PPA in Roxborough-Manayunk a slippery slope

Is parking in Roxborough and Manayunk really a problem? Would bringing more PPA enforcement to the area be worth it?

We've all gotten one.  

Walking from a distance towards your car, you squint to see a little blue envelope under your windshield whipper.  

Most likely, you think, whisper, or shout a profanity, grab the ticket and see what your harsh debt to society is for your heinous crime and try to carry on with your day after this mentally and financially draining set back.  

Eventually, you return to your home and park, safe in Roxborough or Manayunk, away from the craziness of city life that includes "parking wars."

In our neighborhood, we pride ourselves on being friendly, owning small businesses, being close to nature and living a more carefree life than our fellow citizens 4 miles down Kelly Drive.  While to some, bringing the PPA into our neighborhood would symbolize progress, this change would not fit into our standard of living.


1.  A PPA officer would be walking around your street all the time

A main staple of Center City living is seeing a PPA officer walking around . . . pretty much everywhere.  You fear parking, you hate walking around your own neighborhood and you're just in a constant state of worry.  Even if you're obeying their laws, there are countless tickets given out "by accident" for doing things like parking in front of broken hydrants, parking some arbitrary distance from a bike lane, etc.  Do you want to be outside, playing with your children or walking your dog and have to avoid the "Ticket (Wo)Man?"

2.  Ticketing doesn't solve the problem

You've committed a parking violation.  Usually, these are done by accident.  You are then forced to pay $20+ to the state and PPA.  Where does that money go?  Does it solve the problem?  With parking, it is important to think about these things.  Would all the money paid in fines be worth it if it went to actually create parking lots for neighborhoods?  Often, a ticket can be a huge struggle to pay for people in financial pickles.  And why does your hard earned money go right into the pocket of a PPA officer who is only leeching from society?  This system does not make sense.  

3.  Neighborhoods don't need permit parking

I have lived in many parts of Philadelphia.  As neighborhoods become more popular, yes, parking for residents gets harder.  But this is not a problem that permits can solve.  It is simply a space problem.  If you are complaining about "frat parties and college kids," parties usually take place after permit parking remains affective.  2 hour limits mean nothing at 10PM, usually.  Your best bet is finding the best time to get home and park when the most spots are available.  Otherwise, it is just a fact of life that you may have to drive around a bit to find a spot.  The government can't erase residents or magically create more spots for you.

4.  Small businesses suffer from the PPA

Imagine it's Sunday.  Free parking (if the PPA allows it).  Chaos in the streets?  Mass mayhem?  In fact, quite the opposite!  Many people enjoy going out and supporting small businesses when the parking is free and easy.  Drive down Main Street during a weekday when parking is pay only and they are often open.  Why does paying for parking matter?  Who is benefiting but the PPA?  I could see limits, but why must we pay for them?  Again, it simply does not make sense.

5.  Our area has a parking "culture"

Our streets are narrow, hilly and downright nutty.  Following parking regulations to a T is nearly impossible and sometimes even creates more hazards.  Thinking about a hilly road near you -- do cars sometimes park a little on the sidewalks to create more room for moving cars?  Does a narrow street sometimes have cars parked on both sides of the road in the same direction?  Does the world end?  No!  If the PPA were to come to our area, sure, they'd make a ton of money, but it just wouldn't fit in with our way of life.  


These are just a few points regarding the PPA and why it might be a bit of a slippery slope with beckoning them to our area.  If you have a serious problem with parking in your neighborhood, look into vacant lots and see if it is possible to create a new parking lot with a few neighbors.  Since many residents do not have parking problems on our streets in the less dense areas, it is not the nicest gesture to make our lives worse with unneccesarry PPA officers.  

I am interested to hear your thoughts, stories and suggessions concerning parking and looking forward to reading the comments.  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

