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#TBT: Rittenhouse Square Parking Garage

TBT Rittenhouse Square GarageBy now we’re sure you’ve noticed we like taking a glance into the past. It’s always enlightening to briefly glimpse backward to realize the how times changed.

As we sifted through vintage pictures of the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s (PPA) history for this month’s #TBT, we came across this one. And no — that’s not Uncle Fester with the blowtorch; it’s former PPA Chairman, Francis J. Chesterman.

In December 1953, the PPA opened its doors to the Rittenhouse Square Garage at 1845 Walnut Street. Flanked by Managing Director, Howard T. Scott (left) and Mayor Joseph S. Clark, Jr. (right),  Chesterman  officially opened the garage for public use. The garage took less than a year to complete and it’s still standing strong to this day. In fact, now it’s a privately-owned valet parking garage for apartments in Rittenhouse Square.

So there you have it — another peak into the PPA’s history. In the future, check out what our current garages have to offer. Many of them offer parking discounts and are convenient for when you need to park in Center City, Old City and other popular areas of the city.

Yet again, we’d like to thank Margery Sly, Director of the Special Collections Research Center at Temple University, for allowing us to share another gem of the PPA’s history.

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PEO Spotlight: Peter Free

Peter FreeWe all have a story. It’s what makes us unique and different from one another. The bus driver who gets you to work — he has a story. The street vendors who make your breakfast sandwiches? They have a story. Our Parking Enforcement Officers (PEOs)? Yep — they all have a story too.

Here’s a brief story of Peter Free, a Northeast Philly native who became a PEO less than a year ago.

Before becoming a PEO, Free graduated from Bloomsburg University in 2014 as a music major.

“I play the trombone and double bass very well,” he says in a more than confident tone.

In fact, when he’s not walking his beats, Free is a private music teacher. But what instruments does he teach?

“I teach all of them and I play in three different orchestras when they need me and if I’m available.”

Aside from being a musical prodigy, Free primarily walks his beats around City Hall. And just like any PEO, he has to issue tickets — something he’d rather not do.

“There’s a stigma that PEOs are out to get you,” says Free. “But we’re not out there just to give tickets. We’re out there to educate, inform and if we need to, write a ticket.”

Just like all PEOs, Free is approachable while walking his beats.

If you’re parking in the city and have a question, come on up and ask us. We don’t mind explaining what the signs mean and where you can or cannot park.”

When Free isn’t walking his beats or teaching the next Mozart, he prefers to just take it easy, just like the rest of us.

“My favorite TV show is the Simpsons, so I try to watch them or a movie  whenever I can. I’ve also started playing League of Legends,” Free says. “In the long-run, it’s always nice just to relax and prepare for the day ahead.”

And prepare he must. The winter weather is upon us and Free along with all PEOs will be walking beats in freezing temperatures, which is why he’ll probably be looking forward to his lunch breaks to get a bit warmed up.

“Depending on the beat I’m walking, I’ll either to go Underdogs, Joe’s Pizza or Subway with other PEOs.”  

So if you’re dining at Joe’s Pizza or Underdogs, don’t be surprised if you bump into Free and his fellow PEOs. In fact, it’d be a good time to ask them questions because remember: PEOs don’t just issue tickets, they also inform the public.

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#TBT : AutoPark at the Gallery

#TBT AutoPark at the Gallery MallIf you’ve ever visited Chinatown or have gone shopping at The Gallery, you’ve more than likely gotten a glimpse of our  AutoPark at the Gallery Mall, which is the subject of this month’s #TBT!

Located at 44 North 9th Street, the AutoPark at the Gallery Mall houses 850 parking spaces and is only blocks away from Philly’s renowned Reading Terminal Market. Between Reading Terminal Market and Chinatown, you’re parking in a main hub for amazing Philly delicacies.

So after you’re done stuffing your faces, you can take the five minute stroll to the Convention Center or get shopping done at The Gallery. Either way — your car will be safe, sound and awaiting your return.

Let’s take a look into the past. The picture above is an artist’s sketch of the AutoPark at Gallery Mall from 1960. The garage itself was designed by architectural firm, Henry D. Dagit P. C. They clearly did a great job because it’s standing strong and will be for years to come!

Once again, Margery Sly, Director of the Special Collections Research Center at Temple University, is allowing us to share this gem of a picture.



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A Small History Lesson About the Philadelphia Parking Authority

PPA HistoryIt can be confusing to understand under what power the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) operates. City? State? Act of God? Plenty of questions — so, here is a brief outline about how the Parking Authority came about and our role in the city. Hopefully this clears up a bit of confusion!

The PPA was created on January 11, 1950 by an Ordinance of Philadelphia City Council pursuant to an act of General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania enacted in 1947.

