By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A paid parking lot under the Ben Franklin Bridge in Old City is a step closer to reality.

It’s something that Old City residents have wanted for years — to be able to park under the Ben Franklin Bridge. Philadelphia Parking Authority interim co-director Rick Dickson says it’s been banned since 9/11. But now…

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“The Delaware River Port Authority’s security staff has reviewed their security procedures and believe that it can be opened as a parking facility again without jeopardizing the security and integrity of the bridge.”

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The PPA has approved a letter of intent to manage the 200-space lot and provide the gates and fee-collection equipment. Parking would be monthly-only, for residents and employees of local businesses.

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Dickson says a draft contract should be prepared in about a month, with the aim of opening the lot in early 2017.