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March 23, 2016

'Parkadelphia' app provides tool for citywide PPA rules

Project from Office of Innovation & Technology aggregates street level parking data

Apps Parking
032316_Parkadelphia Source/Parkadelphia

Parkadelphia shows map of PPA rules and options for drivers across the city.

Parking in any city for an extended period of time can be a roll of the dice or a major headache. It always stings to find one of the Philadelphia Parking Authority's blue and white notices tucked under your wipers, but thanks to the initiative of a local developer, Philadelphians now have an accessible new resource to clarify the city's parking rules.

The 'Parkadelphia' app, created by Lauren Ancona, debuted this week as a visualization tool for drivers to pinpoint exactly what they're able to do with their vehicles on blocks all across the city.

Ancora began the project as a hobby using PPA data but was later brought on by the city's Office of Innovation & Technology to create a comprehensive tool that shows where streets are metered, how long you can park on each block and where you can safely park with a residential permit.

Beyond the value of the tool on an individual level, the aggregate information and parking geography offers a few interesting insights about how much, or how little, residents have taken advantage of certain options to improve parking in their neighborhoods.

As PlanPhilly notes, residents on many blocks can convert to permit parking if 75 percent of neighbors sign a petition requesting PPA permits. While this is fairly common in locations like Center City and University City – represented by blue lines on the Parkadelphia app – other areas feeling pressure from rapid development could potentially benefit from this approach if neighbors are in agreement about it.

Northern Liberties, Fishtown and South Philadelphia stand out as examples where this approach could offer some relief. The upshot is that there would less parking available for those who enter the city from outside, whether for a commute or for recreation. This can also have a negative spillover effect on local businesses.

Ancora is still working to complete the app in full, adding new features and zeroing in on each individual parking meter, but the general availability of PPA rules in one scannable location now enables city officials and Philadelphia residents to evaluate how those rules can be improved. More to the point, for now, it can help you avoid getting a ticket.