Tuesday, September 25, 2012

P.P.A. handing out parking tickets to City's new parklets

Source: MOTU Facebook Page

Philadelphia--Parks getting parking tickets? The Philadelphia Parking Authority is requiring city-owned parklets--small on-street parks atop curb-high platforms--to purchase and display parking permits on the street-side of the small structures. No permit means a parking violation, which equals a ticket.

"I give a ticket to that thing [parklet] every day," said Gail Slessenger, a P.P.A. parking enforcement officer for twenty years. "They don't have permits, so I have to ticket them. Boss said so. I have been instructed to leave tickets on tables or benches."

Several of these innovative parks have sprung up around the city, and have racked up thousands of dollars in parking tickets via the P.P.A. However, to obtain a parking permit, there must be a motorized vehicle involved in the application. Indirectly then, the P.P.A. is forcing parklets, installed in cooperation with the Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities, to register with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation as a motor vehicle.

This inevitably means that parklets must have an engine and car insurance to occupy the street parking space. To help meet this "motor" requirement, the state is allowing parklets to conceal old, nonfunctioning lawn mower engines somewhere on the site: under planters, benches, or tables, for example.

"We thought long and hard about requiring parklets to have some sort of steering wheel and, at the very least, two functioning tires. But, that just didn't seem to make a whole lot of sense," said Michael Actons, directing assistant manager of Penn D.O.T. "We are, however, very serious about the engine requirement."

It is believed that the tire idea sprang from the P.P.A. so that parking boots could be fastened to any uncooperative parklets.

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