Hit-or-miss parking

Some say game-day strategies are improving in certain sections of the neighborhood. Others say the plan needs retooling.

By Fred Durso Jr.
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Sep. 2, 2004

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While some might be enjoying America's favorite pastime at the Phillies' new ballpark, Ron Mento is complaining that stadium-related parking problems are nothing to cheer about.

"It's not fair that I can't park my car a half-block from my house when the Phillies are playing," said Mento.

The resident is perturbed by the recent ticketing and towing of vehicles without a permit during Phillies games this year. The team plays 81 games at home.

The permit-parking policy is leaving Mento and others without a place to legally park their cars, the resident claims.

Mento's street, the 2600 block of South Sartain Street, is one of a few exempt from the Philadelphia Parking Authority's stadium-area permit program. Neighbors who have permits park in a designated "zone."

Without a permit, Mento said, he can barely find parking on his block or other "smaller streets" near Sartain that don't require the stickers.

A delay in construction of a new stadium parking lot, along with an insufficient police presence, leads to an influx of even more vehicles during games, contended Mento.

"In certain areas [such as Packer Park and the 3100 and 3200 blocks between 10th and Broad streets], the police don't give you the option to park," said Mento, 51. "In certain sections near me, it's hit or miss."

But the parking authority insists it has made strides over the years to combat problems during games.

Stadium-district parking permits, which are free, allow residents to park legally during home games, said Richard Dickson, director of strategic planning and administration at the PPA.

Residents are able to receive one permit per registered vehicle, said Dickson.

Signs provided by the PPA are posted throughout the city informing drivers without permits where not to park during stadium events.

However, Mento said these signs have been up continuously over the past two weeks and have not been removed as of late, adding to the confusion over when permit parking is in effect.

"These signs have permanently been chained to a fence," said Mento. "[The Phillies'] schedule is such that they can't put them up and take them down at any time."

This also could be confusing to visitors to the area, who would have no inkling whether a game was underway, he added.

Officials point out that free guest passes are available to those participating in the stadium district permit-parking program, which has been implemented by neighborhood groups and City Council.

The South Philadelphia Communities Civic Association has worked in conjunction with the PPA to create an overlay to the permit program. The civic group's input led to stadium-district parking restrictions during Eagles games and, more recently, during Phillies games.

During the Eagles season, the SPCCA program covers residents from Oregon to Packer avenues and Seventh to Broad streets, said Tony Greco, the group's president.

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