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The International Association of Transportation Regulators Announces Zakaria Elbaroudi, from the City of Philadelphia, as 2018 International Driver of the Year

The IATR is pleased to announce that it has selected Zakaria Elbaroudi, certified Taxicab Driver in the City of Philadelphia, as 2018 International Driver of the Year. The IATR’s Driver of the Year Award is recognition by government transportation professionals to a driver who has provided excellent service to passengers, and has likewise performed in an extraordinary manner that exemplifies the highest level of the profession.

Zakaria has been a certified taxicab driver in Philadelphia since January 2007.  During his last 11 years as a  taxicab driver, Zakaria has exhibited hard work and dedication to his profession.  He has a clean regulatory record and not a single complaint has been filed against him. William Schmid, the Deputy Director of the Taxicab and Limousine Division of the Philadelphia Parking Authority, nominated Zakaria, not only for his impeccable record and impressive work ethic, but his drive to go above and beyond in his duty.

One story in particular shows his dedication to the profession, along with his strong moral and ethical compass. On several occasions, Zakaria was  called upon to service an elderly man who lives in South Philadelphia for transportation to the grocery store, doctor appointments and occasionally the bank.  On February 10, 2018, Zakaria received one such call and took the gentleman to the doctor and then to the bank. On the trip home the customer reported to the driver that he could not find $1,500 in cash that he had just withdrawn from the bank. Zakaria  returned to the bank with the man and searched the car, but could not find the money.

The following day, Zakaria and his partner decided to do a much more thorough search of their vehicle.  They unbolted the backseat from the floor where they found the missing cash. When Zakaria went to return the money to the elderly passenger he was informed that the passenger had passed away.  Zakaria immediately returned the money to the Taxicab and Limousine Division after which the money was able to be returned to the estate executor. “Zakaria Elbouradi showed his natural ability to do the right thing, setting a positive example for professional drivers everywhere,” said IATR President Matt Daus, “and we are pleased to acknowledge his conduct and career accomplishments by presenting him with the 2018 IATR Driver of the Year Award.”

The taxicab industry is struggling to gain and maintain public confidence, and the actions of Zakaria Elbaroudi deserve to be recognized. His honesty and dedication are an example to his fellow drivers and a credit to this industry.   “Zakaria exhibited care, compassion and a strong desire to do the right thing rather than attempt to profit from another’s misfortune.  These are stellar qualities everyone should emulate.”  Said IATR chairman, Jim Ney.  

Zakaria works on a full-time daily basis by leasing a taxicab with another driver. He shares a lease on medallion taxicab P-0151 and like many other taxicab drivers, struggles to make ends meet. He currently resides in New Jersey with his wife and two children.

About The International Association of Transportation Regulators

The International Association of Transportation Regulators (IATR) is a non-profit organization serving and educating government transportation officials globally since 1987. IATR is growing peer group of taxi, limousine and for-hire transportation regulators, dedicated to improving the practice of licensing, enforcement and administration of for-hire transportation through the sharing of information and resources. For further information, visit IATR’s website at www.iatr.global.

 

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PPA Executive Director: Fatal NY Limo Accident a Reminder that more Oversight Needed for Uber, Lyft too

The deaths of 20 people in a limousine accident in New York last weekend shocked us all. The reports of basic safety failures by that limousine company dovetail with concerns I have raised about the current state of regulatory oversight in Philadelphia.

Recent state legislation called Act 164 banned the practice of inspecting taxicabs once every six months and now limits those inspections to only once every four years. Those inspections commonly revealed frightening safety violations. Act 164 even removed the regulator from the process of doing background checks on taxicab drivers. Drivers are now issued their official three-month driving certification without any training or regulatory review.

While we have all embraced the convenience of ride-sharing services, those private vehicles are subject to almost no inspections. They are never subject to a pre-service inspection and less than 5 percent of transportation network company vehicles are inspected in any year. Regulators in Philadelphia do not certify ride-share drivers. Regulators do not know who is out there driving or even which vehicle is engaged in ride-share services.

Unfortunately, the trend away from safety regulation has now reached the limousine industry. At the behest of limousine owners, the Pennsylvania House recently passed House Bill 2473, which will cut limousine regulatory funding. This cut will result in less safety enforcement. Act 164 has already reduced regulatory staffing by 55 percent to only 19 people.  Those 19 people must attempt to regulate much more than 20,000 vehicles in Philadelphia. How much lower can that number go before there is effectively zero enforcement?

