Scooter parking problems in Philadelphia

October 24, 2013

Are Philadelphia’s scooter parking laws fair – and even if so, is there enough space for all the Vespas and Piaggios in the City of Brotherly Love? Recently, NBC 10 featured a story about the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s crackdown on sidewalk scooter parking. Last week, the PPA’s ticketing “pilot period” ended, resulting in $76 tickets for scooters parked incorrectly.


Tickets for ALL the scooters in Taipei! From The Kozy Shack

The state of Pennsylvania does not allow any motor vehicles to park or drive on sidewalks, but loosened that regulation for scooter owners the past four years while it attempted to install new parking kiosks. Over the past four year, the only scooters that received tickets were those parked in the middle of a sidewalk or walkway, or on a homeowner’s property without permission. Now, even if a scooter owner parks their scooter on the sidewalk in front of their own home, they are at risk of receiving a ticket, a regulation the PPA is considering changing.

Many Philadelphians have complained they were not made aware of the scooter parking changes, but PPA spokesman Marty O’Rourke claims the PPA website made the changes known two months ago, and enforcement officers issued warnings for five days leading up to the changes.

Guidelines for scooter parking in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Parking Authority lists more than 40 parking zones that accommodate scooter parking. Scoot Philly lists ways scooterists can receive tickets, including:

  • Parking next to or chaining your scooter to a parking meter
  • Parking next  to a fire hydrant
  • Parking on the sidewalk in a way that disrupts traffic flow
  • Parking in a space without paying for it.

Note that drivers can park on the sidewalk against a building or fence – but only if the property owner permits it. (If scooter drivers don’t know whether the landlord permits it, obviously it’s safest not to.)

One solution scooter owners are proposing to avoid citations and fees is the PPA’s creation of scooter parking permits with security capabilities. As of now, the city does not provide locking devices. O’Rourke expressed hopes that the PPA would have at least some locking devices installed within the next six months before an eventual wider implementation.

Toronto also cracks down on sidewalk parking for scooters

Toronto also cracked down on sidewalk scooter parking recently; there, the offense is punishable by a slightly less expensive $60 fee. Toronto scooter owners were especially upset about the fees as a news release about the crackdown was released the same day that enforcement began.

scooter parking

Washington, D.C. allows sidewalk scooter parking. From DCMatt.

As Philadelphia and Toronto tighten regulations, some cities are making an effort to become more scooter-friendly. In October 2012, the Boston Transportation Department expanded on-street scooter parking with a rate of $0.25 per hour with no time limit, allowing scooter owners to feed the meter as long as they’d like. The City of Boston’s website cites less congestion, less air pollution, and less space required for curbside parking as the reasons for bolstering scooter parking. Austin allows scooters to park for free at city parking meters for up to twelve hours before becoming eligible to receive a citation.

As the PPA faces push-back from scooter users, including a 250+ member Facebook group called Hostile City Scooter Club Philadelphia, changes may be made to scooter parking policies. But for now, Philadelphia scooterists had better follow the city’s newly enforced rules.

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Category: Regulations

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