Mar 17, 2023

Parking Authority Probe

Mayor Matt Tuerk has announced that the city will re-evaluate the usefulness of the Parking Authority to the city and its citizens. In doing so, he stated that the Authority was started back in 1984 to address the parking issues of that day...That was the city line back then, but in reality it was started to bail out some influential owners of Park & Shop. As retail commerce shifted to the malls, the Park & Shop lots no longer thrived as before. 

As an activist and blogger, I have followed the Parking Authority shenanigans for four decades.  As an independent mayoral candidate in 2005, I conducted two press conferences about the Authority.  It was never easy gaining traction against the Authority, because the former private owner of the Morning Call was one of those influential Park & Shop owners. At the time, I was protesting meters extending way out beyond the then existing shopping district, and penalizing the poorest citizens, mostly apartment tenants.  The newspaper instead interviewed the Authority director,  and didn't attend my second conference at all.

Years later, when the Authority doubled the meter rates, I documented to City Council that the Authority fabricated their notion that the merchants wanted the increase. Since at least two members of council were sitting members of the Authority board, that revelation of mine also went ignored.

The Morning Call and the Parking Authority still have been intertwined in conflicts of interest in recent times. The Morning Call building was included in the NIZ map, although it was across Linden Street from the rest of the zone. Authority surface lots, which provided easy convenient parking, as opposed to decks, were sold to chosen developers for low prices. Ethical questioning of that practice was limited to this blog. Former Morning Call property has been transferred between the Authority and a private NIZ developer, for mutual benefit. 

I'm glad to see that recent public outrage over the Parking Authority ticketing practices has prompted the mayor into action. Kudos to Betty Cauler and others for their current activism. If the city really needs to spend $10K to $20K in their evaluation is questionable, but hopefully the outcome will justify the expense.

Shown above is the Parking Authority ticketing people for street sweeping in 2008, despite the snow.                                                                                                                                         

photo and outrage by molovinsky


  1. I would urge all those who are speaking out about the Parking Authority continue to do so. Politicians often use studies to delay needed action while they work to divide and diffuse the opposition.

    Remember, council representatives continue to sit on the APA Board and have not been innocent bystanders to the Authority’s abusive practices. Board’s (and Board members) are responsible for the actions of the organizations they oversee.

    Similarly, the Mayor’s words claiming that Parking Authority employees are just following orders makes me suspicious. I may have missed it, but I don’t remember hearing about ANY Parking Authority employee (past or present) acting as a whistleblower to call out any problems with the Parking Authority. So they are certainly complicit.

    As to the study, it should not be to determine the course of action. I think it’s clear the the Authority has outlived its usefulness and should be disbanded.

    The only purpose of the study should be to determine what steps are needed to abolish the Parking Authority as quickly as possible.

    Until that happens, residents need to keep up the pressure.

  2. For anyone living in Allentown who lobbies for law enforcement and law and order in the City, the one agency that provides it would be completely altered if Allentown takes over APA. I can't believe that people whining and crying because they violated the City's parking regulations and received a ticket would get so much attention. That this attention is coming from Mayor Tuerk makes me wonder what the real dynamic is.

    1. I have to agree. The police have gone soft on enforcement of quality of life issues. Thank god the parking authority does its job. Can you imagine the city without them? Junk cars, rampant double parking, Illegal repair shops and auto sales operations. Our alleys would never be usable. It would be a mess.

    2. Yeah, sorry but the Parking Authority has crossed a line.

      If they had remained mostly complaint driven and focused on major infractions they would have been fine. But instead they decided to go on a 24/7 revenue-raising war against residents and visitors to the city.

      They think they are police officers when they’re actually meter maids. The city can absorb their legitimate functions and jettison the worst of the abusers.

      At least with the city disbanding them and taking over their legitimate functions there will be a better chance for accountability.

  3. Having not to deal with the parking problems downtown on a regular basis I cannot speak to them. I did take note to the mayor's statement on the news that people should have the right to park on their private property for which citizens are now being fined. The law actually does not prevent people from parking on their property as long as it is a solid surface and not rubble, grass, or dirt. Many municipalities have this law to prevent dust-ups and general messiness in neighborhoods. Another citizen on the news complained about tickets for "drop-offs" which I presume to mean either parking in a no parking zone or double parking on the streets which happens regularly. Although the problem starts with zoning that creates overcrowded areas it does seem the mayor is catering his opinion to scofflaws for votes. Maybe he could take another trip to the Dominican Republic and figure out how they deal with it?

  4. It would be difficult to remove the snow with cars parked there and because of the snow, there is less on street parking. If the residents were on notice that they needed to move the vehicles so a plow or front end loader could do its thing, then tickets would be appropriate. If they are ticketing folks knowing nothing is going to be done to the street that day, then shame on the Authority

  5. Son, where have you been??? Many years ago, it was decided that enforcement would be done during snow events... "that way the snow plows could do their job on the open side"... or some other rubbish B/S statement similar to that!! (I'm paraphrasing, but you get the drift...) TO DATE they city has failed to do this EVERY time it snowed, and furthermore, they left us with ONE lane twice due to past heavy snows... TRANSLATION: WE CAN TICKET IF WE WANT TO!!! Thankfully, they usually suspend ticketing during snowstorms... BTW, I reside on a "Snow Emergency Route"... one lane???... just WONDERFUL!!!!