Sunday, November 22, 2015

About that Parking Lot in South Philly

You know, the Acme lot at 9th and Passyunk. I wrote about it last year. The Acme and the 202 space parking lot and a few other things are located on a superblock that was the site of the old Moyamensing Prison. The lot is much too large for the store, but I guess the designers couldn't think of anything else to do with the land.

Anyway, this part of South Philly is famous for its tight parking, particularly at night, so a while ago the Acme quietly started letting people park in the lot overnight. Well, one thing has led to another; when I visited the lot at 10 a.m. this morning, a Sunday, the lot was nearly full, and a very substantial portion of the cars had the above flyer under a windshield wiper. It gently suggests that the freebie only works from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

You could see this coming a mile away. Free parking spaces attract cars the way a dead horse attracts flies. And the cars are about as good at following instructions as the flies are.

As I argued last year, this should be a paid lot, similar to the one next to the Eastern State Penitentiary in Fairmount.

That's step one. Step two is to redevelop this site along the lines of the Piazza in Northern Liberties -- a series of perimeter buildings around a center square. Build the new Acme first, over on Passyunk where it has always belonged. Then demolish the existing store and complete the redevelopment of the site.

The area above the new store should be given over to parking, just as happens on South Street, over the old SuperFresh (now an Acme) and the Whole Foods next door.

The paid lot, and the follow-on garage, would not attract people looking for free parking, but it would give people who couldn't find free parking a place to go. When you're tired enough, and frustrated enough, you're happy to have even a paid place to park, so you can go home and go to sleep. Also it would be a good resource for the many restaurants in the neighborhood.

See also Once There Was a Prison, Off-Street Parking at the Italian Market - Current Conditions.

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