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The state of parking in University City, in five charts

Parking isn’t as bad as it seems

Parking in University City isn’t “stressed” just yet.
Photo by Melissa Romero

With all of the development and growth happening in University City, residents have been concerned about one big change in particular: Parking.

But a new report by the Philadelphia Planning Commission, issued at the start of 2018, shows that things are not quite as they seem: The number of available parking spots in University City is “not considered stressed.”

“The rates for public facility parking (70.1 percent occupancy) and private facility parking (69.8 percent occupancy) fall below the optimal rate of 85 percent for efficient parking facility operations,” the city planners wrote.

For the report, the planning commission reviewed the number of off-street and on-street parking spaces in University City for the first time ever last year. The plan is to use this first inventory of University City parking as a baseline for future studies, the commission said.

Here is the current state of parking in the neighborhood, in five charts.

There are 24,056 parking spaces in University City.

via Philadelphia City Planning Commission, 2017

There’s an equal amount of both public and private parking in University City, with the majority of parking located within the Medical Campus area of the neighborhood. You’re least likely to find parking in Powelton Village and the area around the University of the Sciences; these two sections have the least amount of parking spots.

The daytime occupancy rate is the same between private and public parking facilities.

Public daytime occupancy rates.
Private daytime occupancy.

After studying the daytime occupancy rates in spring 2017, the commission found that an occupancy rate of 70.1 percent at public facilities and 69.8 percent at private facilities.

Powelton Village showed the highest daytime public occupancy rate, while Medical Campuses had the highest private occupancy rate. Still, given that Medical Campuses has the highest number of parking spaces in University City, the numbers show that more than 800 parking spaces were unused during the daytime.

That said, the commission suggests that the neighborhood should consider implementing a shared parking program, where private facilities open their doors to employees by day and residents at night.

The average one-hour parking rate is $7.89

via Philadelphia City Planning Commission, 2017

Parking in University City is much cheaper than in Center City. The average University City parking rate is $5.50 less than in Center City.

Spruce Hill has the most expensive parking rates out of all of the areas, but that’s because it has a plethora of on-street parking available for visitors and residents. Medical Campus also has subsidized parking for employees, which explains its low rates.

Most on-street parking occurs in Spruce Hill and Powelton

via Philadelphia City Planning Commission, 2017

In general, University City has a lot of on-street parking available, totaling 9,983 parking spaces. But you’ll find most of this type of parking in Spruce Hill, West Powelton, and Powelton Village.

Interestingly, the number of registered cars in this area has increased by 27.6 percent since 2012, a sign of the increased parking demand. The demand could be even higher, however, since a lot of the cars in this area are out of state and not included in the survey.

Walking, public transportation outweigh driving.

via Philadelphia City Planning Commission, 2017

Despite all this talk about parking, most residents in University City take public transportation or walk to work, according to latest Census numbers. It make senses, since University City has a good public transit infrastructure in place, with 30th Street Station in its limits and easy access to the Market-Frankford line, trolley lines, and bus routes.