R January 31, 2013 at 03:08 AM
what prompted this discussion, are there plans to bring more ppa to the area? as crazy as it is, i think #5 hits the nail on the head, parking around here is a bit quirky, but it adds "character". i see no benefit to the residents. is there a rebuttal as to why this would be a positive move for the area?
Michael January 31, 2013 at 05:17 AM
I never see the PPA up the hills unless it's the "boot van". I consistently see police give tickets for curb parking, hydrant parking, to close to corner, etc......so I'm not sure why the area would need the PPA involved. I don't see how this would be progress nor did I think it was a major issue that needs to be handled by the PPA. Too many cars and not enough spots seem like a planning/over saturation/logistical problem. Do we just keep ticketing people in the area until they leave? Is the PPA going to create lots?
Kevin January 31, 2013 at 03:03 PM
I welcome the PPA aggressively ticketing "up the hill". Most people follow the rules of parking etiquette in this area, but there's always a few bozos that think that they can do whatever they want. This creates an unsafe situation for other motorists and pedestrians. The only way these people will learn to follow the rules is if you enforce them... If you don't like the added daily burden of LEGALLY parking your vehicle, then ride a bike, take Septa, carpool or join Philly Car Share
Andrea A. January 31, 2013 at 04:15 PM
I, too, would like to know what prompted this discussion. I recently moved to Roxborough (as in within the past 6 months) from downtown and I am ecstatic with the parking here versus down there. There isn't a need for PPA in Roxborough and it would work to deter people from even visiting. One of the reasons for our move from downtown was because people would never visit us due to the inconvenience of parking. I also like that Roxborough still maintains itself as a neighborhood, meaning that if I can't find parking, my neighbor will graciously allow me to partially block her driveway until I move my car or she needs it moved. If PPA were policing the area, her word wouldn't matter - I'd be ticketed because PPA says so, not because my friendly neighbor says so.
Stacy Litz January 31, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Thank you for your comments. I definitely should have explained the background. I have only recently joined Patch and I was looking around and found some articles and posts about parking. It seems as if the Wissahickon Neighbors Association and some residents are looking to get buddy buddy with the PPA for permit parking. I feel as if the WNA is bored and thinks this will create parking approvements. My quick response would be to rather put up signs for resident parking or create a private permit system vs the PPA. Also, the PPA have personally visited my narrow street, giving 20+ tickets at a time to people parked on "the opposite side of the road." Again, this is a harmless "culture thing." And to Kevin, if someone is parked in the center of Ridge Ave, let the cops ticket, not the PPA.
Kevin January 31, 2013 at 05:10 PM
...and what if someone is blocking a hydrant, parked 2 feet from the curb, double/triple parked, parked in a cross walk, blocking egress, blocking a handicap spot or parked diagonally on the corner? WHo should ticket then? The cops should be patrolling for serious crime, not wasting their time with inconsiderate vehicle owners... I do think it's great when neighbors on the small streets can come together and make special arrangement on issues like parking. That is a quality that makes this area unique to other neighborhoods in Philly.
Michael January 31, 2013 at 07:27 PM
I lived in South Philly for a few years and permit parking was a nightmare. One, you have to pay for the permits initially and yearly(no idea what they are now but they do increase them). Two, the "inconsiderate vehicle owners" still park where they want since they don't care about tickets. Three, if all spots are taken in your zone this then leaves you no option to park else where as you would get a ticket for parking in a different zone. Four, good luck having people over or it will cost you and them. And It actually made things worst for businesses as well... Kevin, this is the 5th district...last I checked serious crime is not rampant and really some of the violations you mentioned are serious and should be ticket by the police. If it creates an unsafe situation I would want the police involved.
Kevin January 31, 2013 at 08:24 PM
Yes, parking is a challenging part of living in the big city. Center City, UCity, SP, Manayunk, pick a neighborhood, the parking all sucks... One, yes, permits do cost money, as does gas and insurance. If you can't afford the costs associated with owning a car, then you should consider an alternative. Two, yes, people will still continue to break the law, but when their vehicle gets impounded they may begin think twice. Three, take responsibility for YOUR vehicle. You choose to live here. I mean you weren't forced to, right? You also chose to live in a home that does not include parking. If you can't find legit street parking in your zone, then either purchase monthly parking through private property owners or PPA controlled lots (the ones on Main St. come to mind). Again, if you can't afford these costs, then maybe you should consider an alternative. Four, your chums can pay to park their vehicles just like they would have to do if you lived in CC. They could also take the train or bus. Orderly and predictable parking is much better for businesses, too, not worse. Good luck telling your patrons to just park in front of a hydrant or diagonally on the corner. And Michael, yes, in the 5th we are spared much of the crime that the rest of the city has had to endure. And I want my tax dollars paying our cops to KEEP IT THAT WAY. Good luck telling a 20 year police vet that they will now spend their shift handing out parking violations. Heck, why not firefighters too?
