Way back in the Rendell years, parking was banned on the north side of City Hall, but the cars have come back. In recent days, you could see more than two dozen vehicles parked on the sidewalk. Some had been displaced from their usual curbside spots ringing City Hall by the construction project on Dilworth Plaza.
Using the sidewalk as a parking lot for the displaced might be easier to understand if there weren't any parking lots and garages in Center City. But there are!
This park-where-you-please attitude is just another example of the "special consideration" an in-crowd thinks it is entitled to. That's the euphemism Traffic Court judges and employees used when they discussed fixing tickets for the politically connected.
Any other driver given a traffic ticket would face fines, lose his driving privileges, and pay a higher insurance bill. But the well-connected got "special consideration," according to a recent federal indictment that detailed the worst examples of the practice.
The late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, in explaining how pornography is hard to define, concluded, "I know it when I see it." When you see cars at City Hall without tickets on their windshields for being illegally parked, you know you're seeing the special consideration provided to muckety-muck officials.
If these personal cars of the Philadelphia elite aren't ordered removed during the Dilworth Plaza construction, they should at least be banned again when the $50 million project is finished next year.
Of course, delivery and work trucks will sometimes need to briefly pull up on City Hall's north apron. Security vehicles, too. But ambulatory city executives and elected officials should be as capable as anyone else to walk from a legal parking spot or lot over to City Hall.
They get a taxpayer-provided paycheck and benefits, the satisfaction of steering the city forward, and, sometimes, the public's gratitude. But their compensation doesn't include the right to be a public nuisance by parking their cars on sidewalks that were put there for pedestrian use.