I recognize that most people who provide taxicab, ride-share, and limousine service try to do the right thing for their customers. But reasonable oversight is important for public safety.

The public has the right to demand that the “for hire” vehicles they enter every day adhere to best practices, including those related to safety and performance. We confirm that standards are met by inspecting and testing compliance with approved guidelines. To test compliance, the scope of regulatory review must be reasonable and the testing process must be adequately funded. Appropriate compliance testing is simply not happening in Philadelphia due to funding cuts and inspection prohibitions. Now is the time to address this issue. We cannot wait for a tragic accident to move us to action.

As a first step, HB 2473 should move no further toward becoming law; it will only weaken limousine safety regulation. Then, current vehicle inspection prohibitions should be eliminated and funding restored. Specifically, limousine assessments should remain unchanged or be modified to a surcharge of $2 per trip. The current ride-share and taxicab assessments should be eliminated and replaced with a 50-cent surcharge on each trip in Philadelphia. Other cities already use this surcharge, and it works.

If these steps are put in place, more frequent vehicle inspections and enhanced real-time enforcement on the street will happen. Enforcement officers have the ability to inspect limousines and other vehicles while in the course of service. If a vehicle is in an unsafe condition, the enforcement officer can place it out of service on the spot. That is the type of commonsense oversight that will generate compliance with commercial standards and may ultimately save lives.

Because the law directs two-thirds of ride-share assessments in Philadelphia to the School District, annual funding for our schools would also increase by nearly $10 million. I urge our legislators to focus on this vital public safety issue. I am willing to help in that process in any way.

-Scott Petri

Executive Director
Philadelphia Parking Authority

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Where to Park for Terror Behind the Walls

You might as well start preparing yourself for something a little frightening this fall because Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind the Walls is back, along with zombies, ghosts and ghouls lurking in every nook and cranny.

From Sept. 21 – Nov. 10, 2018 (Check this schedule for select dates) the historical prison opens up its haunted halls for the public to experience some of the scariest sights they have ever seen. Zombie prison guards, nurses, and prisoners will make it hard to fall asleep after this spooky experience. Don’t believe us? Play the video below to get a sneak peek.


Now, Onto Parking:

Thankfully, our 19th and Callowhill lot is just a few blocks away from Eastern State, and there’s no need to worry: Our lot has a strict “NO ZOMBIE ZONE” so parking won’t be a nightmare. If you do end up heading to the amped up history lesson at Eastern State, check out our parking rates below:

19TH & CALLOWHILL STREET LOT

1901 Callowhill St.
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Rates:

  • Evening (enter after 5 p.m., exit by 6 a.m. Monday-Friday) – $9.00
  • Weekends – $12.00 (flat rate per day)

Need additional parking guidance? Reach out to our team on Facebook or Twitter and we will be at your service!

(Photo Cred: Eastern State Penitentiary)

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City, SEPTA and PPA Join Forces to Tackle Center City Congestion

PHILADELPHIA – City officials joined with partners at SEPTA and the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) today to announce a new effort to address Center City congestion. This will kick off starting September 24, with an initial focus on illegal movements along Market and Chestnut Streets that impact Philadelphians riding buses, walking, bicycling and driving.

In recent years, Center City’s growth has contributed to an increase in the number of pedestrians, transit riders, bikers and drivers of all types that share its narrow street grid. Philadelphia has grown by more than 50,000 residents and jobs since 2010, and Center City is now the second most dense downtown in the United States – behind only midtown Manhattan. The resulting traffic congestion impacts the lives of residents throughout the city, costing them valuable time, and limits their ability to reliably access employment opportunities and amenities.

“People need to get to where they are going – to work, to school, to see their loved ones – and not worry about getting stuck in traffic. It’s that simple. That is why the City is joining forces with SEPTA and the PPA to put this project in motion. We don’t need any new legislation, we are just enforcing laws already on the books,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.

Congestion contributes to higher operating costs for SEPTA, and impacts service for customers.

“Our region is Pennsylvania’s economic engine, and it works because mass transit works,” said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. “Unmanaged traffic compromises our ability to move people through a dense, urban area. This partnership is crucial to ensure that SEPTA can keep the economy moving.”