Kenneth January 31, 2013 at 10:16 PM
Replying to Kevin's first point. 1) what if someone is blocking a hydrant If someone is completely blocking a hydrant with their car, it means that they are close by because they... drive their car. This means that in the rare case that there is a fire, it would mean they would probably notice this even before the fire trucks came by. Thus it’s likely they'd move it in time. I don't know about you, but fires in houses and businesses don't actually happen that often. Probably in the 1950s, when houses were cheap and used oil lamps for lighting... Today, you don’t hear about someone’s house catching on fire. Also realize that when a person is parked next to a fire hydrant, it’s never completely blocking it. Most of the time, people do it unknowingly or they need to park somewhere to do something really quick and blocking a fire hydrant when fires are not that common isn’t going to cause the world to end. In most cases, the fire fighter can still easily find where the hydrant is because they know where all the hydrants are in the city. Moreover, the hydrant is always at least 2 feet from the curb. So, there’s always room to still use the hydrant. The simple hose can still fit. Point is, safety is not compromised! Unless a person actually makes an attempt to block it by parking up the sidewalk jamming their car into the hydrant opening, then perhaps it can be blocked. It would take extreme effort to literally block it to render it unusable.
Kenneth January 31, 2013 at 10:47 PM
2) parked 2 feet from the curb If a car is parked 2 feet from the curb, then the driver obviously wants their car to be hit by oncoming traffic. People don’t do this because they usually value their car. Most people freak out from their car getting minor scratches. Point is, most people don’t do this, and it’s extremely rare for this to happen. Considering this rare case… the ultimate worst case scenario is that the car driver who parked like an idiot would move their car within a day. A person who parks like an idiot still uses their car believe it or not, so it probably will be moved within an hour or less in most cases. 3) double/triple parked Again, the same argument can be made when someone parks 2 feet from the curb. It would mean that they don’t value their cars and are risking damage. Usually a note from a person would have the same affect, if not more than a ticket, to teach or to deter someone from parking like an idiot. 4) parked in a cross walk blocking egress Again, this is very rare. However, let’s consider it because you think that it is a valid point. If someone is literally parking on a cross walk blocking people from walking… The worst case scenario would be that people would walk around it.
Kenneth January 31, 2013 at 10:48 PM
5) blocking a handicap spot If the person is handicapped to the point where they cannot drive, then you have a non-handicap person driving for them. In which case, handicap spots don’t really make sense, because the driver is perfectly capable of parking a little farther away. In the case when a non-handicap person parks in a handicap spot, it doesn’t make a difference! Take this example, “What happens when a real handicap person takes a handicap spot and there are no more handicap spots?” The handicap person can’t park in the handicap spot because it’s taken by a handicap person too! SO what do we DO?? Aah, let's ticket the handicap person! This solves the problem right? 6) parked diagonally on the corner? Same argument still applies from points 2) and 3). To add on, ticking the types of drivers who are inconsiderate doesn’t deter them from doing it anyway! It takes their car getting damaged for them to realize parking in such an idiotic way is a bad thing. For the most part, ticking harms the considerate people who do it by accident and they will not be blocking something for an extended period of time to really cause any trouble. Most cases are ticketing for some stupid technicalities of parking 1 ft too close or too far from blurry drawn line.
RoxGuy February 01, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Last i checked cars were the responsibility of its owner. If you can't find legal street parking then make arrangements to purchase a private parking spot. Cops giving out parking tix? Good luck with that
RoxGuy February 01, 2013 at 12:06 AM
Last i checked cars were the responsibility of its owner. If you can't find legal street parking then make arrangements to purchase a private parking spot. Cops giving out parking tix? Good luck with that
John Kelpius February 01, 2013 at 03:10 AM
The PPA is evil and only serves the interest of the PPA, and no one who lives in Roxborough! We take care of our own business around here without much need for an outside organization to take our money without fixing the underlying issues. In my opinion there is still too much common sense left here to start letting the PPA walk around our neighborhood....I think. :-)
R February 01, 2013 at 05:22 AM
bottom line is in manayunk, without a little wiggle room on parking, would be a complete nightmare. bring in the ppa, increase revenue for the city (where is that going??), decrease parking availability quality of life. that said, illegally parked cars in FRONT of hydrants, blocking driveways etc...should be ticketed by POLICE
Stacy Litz February 01, 2013 at 07:45 PM
