During the DNC, the Kenney administration began enforcing parking rules on South Broad, and the street already looks and feels better. More importantly, the street is safer, too. No more blocked turning lanes; no more drivers and passengers suddenly exiting vehicles in the center of the street; no more pedestrians suddenly popping out from between parked vehicles; no more dangerous traffic conflicts as drivers in the left-hand lane try to parallel park in the median.
That's why we're urging the Kenney administration to direct the Philadelphia Police Department to continue enforcing parking rules on South Broad Street after the DNC ends.
The median parking is dangerous and ugly, and yet no one has been willing to touch it for fear of political blowback. As Kenney himself has said, Broad Street median parking is "not a good thing" for safety. After all, the practice is illegal in the first place, and for good reason.
Mayor Kenney committed to a "Vision Zero" policy for street safety during his 2015 campaign, and South Broad is one of the most dangerous places for pedestrians in the entire city. Median parking plays an important part in that, and the DNC provides the perfect opportunity to fix it.
No one is currently parked in the South Broad median, so nothing is being taken away from anyone. The bandaid has already been ripped off, and few people seem upset about it. In fact, plenty of people are thrilled about the new look of South Broad Street.
What's more, many residents who live near South Broad have commented that there haven't been any noticeable changes in parking availability in the area, even with temporary parking enforcement and all the extra people in town for the DNC.
But this shouldn't be surprising. The median only contains about 200 (illegal) parking spaces spread over 16 blocks, so of course nobody noticed a difference. The rest of South Philly's parking supply absorbed the demand pretty easily.
Mayor Kenney has a rare opportunity to build on this momentum and kick off a new initiative with PHS and other design groups to beautify and further improve safety on the South Broad median with planters, greenery, and more generous pedestrian space as part of his Vision Zero campaign. The Mural Arts median makeover for the DNC was a good start, but we know Broad Street's median can be even better, safer, and more welcoming, and not just during the occasional national event.
If a safer South Broad is good enough for the DNC delegates, shouldn't it be good enough for the average Philadelphian?