During this enforcement effort, the PPA will be placing a special emphasis on no stopping and standing violations within vital bus lanes along with other offenses that add to congestion and create public safety issues.

“We are proud to partner with SEPTA, and the City of Philadelphia to deter illegal parking in vital bus lanes,” said PPA Executive Director Scott Petri. “Our goal is not to issue tickets, but rather deter if not stop unsafe behavior and eliminate congestion from our streets.”

The initial focus of this initiative will enhance enforcement of the bus, bike, and right-turn only lanes on Market and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia. Chestnut Street will be prioritized for enforcement between 22nd and 10th Streets; Market will be enforced between 7th and 13th. The only acceptable use of the lanes are right turns. All other activity including stopping/standing, loading, or traveling through the intersection is prohibited.

To aid the Market and Chestnut enforcement effort, fresh line striping of bus lanes was completed on both Market and Chestnut streets. SEPTA supervisors have been providing warnings and educational pamphlets to drivers in violation in recent weeks. On September 24 enhanced enforcement will commence.

This a joint initiative of the City of Philadelphia, SEPTA and the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

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PPA to Participate In Annual Park(ing) Day on Friday – September 21st

 

On September 21, you’ll probably notice miniature parks sprouting up in some of Philadelphia’s metered parking spots; parks that weren’t there the day before. That’s because Philadelphia is one of many cities around the world hosting International Park(ing) Day.

Here’s the scoop:

Park(ing) Day is an annual event dedicated to showcasing how public spaces can be designed to better serve us all. For the past 10 years, local businesses, artists, and even individual citizens, have worked together to transform some of our on street parking spaces into alluring urban dwellings called parklets. We’re talking everything from miniature parks to miniature cafes popping up on Philly’s metered parking spaces.

In Philadelphia alone, you can expect to see over 50 parklets sprouting up throughout the day on Friday, September 21st — and if you’re in the area of 7th and Market Streets, our recycling-themed parklet will give you a convenient spot to sip on your coffee, read a book, or even eat your lunch. But of course the fun won’t only be limited to 7th and Market Streets. If you want to do a Park(ing) Day tour of Philadelphia, the below interactive map shows you where to find all the parklets throughout the city.

 

 

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A Meal with a Parking Deal: Restaurant Week Parking Validations

 

Philly has some of the best food in the nation. Think about it: Where else are you going to get a better cheesesteak or soft pretzel than our nation’s birthplace? And with hundreds of delicious places to eat covering nearly every cuisine imaginable, it can be a tough decision to make.

Here’s the Good News

From September 23rd to October 5th, restaurants across Center City come together to show off industry-defining meals at a discounted cost during Restaurant Week. Restaurants will offer three-course dinners for only $35 (or $20 during lunch hours) per person. So make your reservations here before it’s too late.

A Meal With a Parking Deal:

Let’s be honest—how are you going to beat high-quality cuisine when it’s at a fixed rate like that? With discounted parking options, of course.

To accommodate Restaurant Week, our Center City garages will offer discounted parking to all patrons dining at participating restaurants. Check out the rates below and be sure to pick up a parking discount voucher before leaving the restaurant.

Autopark at Olde City:

  • Validation rate: Enter after 4:45 p.m., $9.00

Autopark at Independence Mall:

  • Validation rate: Enter after 4:45 p.m., $9.00

Autopark at Jefferson:

  • Validation rate: Enter after 4:45 p.m., $7.00

Autopark at Gallery Mall:

  • Validation rate: Enter after 4:45 p.m., $7.00

Parkade on 8th:

  • Validation rate: Enter after 4:45 p.m., $7.00

Family Courthouse Garage:

  • Validation rate: Enter after 4:45 p.m., $7.00

If you have any questions, you can always count on the parking gurus on Twitter or Facebook and we will get you squared away.

CREDIT: J. VARNEY FOR VISIT PHILADELPHIA

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Where to Park for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

‘Tis the Running Season

It’s that time of year again! This September, runners from all around the Philadelphia region will meet at the famous Philadelphia Museum of Art steps to run either 13.1 miles, 10K, or 5K at the annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon.

The Lowdown

The 5K will kick off the two-day event on Saturday, September 15th at 7:00 a.m., and the 10K will follow at 7:30 a.m. Then, on Sunday, September 16th, the half marathon will begin at 7:30 a.m. on the Ben Franklin Parkway and N. 22nd Street.