Private towing is actually very common, too. If someone is doing something dumb, get them towed. If you've ever been to other cities, countries, etc., parking, even in totally unregulated areas, is not a disaster. The PPA makes money for the PPA, that is correct. And it seems as if Kevin believes that fining people will deter them from doing things that are "wrong," but historically, people are still going to do those things. Again, ticketing doesn't solve the problem. Personal responsibility and the fact that you car may be relocated or damaged is a better deterrent. And parking rules are not necessarily black book law. The PPA can create any arbitrary rules it wants and the city is just like, "Ok." Often this creates less viable spots for drivers and creates more problems. The PPA acts like it is trying its hardest to create spots, but having us pay to park in order to pay PPA workers who simply cannot find productive jobs that help society . . . ? How does that make sense! /rant done.
Kevin February 02, 2013 at 07:35 PM
Blocking a hydrant is illegal. Period. You can fabricate any kind of justification you want, it still doesn't change that fact. I could dish out some bs justification to highway patrol about why my speeding doesn't compromise safety. But I'll probably still get a ticket. Because speeding and blocking hydrants are against the rules. Point is, YOU don't make the rules. Lawmakers do. You only get to follow the rules. And if you choose not to follow them, more power to ya, but be prepared to face the consequences... And there are fires in this city just about every day. And people die. And firefighters put their lives on the line. They shouldn't have to worry about weaving hoses around illegally parked cars because some moron didn't "realize" that they blocked a hydrant.
Kevin February 02, 2013 at 07:49 PM
All three of these parking scenarios were happening last night when I ran down to main st to pick up some take out. All along cresson, shurs, manayunk and main. Suggesting that these kinds of inconsiderate parking practices aren't rampant in this area is simply ignorant... You may value your vehicle. Maybe it's the center of your world. But not everybody values their possessions it the way that you or I would. Some people could care less. Maybe everything they have was given to them and they didn't have to earn it. There are lots of different kinds of people in the world. You shouldn't assume that everyone thinks like you. Again, it's pretty ignorant.
Kevin February 02, 2013 at 07:57 PM
I'm not sure what you are suggesting here. Advocating removal of handicap designations? Wow. Assuming that just b/c someone has handicap designation that they cant drive. Wow... Blocking handicap parking is ILLEGAL. Period. If you want to make up new rules, then run for office. Good luck winning an election with your anti-handicap parking initiative.
Kevin February 02, 2013 at 09:00 PM
Yes, Kevin believes that it is the DUTY of this city to enforce it's laws. Of course there are going to be people who break the rules. That is just human nature. It shouldn't stop the authorities from doing their job. I don't know about in other countries, but in this is how our justice system works in the US. If you want to break the rules, then good for you. Be a rebel. But you HAVE to be prepared to face the consequences. That is called personal responsibility... And the PPA does have the power to tow; do they not? I also believe that the PPA should do ANYTHING within its power to make our streets friendlier and safer for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. If that means making new rules then so be it. You don't get to make the rules. They do. If you want to change the parking rules, then run for office or apply to become the head honcho at the PPA. Otherwise, you have to follow the same rules as the rest of us. Whether or not the rules are "fair" is another issue entirely, as we learn from childhood that not all rules can be fair. "...cannot find productive jobs that help society" Seriously? This is just mean. Not everyone can afford a college degree, nor does everyone desire to get one. PPA workers/meter maids/ticket jockeys are just doing a job for an honest paycheck. Don't hate the player; hate the game. /friendly rebuttal done.
Michael February 02, 2013 at 09:59 PM
Kevin, So you think it's completely reasonable to add additional cost, i.e. permit cost, to the people of Roxborough? So we don't have enough parking for the amount of people/cars so let bring in the PPA so they can ticket people or create a permit system. Yep, that solves the issue. That sounds like progress. Or progress towards an easier drive for you to pick up you takeout on Main St. Please tell me, where are these PPA lots in Roxborough? And good luck telling a police officer to do his or her job???
Kenneth February 03, 2013 at 12:21 AM
You do know that blacks were subjected to Jim Crow Laws. It was ILLEGAL for them to be in a designated White's only place. So applying your logic, back then, they should run for office... oh wait, they can't because they couldn't even vote back then. Same thing goes with everything else that was once ILLEGAL that DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. Legality isn't in itself justification! There is a purpose why laws are made the way they are. Have you ever walked across the street when it was a red light? You literally did a ILLEGAL action and should be charged for that, right? The same reason why its ridiculous to be charged, let's say 26 dollars, for crossing the street when it was red, when there ARE NO CARS... You can look either side and can see no cars for many blocks and you cross the street. If a police officer saw you do that, should you be charged for the sole reason that its ILLEGAL? Throwing around the word, "ILLEGAL" in caps doesn't serve as justification for things that shouldn't BE ILLEGAL. Don't kid me and say "I'M JUST FOLLOWING THE RULES... so, I'm never wrong" The point here really is that the rules sometimes don't make sense and the PPA crosses that line many many many many times. Its probably likely that you've never gotten a ticket before, and if you did, its seems like you happily pay it for some reason when you don't think it makes any sense.
