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Philly Parkers Get a Free Ride

Increased parking meter rates caused meters to jam, resulting in something the PPA didn't foresee: Free parking.
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The Philadelphia Parking Authority’s habit of regularly emptying city drivers’ wallets has finally backfired.

Meter rates for Center City parking jumped to a whopping $2 per hour earlier this year, causing an unexpected phenomenon for city drivers: Free parking.

The one-quarter-for-seven-minutes rate caused a huge increase in coins, overloading and jamming parking meters all over Center City. In turn, the jammed meters have allowed drivers to park for free, reports the AP and the Inquirer.

In addition to the accidental free parking, the meter increase to $3 an hour, which was supposed to happen in July, was abandoned by the PPA.

But don’t get too comfortable in winning this battle, parkers. If we’ve learned anything from this city’s Parking Wars, it’s that the PPA usually wins.

The unexpected jamming issue has forced the parking authority to empty meters six or seven days a week, instead of the original three days a week, reports the Inquirer's Paul Nussbaum. In addition to increasing collection days, they are shortening collection routes so that meter attendants don’t have to carry heavy bags full of the coins too far.

This can only mean more workers and more shifts, and that spells out a need for more money. Now that’s a true Catch-22.

Multi-space kiosks that accept credit cards and cash are supposed to replace meters from Spring Garden to Bainbridge in 2010.