Editor’s note: The following was recently sent to the Philadelphia Parking Authority by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. The Bicycle Coalition continues to work with other organizations and agencies to remedy the situation of blocked rights-of-way and congestion, in addition to our advocacy for new, protected bike lanes. The following memo is an idea we recently spoke with the Philadelphia Parking Authority about.
October 15, 2018
To: Scott Petri, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Parking Authority
From: Randy LoBasso, Sarah Clark Stuart, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
Subject: Draft Proposal for Loading Zones/Philadelphia Parking Authority
Dear Mr. Petri:
As noted in the recent Philadelphia Inquirer story, Truck traffic is closing Center City streets. What is the city going to do about it?, the city of Philadelphia needs to better regulate its delivery vehicles, the drivers of which regularly park in travel lanes, bike lanes, and on sidewalks.
While there are new ideas coming from the Philadelphia Parking Authority—including increased fines for delivery trucks that block the right of way—congestion is anecdotally worse than it’s been in Philadelphia in decades, and increased fines will need to be supplemented with additional measures.
Delivery companies, noted the Inquirer, “factor in parking violations as part of the cost of doing business, and are able to register with the PPA and be charged a monthly “invoice” for parking tickets.”
This is a problem Philadelphia cyclists face on a daily basis, especially on Philadelphia’s most-used streets, like Spruce and Pine in Center City; 13th Street in Center City and North Philadelphia; Spring Garden Street in Center City and West Philadelphia; 22nd Street in South Philadelphia and Center City; and Snyder Avenue in South Philadelphia.
The cycling community has actually taken it upon themselves to create ‘Human-protected” bike lane protests, and have actually successfully sued private businesses to protect bike lanes.
The problem is not going away. We propose the PPA re-think its Loading Zone policy for businesses adjacent to bike lanes.
Currently, only businesses are required to request loading zones next to their businesses. As noted on the PPA application, the “applicant must be engaged in a business or profession, or as representative of a firm or corporation.”
If approved, the applicant must pay $250 per 23 feet of space, or $500 per meter removal in University City or Center City; or, $150 per 23 feet of space or $300 per meter removal, in all other areas of the city. Businesses must additionally pay $150 per year in Center City and University City, or $75 in all other areas of the city.
The Bicycle Coalition proposes the PPA should create a new policy in which businesses adjacent to bike lanes (either next to, or across the street from) are waived the loading zone installation fee, to more easily allow the establishment of loading zones in business districts and help keep delivery vehicles out of bicyclists’ right of way.
In addition to heightened fees, this would give the businesses which receive deliveries during rush hour more incentive to provide adequate parking for loading and unloading. It would additionally allow short-term parking for customer pick-up.
We believe the already-existing yearly loading zone fee, plus the potential increased fine for a delivery vehicle parked in a bike lane, could help keep this proposal revenue neutral for the PPA, which would guarantee no loss for the Philadelphia School District due to this policy.
We look forward to hearing back from you about our proposal.
Sarah Clark Stuart
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