By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Over the objections of the Nutter administration, City Council is moving to encourage more valet parking at the nightclubs along Delaware Avenue, by reducing the cost that the clubs must pay for city permits.

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Those Delaware Avenue clubs currently have to pay an annual permit fee $2,500 for each valet drop-off zone — the same rate as the high-end restaurants of center city.

But councilman Mark Squilla, whose district includes Delaware Avenue, says the fee discourages some clubs from offering valet parking, which in turn prompts the clubgoers to park on neighboring residential streets.

“There are people parking in the neighborhoods, going into the neighborhoods and then frequenting these establishments, which is causing the problem for the community surrounding the area,” Squilla said.

So, he is  now proposing to exempt Delaware Avenue from the center city valet parking district, which means the permit fee would drop from $2,500 to $625.

“We believe that by doing this we can entice more businesses (on Delaware Avenue) to open up valet,” Squilla said.

At the hearing, though, an official with the Philadelphia Streets Department argued that encouraging more valet parking zones on Delaware Avenue might make congestion there worse.

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Squilla begged to differ:

“We think they should be pulling up in valet zones, going to parking lots where the cars should be, and this way remove the congestion off Delaware Avenue, and off the neighboring streets,” he said.

City Council’s Streets Committee approved Squilla’s measure and sent it to the full Council for a vote, likely next month.

In comments to reporters, Squilla denied pushing this at the behest of the Delaware Avenue clubs:

” No, no.  It’s just part of the master plan, trying to entice people to have businesses down on Delaware Avenue, but also not impacting the communities that are surrounding it.”


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