As runners make it across the finish line, they’ll be greeted with live rock and roll performances and a complimentary beer at Eakins Oval. On top of that, anyone who participates in both race days will earn an additional medal.

For the complete rundown on this year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, check out the event website.

Where should you park?

Since the streets will be packed full of runners, you can expect road closures and a shortage of street parking on race days. Luckily, our 19th and Callowhill lot and Gateway Parking Garage are within close walking distance, and they both offer discounted weekend rates. Spots will likely fill up quick, so plan accordingly and check out the rates below.

If you would rather find street parking, make sure you use meterUP, our mobile payment app. With meterUP, you can even feed your parking meter while running in your race!  

19TH & CALLOWHILL STREET LOT

1901 Callowhill St.

Philadelphia, PA 19130

Rates:

  • Weekends: $11.00 (flat rate per day)

GATEWAY PARKING GARAGE

1540 Vine St.

Philadelphia, PA 19102

Rates:

  • Weekends: $7.00 (flat rate per day)

Need parking assistance? Find us on Facebook or Twitter so we can help.

Photo courtesy Competitor Group, Inc. via Visit Philly

 

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Where to Park for the Made in America Festival

Have you heard? Jay-Z is coming back to The Ben Franklin Parkway with Made in America, his two-day annual music festival. On Labor Day weekend (September 1–2) a star-studded lineup hits the stage with a wide variety of artists that’ll please every member of your crew. Performers include Jay-Z himself, beloved Philadelphia native Meek Mill, EDM genius Zedd and many others.

Now, onto parking:

More than 80,000 people are expected to head to the parkway for the festivities. Luckily, parking locations including Gateway Garage, 19th and Callowhill and the Family Courthouse Garage are within close walking distance to the festival area. Keeping your car in one of our lots is key to a stress-free experience.

If you do happen to park at a metered spot, there’s no need to rush back to feed it. When you download meterUP, our mobile payment app, you can add additional time from your smartphone and receive an alert when your time is about to expire. Thanks, technology!

View our parking rates below for economical options in the area, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook with any questions. Information on parking restrictions during the event can also be found here. 

P.S.

We we will not enforce meters or time limits on residential blocks  Monday, September 3. Happy Labor Day, Philly!

FAMILY COURTHOUSE GARAGE

1503-11 Arch St.

Philadelphia, PA 19102

Rates:

  • Up to 1/2 hour: $6.00
  • Up to 1 hour: $13.00
  • Up to 1 1/2 hours: $19.00
  • Up to 2 hours: $25.00
  • Up to 12 hours: $27.00
  • Up to 24 hours: $29.00
  • Weekends: $11.00 (flat rate per day)          

PHILADELPHIA GATEWAY PARKING GARAGE

1540 Vine St.

Philadelphia, PA 19102

Rates:

  • Up to 20 minutes: $3.00
  • Each additional 20 minutes (or portion): $3.00
  • Up to 10 hours: $16.00
  • Over 10 hours: $20.00
  • Evening rate (enter after 5 p.m., exit by 9 a.m.): $5.00
  • Weekend rate (flat rate per day): $7.00

19TH & CALLOWHILL STREET LOT

1901 Callowhill St.

Philadelphia, PA 19130

Rates:

  • Up to 1 hour: $6.00
  • Up to 2 hours: $11.00
  • Up to 12 hours: $17.00
  • Up to 24 hours: $12.00
  • Weekends: $12.00 (flat rate per day)
  • Evening (enter after 5 p.m., exit by 9 a.m): $9.00

 

Photo by Made in America courtesy of  Visit Philadelphia

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Parking, Street Closure and Transit Information for Philly Free Streets

 

PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia released details today for 2018 Philly Free Streets, scheduled to take place on Saturday, August 11, 2018 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Event Activities & Information
Philly Free Streets is a people-powered initiative of the City of Philadelphia that temporarily closes streets to cars, inviting people to walk, bike, and play. This year the event will take place on Saturday, August 11 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The route is eight-miles round-trip connecting City Hall and Erie Avenue on North Broad Street. There is no formal start or stop. People are encouraged to join the route by taking SEPTA’s Broad Street Line anywhere between City Hall and Erie stations, or by getting off the Market-Frankford El at City Hall. To learn more visit www.phillyfreestreets.com or follow @PhillyFreeSts on Twitter.

