Monday, April 21, 2008

City contemplates passing Neutral Law to maximize limited parking space

Philadelphia, PA--City Council is considering passing Bill 23497, otherwise known as the Neutral Law. The bill aims to address the city's parking problem by forcing car owners to leave their vehicles in neutral when parking on a level or nearly level street.

Leaving the automobiles out of gear permits other drivers, seeking hard-to-come-by spaces, to rearrange the cars to increase an existing spot or create a new one.

"I'll sometimes circle the block 10 times and pass three spots that are just slightly too small. It's extremely frustrating. The law would let me move the parked car or cars a few feet or inches to create a new space and reduce my anxiety," resident Tom Glavenstone said.

The city determines a level street by placing a soccer or basketball in the center and timing how long it takes to roll ten feet. Officials would not release time requirements to the public.

"A high percentage of this city is flat and level, and we really think this would help the parking problem. Is this a law for San Francisco? No. Even Bethlehem, PA? No. But it would work here," said Betty Toffer, a parking consultant with Dexter, Dexter and Talbot.

Some residents are skeptical about the law. "Back in the late 80's our street attempted this and someone pushed all 30 cars down to the next block and double parked them as a joke. We woke the next morning to an empty street and 30 parking tickets," said Gloria Gaboldini, of South Philadelphia.

Fran McMurphy of hilly Manayunk, known locally for his harsh sarcasm, had this to say: "Yeah, this would work in Manayunk. This would work really well in Manayunk."

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