobs.”

Frank continues, “It took a lot of hard work in making employees aware of the policies. We couldn’t go in there like gangbusters. We wanted to let them know they are part of, not to sound corny, the PPA family.

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#TBT: Another Trip to the Rittenhouse Square Garage

#TBT Rittenhouse SketchIf you saw last month’s #TBT, you took a stroll into the past and saw the opening ceremony for our old Rittenhouse Square Garage. This time around, we’re taking a glance at an artist’s sketch before it was built.

Before excavation began on February 10, 1953, this artist rendering gave a near perfect glimpse of what the Rittenhouse Square Garage would look like. Nowadays, the garage is still nestled at 18th and Walnut Streets right across from Philly’s treasured Rittenhouse Square Park. So the next time you’re at the Rittenhouse Farmers Market or taking your dog for a walk in the park, glance over to 18th and Walnut Streets.

There you have it. Another trip down the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s (PPA) memory lane. While you’re here check out the discounts we offer at our current garages!

And yet again, we’d like to thank Margery Sly, Director of the Special Collections Research Center at Temple University, for continuing to share pieces of PPA history with us.

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