'Free parking' coming to an end as PPA outlines reopening plan to start June 1

Pat Loeb
May 25, 2020 - 4:00 am
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Philadelphia Parking Authority has given the city a 50-page "playbook" detailing how it plans to reopen from the COVID-19 shutdown. Some operations are set to resume on June 1.

The PPA opened garages and suspended most enforcement on March 17, even before the city issued a stay-at-home order.

Executive Director Scott Petri said the agency will resume charging at its parking garages on June 1, with a tentative plan to resume on-street enforcement by mid-July.

Employees will return in phases, with no more than 50% of the staff reporting per day.

"We have 1,000 employees," he said. "We have a duty and responsibility to try as best we can to protect them."

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Deputy Director Rick Dixon led a pandemic response team to formulate new procedures.

"Shifts are being separated by one hour so the roll call rooms can be screened between shifts," he explained. "Each employee will have a temperature screening to be sure they're healthy coming into the workplace.

"We're trying to ensure that we don't spread this virus within the workplace, or more important, spread the virus to the public."

The PPA is also exploring web-based hearings and wider use of the meterUP smartphone app so drivers don't have to touch kiosks to pay for parking, among other steps.

Petri estimates the PPA has been losing $12 million a month during the shutdown.