In 1982, the City of Philadelphia assigned responsibility for the management of on-street parking resources to the PPA. Then in 1983, functions previously performed by six City departments were transferred to the PPA, including:

  • Developing and posting parking regulations
  • Installation, maintenance and collection of revenue from parking meters
  • Issuing Residential Parking Permits
  • Issuing, processing and collecting revenue from parking tickets
  • Towing and impounding illegally parked vehicles.
  • Booting scofflaw vehicles

Under the terms of the Agreements, all net program revenue was transferred to the City of Philadelphia. On February 10, 2005, the Governor signed Act 9 of 2005, which established a formula by which net revenue from the on-street parking program is split between the City of Philadelphia and the School District of Philadelphia.

The fun fact in this history lesson: The PPA is governed by a Board composed of six members who are appointed to ten-year terms by the Governor of Pennsylvania (Act 22 of 2001). Our current Board members are:

  • Joseph Ashdale – Chairman
  • Alfred Taubenberger – Vice-Chair/Secretary
  • Karen Wrigley, OD – Assistant Secretary
  • Al Schmidt – Board Member
  • Andrew Stutzman, Esquire – Board Member
  • Russell Wagner, CPA – Board Member


Photo Credit: Howzeman Via Flickr

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Scooter & Motorcycle Parking Update

Scooter PicFinding a common ground — how do you do it? Well, you could start with a conversation, and that’s exactly what the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) and the Motorcycle and Scooter Coalition of Philadelphia did.

For the past few months, the PPA and the Motorcycle and Scooter Coalition have had many great discussions regarding the concerns of scooter and motorcycle riders in Philadelphia. These productive conversations have allowed us to create a plan to address many of the concerns of scooter and motorcycle riders throughout the city.

As motorcycles and scooters add to the diverse transportation system in Philadelphia, the PPA will continue working to provide sufficient access and safety for all commuters. With that said — check out the plan below:

  1. PPA will offer an annual “virtual permit” for scooter and motorcycle riders. The annual $250 permit will start on February 1, 2015 and will allow unlimited parking at any corral. Three-month virtual permits will also be available for purchase for $75.  Please note, the permits are only valid for parking at designated scooter & motorcycle corrals.  Permits will be available for purchase starting January 20, 2015 at PPA’s Customer Service Department at 35 North 8th Street.  Riders will need proof of insurance and a vehicle registration to obtain a virtual permit.  For more information, please call 215-683-9730.
  1. Meters will not be reinstalled at corrals. Vehicles parked in corrals must have a virtual permit or display a valid kiosk receipt. If a rider purchases $5 worth of time at a kiosk, they can use the receipt to park all day at any corral.
      • We highly encourage scooter and motorcyclists to purchase locking permit display holders depicted here to avoid theft of kiosk receipts. Display holders are also easy to make with a few simple hardware items. Instructions to build your own display holders can be found here.
      • If you don’t have a permit holder, we encourage scooter and motorcyclists to take a picture of their receipt. That way if it’s stolen and a ticket is issued, the pictures will serve as evidence if you choose to contest it. These pictures can also be forwarded to us via Facebook and Twitter.
      • If you purchased $5 worth of time with a credit card, the last four digits will verify your purchase. That way if the receipt is stolen and a ticket is issued, the credit card transaction will serve as evidence if you choose to contest it.
  1. Dense parking is allowed at corrals. This means you can park as many vehicles that can reasonably fit into the corrals. Please be conscientious when parking to avoid any damage to other vehicles.
  1. On residential blocks, including those in Center City and University City which are posted for Residential Permit Parking (RPP), motorcycles and scooters will be permitted to park on the sidewalk in front of the operator’s residence under the following conditions:
  • The block is posted for RPP and the motorcycle or scooter has a valid RPP permit for that district. A Day Pass or Temporary RPP permit issued to a resident’s visitor will also be honored.
  • The scooter or motorcycle must be parked against the building and must not interfere with pedestrian travel.
  • The operator must have the permission of the property owner.
  • Motorcycles and scooters must be turned off and walked from the curb to the place it is parked on the sidewalk.
  • On unregulated residential blocks, motorcycles or scooters may park in front of their home without a permit as long as the other conditions are met.

The motorcycle/scooter Residential Permit costs $35 a year and it is not included in the tiered scale of permits, so it does not affect the cost of any other permits in a single household.  Permits may be purchased at 35 North 8th Street with proof of residence, vehicle insurance and registration.

  1. Signs will be installed instructing non-permit riders to purchase time at kiosks to pay for corral parking. Enforcement at corrals will begin February 1, 2015.
  2. Scooters and motorcycles are not permitted to park in bicycle corrals.

We’d like to thank the members of the Motorcycle and Scooter Coalition for all of their hard work and dedication to make Philadelphia a motorcycle and scooter friendly city!