Kenneth February 03, 2013 at 12:25 AM
I see that you really did miss the point because you couldn't fathom the possibility of handicap drivers. Let me do this slowly... If handicap people can drive... then aren't they capable enough to park in a spot that's farther away too? The example I was making was that, handicap spots are taken by other handicap people sometimes... therefore they are faced with the same exact scenario as if some able bodied person parked there. So it makes no difference.
Kenneth February 03, 2013 at 12:41 AM
I'm not arguing that PPA workers that literally go out and ticket people are all bad. Some are working that crappy job because they really can't find something else. Yes, they are honestly working... However the entirety of the PPA is that there are many laws that do not make sense. The more power you give them, the more laws they will make that seemingly "make sense" but don't really address the problems of non-courteous people! Giving tickets to them doesn't defer them. The problem is when honest people get ticketed and the PPA assumed them to be these idiot people who park terribly. The point is that more HONEST people that do not block traffic and do not compromise safety are hurt more than the people who really do.
ML February 04, 2013 at 07:54 PM
I've been ticketed at least 4 times over the 3 years I've lived in Manayunk...all deservedly, and I have to say, I've learned my lessons. Although sometimes annoying, I wish parking was enforced a little bit more. There have been countless times I've been unable to turn corners or safely drive down a street because of people parked too close to corners and such. I admit, the first time I got a ticket for parking something like 5 feet from a corner I was angry, but that went away the first time I couldn't adequately turn because of a vehicle parked too closely. In my experience, the parking laws exist for a reason, especially in Manayunk. Also - I've only ever seen a cop giving a ticket ONCE, for a car illegally parked partly in my neighbor's handicapped spot, and they had obviously called about it (the same people who called the cops at 10pm on a saturday while I was having a dinner party...but whatever) I see the PPA all over Manayunk and especially in my old neighborhood (up the hill), I'd see them every day. Except not in the rain, because the PPA doesn't ticket in the rain.
Kevin February 04, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Michael, I think that I have made my opinion on this issue very clear. As you and others have pointed out, the street parking around here stinks. It will only continue to get worse unless something is done. Doing nothing or continuing to do what we've been doing doesn't work.The PPA has a job to do. I say let them do their job. Roxborough shouldn't be any different than Old City or SP when it comes to enforcing the rules... Rules aren't rules, unless they apply to EVERYONE. It isn't my problem or your neighbor's problem or the the city's problem where you park your vehicle. It's your problem. If you refuse to take responsibility for yourself and your vehicle then you should pay the consequences. Can't find lot parking in Rox? Idk, maybe put an add out on CL? Or the paper? Go to a civic meeting, introduce yourself and ask around there? I'm sure someone near you would be more than happy to take your money in exchange for a parking space or garage. There is a big PPA lot on main. Too far to walk, Michael? Don't feel like taking on that hill every day and night?? Too bad! You chose to live here
Kevin February 04, 2013 at 10:33 PM
Kenny. Please don't compare your little insignificant anti-PPA rebellion to the civil rights struggle. That argument is disgusting and insulting.
ML February 05, 2013 at 10:14 PM
Kenneth also thinks homes don't catch on fire anymore...even though there was a Roxborough house fire last week...?
Ines Stelzer February 17, 2013 at 11:12 AM
Are you kidding me? If you park near a hydrant the chances are your nearby? Really, well I live on Silverwood, and every Friday & Saturday we get all the main street goers, they park on our street and walk down to main. Then when the bars close they take cabs to their cars. Meanwhile, we have to drive around, park a block or more away because these dopes take our spots, meanwhile there's an empty public parking lot that they can use, but no they park in front of our houses AND they park near the fire hydrant. I doubt if a house caught on fire they would hear it and more their car. You don't hear of houses catching on fire too often?? There were a few fires in Roxborough in the past few years. How can you say safety is not compromised? If a car is 2 fee from a hydrant, they have to work around some car to get their hose hooked-up, meanwhile the house is burning. If it wasn't a problem, why do thy give out big fines for doing so. If you don't like the parking in Manayunk, move somewhere else, if you can't find parking do what we've done for 30 years, drive around til you find one. Park like you own the place, then you deserve a ticket.


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