Since 2005, when the Philadelphia Parking Authority began using automated cameras to catch automobiles running red lights in the city, thousands of drivers have discovered that the Authority is no less efficient running this operation than it is writing parking tickets.
At $100 a shot, the tickets bite. If you let them go unpaid for 30 days, there's another $25 fee. And if your car gets booted because you ignored them too long, you've got to pay off the entire amount -- plus a $150 boot fee -- to get the boot removed.
But Sharif Street, an attorney and son of former Mayor John Street, had better luck last month when his car was booted for a collection of $976 in parking tickets and seven red-light misadventures.
Instead of having to pay more than $1,000 in fines to get the device off his car, the Parking Authority let Street regain command of his wheels with a $150 boot fee and a down payment toward his parking tickets. He was given 30 days to deal with his red-light tickets.
Authority spokesman Richard D. Dickson Jr. said the agency had not extended any special treatment to the former mayor's son. The Parking Authority determined that the red-light tickets had been sent to the wrong address, the authority's mistake, and therefore he was given a fresh 30 days to pay them off, Dickson said.
Street did not return a call for comment.