Chestnut Hill parking under discussion

Last week, members of the Traffic, Transportation, and Parking Committee of the Chestnut Hill Community Association met to discuss an emerging problem resulting from enforcement of parking regulations in previously free Chestnut Hill parking lots – the spill-over of cars onto neighborhood streets.

In May, the Philadelphia Parking Authority began patrolling several parking lots administered by the Chestnut Hill Parking Foundation.  The patrols were to ensure that fees were being collected and that violations were being enforced.

Two years ago the CHPF established an arrangement to provide free parking for customers in the lots. The cost of the adminstering the lots would be subsidized by local merchants.

However, CHPF officials told NewsWorks earlier this year that not enough merchants were contributing and offered two explanations – the businesses either didn’t want to, or couldn’t afford to.

Now that parking is no longer free and payment of fees is being enforced consumer parking has started to spread into into neighborhood streets and residential areas.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” noted resident Susan Hemphill. “The stores are successful, therefore there’s more traffic, and they’re being pushed into the neighborhood to displace more people like us.”

The street most affected is the 100 block of East Evergreen St., which hosts two CHPF parking lots that charge $1 an hour.

To offset the $1 fee, some merchants provide quarters or tokens for patrons using the lots.

While speculation arose that many patrons are unaware of the potential for discounted or even free parking, in the words of CHCA board member Mark Keintz, “by the time they park on the street, that decision has already been made.”

To combat the problem – which was said not to be pervasive, but limited to a few “pockets,” Keintz suggested that flyers be created explaining the availability of free and discounted parking in the CHPF lots.

Celeste Hardester, community manager for the CHCA, proposed a larger meeting to bring the situation before a wider audience. Keintz will bring the issue to a CHPF meeting on July 17 for further consideration.

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