PPA gives scooters owners a break

Posted: October 27, 2013

PHILADELPHIA Philadelphia's scooter drivers are free to pull onto sidewalks again. But soon they will need a permit to stay there without getting a ticket.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority has decided to begin issuing permits allowing scooters to be parked on residential sidewalks in response to public outrage over citations the agency began issuing last week.

Applications will be taken starting in early November with the goal of having permits issued by early December, the PPA said in a statement.

PPA spokesman Marty O'Rourke declined to discuss how much the permits will cost, saying those details would likely be released next week.

In the meantime, the PPA will "relax enforcement" on sidewalks, according to the release.

Parking on city sidewalks has always been illegal. But unlike the Police Department, which has strictly enforced the law, the PPA has traditionally ticketed only when scooters were blatantly blocking sidewalks or alleys, O'Rourke said.

That changed last week when the PPA - in response to confusion over the unequal enforcement - began giving out $76 tickets around Center City and $55 tickets elsewhere, O'Rourke said.

Public pushback was quick and strong and heard heavily from the district represented by Councilman Mark Squilla, which includes South Philadelphia, Center City, Chinatown, Northern Liberties, Fishtown, Kensington, and Port Richmond.

The decision to issue parking permits followed a meeting between Squilla and PPA officials, the agency said.

Brenden Concannon, who received his first parking ticket outside his home in South Philadelphia, said he was willing to pay for a permit because his neighbors who drive cars have to. But he thinks it's unnecessary.

"I totally would like it to go back to how it was because I really don't think it affects anyone. As long as you're doing the right thing and making sure it's out of the way, it should be fine," Concannon said Friday, adding that he locks his scooter to his staircase for theft protection.

O'Rourke said the permits would be issued only for residential areas and would not be valid in commercial districts.




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