I could not agree more with letter writer Nancy Cappiello, who clearly describes the issue of parking difficulties in our South Philadelphia neighborhood – thanks to restaurant stands in the street (“Parking problems,” Oct. 6).
I have been a resident of Passyunk Crossing my entire life. I have watched businesses grow and thrive over the years. I also recall when they tore down the old Alhambra movie theater on the 1600 block to create a huge parking lot between 12th Street and Passyunk Avenue. That was meant to accommodate all the new customers and diners coming into the neighborhood.
Like Cappiello, I also remember seeing the change from parking meters to kiosks. It all stems from the attraction of businesses and restaurants in a dynamic neighborhood. Then came the pandemic lockdown, which motivated area restaurants to erect what were supposed to be legal, temporary dining spaces in the street, which of course took up many parking spaces. (Cappiello counted 20 of them.)
Some put up just temporary fencing while others erected what resemble small buildings complete with windows and roofs. They even had portable heaters set up during the colder months. I will not name those places, but anyone who walks down the Avenue knows which restaurants have done the most elaborate construction, including roofs over the entire sidewalk.
It was all supposed to be temporary to “save” businesses and jobs. We all understand that. But with restrictions slowly lifting and the date for removing them getting closer, that “temporary” allowance may become permanent, thanks to a bill approved by Mayor Kenney and co-sponsored by Councilman Allan Domb and others.
So what was meant to be only a temporary inconvenience may be turning into a permanent fixture. Those restaurant customers and others who patronize neighborhood businesses or work in them must find places to park. They often drive around to the side streets like mine where there are no meters or kiosks and park wherever they find room. Meanwhile, neighbors who live there must hunt for spaces including the Acme parking lot, where they can be towed.
Some of us have invested in permit parking stickers to help secure space on other streets. It feels like a game of checkers sometimes. You jump from space to space to keep from being ticketed, or worse, towed.
I am sorry that Nancy Cappiello has to look for a new doctor with more convenient parking. We certainly do not wish for any worker to be fired. But we must find a better solution than destroying what precious parking spaces there are to accommodate structures never meant to be placed in the street. Our political leaders and representatives must apply common-sense solutions instead.
– Gloria C. Endres