New Philly Mayor: Politicos Can No Longer Park on the City Hall Sidewalk

Politicos in Philadelphia will no longer be allowed to use the entrance to City hall as their personal parking lot. Photo: City Hall Parking Lot Tumblr blog.
Big shots in Philadelphia city government will no longer be allowed to use the sidewalk by City Hall as their personal parking lot. Photo: City Hall Parking Lot Tumblr

The Jim Kenney administration is off to a promising start in Philadelphia. One of the mayor’s first acts in office was to end the thoroughly obnoxious practice of letting government honchos park on the sidewalk “apron” around City Hall — a public space.

There was a Tumblr dedicated to chronicling this highly visible abuse of government privilege. And ending the practice was on the wish list of urbanist political action group the Fifth Square. During his campaign, Kenney, a former council member, promised to get the cars off the sidewalk.

On Monday — his first day in office — Kenney said his administration would begin enforcing the long-ignored rule against parking on the apron.

“It’s public space, and should be used as public space,” a spokesperson for the Mayor told Philly Magazine.

Jon Geeting of Plan Philly told Streetsblog that while the value of this change is mostly symbolic, it’s still very encouraging.

“There’s a lot of politician entitlement around being able to park directly next to City Hall,” he said. “I think it’s sort of refreshing that Kenney’s setting the tone early that that’s not going to be the way he operates.”

  • Bernard Finucane

    Next step: Rent the land so someone selling coffee at $5 a cup. Suddenly this crappy parking lot is fashionable and chic, and fills the city’s empty coffers as well. European cities figured this out 50 years ago.

  • BBnet3000

    Way ahead of the Brooklyn Borough President’s office here in “Vision Zero” New York, who wrecked the pavement of their equivalent public space by parking on it, got it redone at great expense, and are back to parking on it again.

  • One warning ticket, then boot them.

  • Jules1

    Excellent step forward for Philly!

  • neroden

    THANK YOU MAYOR KENNEY!

    This was disgusting. Last time I was in Philly, walking across that plaza, I thought “Can it really be legal for them to park their cars on the sidewalk?” I considered calling a tow truck.

    Good for him.

  • neroden

    This area around City Hall has a *lot* of pedestrian traffic. Stalls and stands would be massively successful.

  • Jules1

    Already happening around the corner (literally) on the newly redesigned plaza on the west side of City Hall, but it could be expanded onto the former parking area on the north side of City Hall. (The lack of sun would make this area a hard sell in the winter, but would be great during the hot summer months)

  • HamTech87

    Love the new Dilworth Plaza. Just wish it blended better with the wonderful public space in the center of City Hall. That map at the center of William Penn’s grid is a touchstone for me; something I showed my kids when visiting.

    But the motor vehicle traffic around City Hall is crazy, and the on-street bike lanes and pedestrian crossings so harrowing there. With so much transit just below ground — trolleys, subways, and regional rail — all the pieces are in place to reduce driving. I guess we need a toll cordon around Center City and higher frequency transit?

  • HamTech87

    True, but you also go to La Colombe’s branch across the street. this fabulous chain started in Philly.

  • Bernard Finucane

    My guess is that an existing coffee shop would make the plaza even more attractive to coffee drinkers.

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