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Old Posted Aug 19, 2015, 4:15 PM
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Cro Burnham Cro Burnham is offline
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Originally Posted by Knight Hospitaller View Post
Is there a compelling reason why the City wouldn't want to cash in? The size of the lot would not appear to provide significant additional parking for One Parkway.
You know, for all the lip service the City govt gives to "going green", it is addicted to keeping parking and other unnecessary and inappropriate conveniences for select employees with perks. Such hypocrites.

The City could make a killing unloading this and many other surface lots scattered throughout Center City, but this would inconvenience various department directors, judges, politicians, aides, etc., who get City cars and free Center City spots.

So while they go on and on advocating bike and transit usage, they smugly retain their legacy auto-centric free car privileges at our expense, both financially and in terms of cost to the streetscape.

This can basically be explained by the fact that our municipal executives and politicians, with few exceptions, have not an urbanist, but rather a proto-suburbanist mentality.

Most come from largely car-oriented outlying neighborhoods like the far Northeast, Chestnut Hill, Roxborough, Mt. Airy, Overbrook. I'll bet few of the higher level City workers from those neighborhoods take the train if they can have a free City car and spot.

But paradoxically, those who come from more typical inner city row house neighborhoods probably hold strongest to the suburban car-oriented ideal. Many (I'd say a large majority) of people from old school inner city neighborhoods, like generations before them, ultimately pine for greener pastures, lawns, driveways, peace and quiet of the 'burbs. Having a car (especially having a free City car), even if you live near the el, subway, trolley, or bus, is a slice of aspirational proto-suburban luxury not to be surrendered lightly.

These are the vast majority of people - not "Center City" types - who who work for City government, so it's no shock they cling to their free car and free parking perks. They are not remotely interested in bourgeois urbanistic notions of consistent streetwalls and lively downtown streetscapes. Most City workers view Center City as a work place to escape from at the end of the workday, preferably in the comfort of a private vehicle. Most have no interest in Center City as a neighborhood or as a cohesive architectural setting.

The "Greater Center City" urbanist mentality that most on this board have is very poorly represented in Philadelphia City Government, because most people who have the mentality don't work for City government.

So I think that shitty lot at 16th & Cherry will be with us until our "Greater Center City" urbanist mentality gains a lot more political clout in this town. That could be many years from now. I think this partly explains why Philly often seems urbanistically so far behind equivalent but more design-progressive cities like Boston, Seattle, SF, etc.

Maybe Kenney will surprise us with some progressive actions in this regard, but I doubt he'll want to rock the boat that much. And make no mistake, taking car and parking perks from high-level City employees would seriously rock the boat, at least from most politicians' perspectives.