Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

More on the Philadelphia Parking Authority

Still clamoring for more info on the whys and hows of Philadelphia parking after reading my column? Have I got some leftovers for you:

More on the Philadelphia Parking Authority

Still clamoring for more info on the whys and hows of Philadelphia parking after reading my column? Have I got some leftovers for you:

* Valet parking zones are a great deal for restaurants, at just $250 per year, but tourism companies like Ride the Ducks pay way more: $5,000 per reserved space.

* Authorized parking for city employees and other VIPs, it turns out, is both an outdoor and indoor affair.

The city spends $500,000 a year for 390 employees to park in private lots or garages. Seem high? That’s actually down from $800,000 after officials canceled the perk for people who didn’t need it or weren’t using it.

* Among the 910 people on the city’s still-shrinking list of authorized parkers, 630 are public employees or elected officials, according to the Managing Director’s Office.

Of that, City Council is allotted 56 parking slots, but it’s up to Council President Anna Verna to decide drawing the delightful task of how many each member gets.

* If you don’t need authorized parking, you probably don’t need a take-home car. With that logic, the city fleet has been reduced by 400 cars, to under 6,000. Even Managing Director Camille Barnett gave up the two vehicles assigned to her office.

The reductions represent an annual savings of $1.2 million to the cash-strapped city. Selling the 400 clunkers online netted another $150,000.

Meanwhile, those 400 city employees — Barnett included — now use Zip Car (www.zipcar.com) when they need a ride. That savings? Roughly $130,000 a year.

* When Mayor Nutter took office, spokesman Doug Oliver was shocked to learn that 1,000 people had Philadelphia Police press stickers allowing them to park in one of 50 spots at 10 press-only zones.

Big surprise, most were not actual journalists.

“There was a tremendous amount of abuse taking place,” Oliver told me. “We knew who we worked with. We knew who calls every day asking for information.”

The Press Office started from scratch, making journalists prove professional ties. News organizations were given transferrable parking placards. (The Inquirer got 30, while small community papers received two.)

“We printed 300 placards,” Oliver said, “I’ve got 20 sitting here still.”

So what happened to the hundreds of so-called journalists kicked to the curb?

“If you don’t like it, you’ll write about it,” Oliver reasons. “If you’re with a legitimate news orginization, I’ll hear about it.”

— Monica Yant Kinney

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The Philadelphia Inquirer's Troy Graham and Claudia Vargas take you inside Philadelphia's City Hall.

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