A Stub Grows on S. 16th St.

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Lest the Philadelphia Parking Authority think my latest column about the agency proves an anti-PPA bias (I am not anti-PPA; I am against unreasonable and incompetent PPA behavior), I bring you the case of Mike Destefano. The South Philadelphian e-mailed me about a ticket he received yesterday for parking in a "No Parking" spot on the 2200 block of S. 16th S.

The problem, said Mike, is that the pole that would've held the "No Parking" sign no longer exists. It is merely the stub of a pole. To prove his point, he attached a photo of a metal stub. So the $41 ticket, he said, was unfair. How was he to know that the stub indicated a no-parking area?

The more I probed, though, the more it became clear that Destefano was in the wrong. He'd actually parked between the stub, which was at the rear of his Toyota, and another, full-size pole right at the front of his car that clearly reads, "No Parking - Authorized Vehicles Only." An arrow points backward, right to the area where Destefano chose to park his car.

In the notes section of the ticket, PPA enforcement officer R. Robinson had written "Authorized Philly Car Share," indicating, apparently, that the spot was reserved for a PhillyCarShare vehicle.

Destefano took issue with that.

"How was I supposed to know a CarShare car was supposed to be there?" he asked, when I called to follow up. "The sign was torn down."

Well, yes - the rear sign was indeed broken down to a stub. But the sign at the front of Destefano's vehicle was standing tall. Even if Destefano didn't know who was authorized to park there, he sure as heck knew that his car was not one of them.

Busted! 

Having said that, the lack of the second sign is problematic. The front sign's arrow points backward, but because the CarShare sign is torn down, the arrow sort of implies that parking is prohibited down the entire length of the block - instead of merely within the spot that would contain a CarShare vehicle.

The sign creates confusion on a block where parking is already tight, and might prompt drivers to avoid legitimate parking spots, since there's no indication of where the "authorized" parking begins and ends.

Unless you know where to look for the stump, and know what it once indicated - which is asking a lot.

So I suggested that Destefano call PhillyCarShare (215-730-0988) to report the missing sign.

He plans to do so -  and he also plans to appeal his ticket, citing the "stump" issue. I don't think it'll fly with the hearing examiner, and I think Destefano should just pay his ticket already, because it's legit. Problematic, yes, but legit.

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