New parking lot in Old City adds hundreds of spots come spring 2019

Hadas Kuznits
November 02, 2018 - 1:29 pm
Officials from the Philadelphia Parking Authority and the Delaware River Port Authority break ground on the future city of a 200-space parking lot under the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

Hadas Kuznits/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A new project is sure to alleviate some of the parking crunch felt by Old City residents. 

Those who live on the north side of Market Street will soon be getting nearly 200 additional long-term parking spaces. 

John Hanson, CEO of the Delaware River Port Authority, said the space under the Benjamin Franklin Bridge was closed off after 9/11 for security and construction purposes, but they've now partnered with the Philadelphia Parking Authority to add hundreds of parking spaces under the bridge at Second and Florist streets by the spring. 

Hanson admitted it took 17 years to get to this point "because nobody ever came forward and addressed the liability issues, the security issues, and the access issues that we were going to have."

But partnering with PPA, he said, they have finally been able to address those issues.

"With respect to security issues, we never talk about how we address them because that would defeat the purpose," he continued. "In terms of liability issues, the PPA has accepted the liability for the cars and for the people being under here, and in in terms of the access issues, they've agreed to the access that we will need to maintain, repair and protect the bridge."

Job Itzkowitz, executive director of the Old City District, said part of the motivation to utilize this unusual and noisy space came out of the need. 

"Old City's population in 1980 was about 500 to 600 residents," he noted, "and over the past 30 years, it's grown to over 5,000 residents." 

Itzkowitz added that it's hard to imagine the site as anything but a parking lot, so "this may be its highest and best use."