If you have any questions or concerns, continue the conversation and reach out to us via Twitter or Facebook.

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Residential Parking Districts: There’s a Map for That

RPP MapWhenever you need guidance or directions, what do you do? Maybe whip out your phone and plug directions into Google Maps? Or maybe you pull over at a rest stop for an old-fashioned, printed road map? Either way, you’re consulting a map.

Nowadays, there’s a map for everything. Visitors have them for must-see attractions in Philly and news anchors use them to highlight political landscapes.

But if you’re a Philly resident, what if you wanted to find your residential parking permit (RPP) district? Guess what? There’s a map for that.

A few months ago, Lauren Ancona, Data Scientist from the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Information and Technology, developed a slick and easy-to-navigate map highlighting the RPP districts in the city.

The map is pretty cut and dry: just click on one of the colored layers and it will indicate which RPP district you’re in. But if you need more information on RPPs, check out our permit primer. We can also field any questions you may have through Twitter and Facebook!

Note: This map shows perimeters of the RPP districts. Individual streets inside may not be a part of RPP zones and are all subject to change. With that said, the Philadelphia Parking Authority cannot guarantee the accuracies of this map. Furthermore, should you have any questions regarding residential parking,  please click here or call 215-683-9730.

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Signs Explained: Reserved Parking for Disabled Persons

SignsSigns: they’re everywhere, both figuratively and literally. Sometimes if you don’t read those signs, consequences will ensue. When it comes to parking, reading and understanding a sign is the difference between getting a parking ticket and remaining ticketless.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) would rather prevent parking tickets instead of issuing them. But when our Parking Enforcement Officers (PEOs) are walking their beats and come across an illegally parked vehicle, it’s their job to issue a ticket.

Since knowledge always leads to understanding, we’re continuing our “Signs Explained” blog series. Before getting a run-down on the sign pictured to the left, check out this video tutorial from our friends at VisitPhilly and check out our violations page on our new website!

Here’s the breakdown of the sign pictured:

At the top of the sign, the red arrow pointing to the left is a No Stopping Any Time regulation. If a vehicle parks, sits or even stages in a No Stopping Zone, the vehicle could be cited immediately. This means if you stop for just a second to unload groceries or even pick someone up, you could be immediately ticketed.

The green arrow, pointing to the right with its designated times and disabled person symbol, indicates the space is a reserved parking space only for those with a disabled person license plate or disabled person placard . The times indicates the longest amount of time a vehicle can pay and park there. In this case, a vehicle can park for one hour between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and three hours from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Sunday. Remember though — this spot is reserved for those with physical disabilities. If you park here and don’t have a disability placard or plate, you’ll receive a $301 fine.

So there’s another run-down on one of our signs. If you come across one that’s hard to understand, send us the picture on Twitter or Facebook and we’ll get you squared away.

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Temporarily Prohibit Parking While Moving

truckCabMoving is an exciting experience, but at the same time, it can be dreadful. Sure, it’s thrilling to move into a new environment, but lugging heavy furniture for hours on end isn’t one of life’s highlights. Combine that with the inevitable banging into walls, denting of furniture and of course, figuring out how the heck you’re going to arrange your furniture. But one thing that’s often overlooked while moving is — you guessed it — parking.

Nothing could put a bigger dent in your move than a lack of convenient parking, preferably in front of your new home. You could go on a wild-goose chase for a parking spot blocks away. Or you can temporarily prohibit parking in front of your home, making your move as seamless as possible.

So if you’re planning a move and need convenient parking, contact the Streets Department’s Right of Way Unit at least three business days (72 hours) before your move. Keep in mind: requests made less than three business days before moving will not be processed. There’s also a permit fee of $25 per 40 feet of space (40 feet equals two parking spaces). Requests for moving trucks can be submitted here.

Now you have one less thing to worry about during your move. If you have any questions, get in touch with us through Twitter or Facebook — we’ll move you in the right direction.

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RFP # 14-16 Barrier Gates at Philadelphia International Airport

This Request for Proposals (RFP) is being issued by the Parking Authority (the “Authority”). The Authority is soliciting written proposals from qualified vendors to furnish Barrier Gates at the Philadelphia International Airport . The sole contact at the Authority shall be Mary Wheeler, Contracts Manager, 701 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106 or email at 

RFP No. 14-16 Notice to Proposers

RFP No. 14-16 Barrier Gates at Airport

RFP # 14-15 Managed Print Services

This Request for Proposals (RFP) is being issued by the Parking Authority (the “Authority”). The Authority is soliciting written proposals from qualified vendors to provide Managed Print Services. The sole contact at the Authority shall be Mary Wheeler, Contracts Manager, 701 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106 or email at 

14-15 Notice to Proposers

RFP 14-15 Managed Print Services