Road Closures
The Philly Free Streets route will be closed to vehicular traffic beginning at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 11. Broad Street will be closed from JFK Blvd. to Butler Street, and east-west cross traffic will only be permitted on the following streets:

– JFK Blvd.
– Vine Street (Eastbound Only)
– Spring Garden Street
– Ridge Avenue
– Girard Avenue
– Diamond Street
– Lehigh Avenue
– Allegheny Avenue
– Erie Avenue
– Butler Street

One-way streets that feed into the Philly Free Streets route will be controlled by PPD and designated local access only. Residents and businesses will be permitted to access these roads during the event as conditions allow. Additional closures may be implemented if needed in the interest of public safety.

Roads will be opened as they are serviced and cleaned. All event-related road closures will be lifted no later than 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 11, 2018.

Delays can be expected during the course of event setup and on the date of the event. Some cross streets may be closed and detoured prior to 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 11, 2018 due to public safety considerations. Motorists are advised to avoid the area by using alternate routes, and allow for extra driving time in areas near the event. Please refrain from double-parking, which creates congestion, limits traffic flow and is illegal.

Parking Restrictions
Parking restrictions on the Philly Free Streets route will commence at 2:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 11, 2018. Parking will be prohibited on both sides of Broad Street between JFK Blvd. and Butler Street. Additional parking restrictions include:

– Arch Street from Juniper to Broad
– Vine Street (Westbound) from 13th to 15th
– Mount Vernon Street from Watts to Broad
– Wallace Street from Watts to Broad
– Fairmount Avenue from Broad to Ridge
– Brown Street from Broad to Carlisle
– Poplar Street from Watts to Carlisle
– Stiles Street from Broad to Carlisle
– Oxford Avenue from Park to Broad
– Cecil B. Moore Avenue from Park to Broad
– Montgomery Avenue from 13th to Broad
– Susquehanna Avenue from Watts to Broad
– Huntingdon Street from Broad to Carlisle
– Glenwood Avenue from Cambria to Broad
– Westmoreland Street from Park to Broad
– Rising Sun Avenue from Watts to Broad
– Venango Street from Broad to Carlisle
– Germantown Avenue from Erie to Butler

Accommodations will be made for established loading and valet zones along the route.

All event-related parking restrictions will be lifted at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 11, 2018.

Temporary No Parking Signs will be posted along the Philly Free Streets route beginning on Tuesday, August 7, 2018. If you park in the impacted area, please obey all posted signs. Vehicles parked in restricted locations after 2:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 11 will be towed. If you believe that your vehicle has been towed in connection with Philly Free Streets, please contact the local police district for confirmation.

Public Transportation
SEPTA is a convenient, affordable way for event-goers to get to and from the Philly Free Streets route. All SEPTA service changes, alerts and detours can be found by clicking here.

Broad Street Subway and Market Frankford Line service will operate on a normal weekend schedule throughout the day on Saturday, August 11, 2018.

Regional Rail parking lot location information is available online at: www.septa.org/parking.

SEPTA can be reached at 215-580-7800 and directly on Twitter @septa_social. For more information on SEPTA and NJ Transit routes and schedules, visit www.septa.org or call (215) 580-7800, and www.njtransit.org or call (973) 275-5555.

To download the full listing of Philly Free Streets parking, public transportation and closure information, click here.

Venue Details and Public Safety Information
The following items and activities are not permitted on the Philly Free Streets route:

– Motorized transportation (excluding motorized wheelchairs or similar equipment)
– Unauthorized solicitation
– Alcoholic beverages
– Narcotics or illegal drugs
– Bathing in pools or fountains
– Damage to property
– Feeding animals
– Firecrackers or explosives
– Firearms
– Open flame
– Littering (including pet waste)
– Public intoxication
– Unauthorized driving or parking
– Unauthorized vending
– Unleashed animals
– Weapons of any kind

Emergency Preparedness & Weather Alerts
Philly Free Streets is a rain or shine event. In the case of severe weather, listen for announcements and sign up ahead of time to receive emergency texts or e-mail alerts at ReadyPhiladelphia: www.phila.gov/ready.

For tips and general information about being prepared and ready at special events, read the Special Event Safety Guide before you attend.

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