Some urban legends are true: Cars parked in the center of Broad Street in South Philadelphia are rarely ticketed, newly released figures show.

But watch out if you try to snag a residential parking space elsewhere in the area.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority and city police hand out more than 4,000 tickets on the typical day - most heavily in Center City.

Data made public for the first time tracking nearly five million parking citations since 2012 confirms the obvious: Center City is a tough place to park.

Some drivers have racked up hundreds of tickets, the data show.

Citywide, the numbers are flat, but in South Philadelphia east of Broad, tickets spiked 21 percent between 2012 and 2014. This likely reflects the parking crush as diners flocked to the burgeoning Passyunk Avenue restaurant scene.

Ticketing was also up in the Bella Vista and Southwark areas, as well as in Queen Village and Pennsport, an Inquirer analysis shows.

Kiosks may mean less scrounging for change, but drivers have kept the PPA busy from the high-end shopping stretch east of Rittenhouse Square to the more eclectic shops of South Street. Also busy is the pocket around Chestnut Street in Old City.

In another active area, citations were up 9 percent in Northern Liberties and Fishtown.

Students and others parking near the main campus of Temple University and in large sections of University City kept enforcement officers writing tickets.

Meanwhile, Manayunk and Chestnut Hill saw a decrease in citations by about 12 percent. In those neighborhoods, roughly 5,500 fewer tickets were written last year than in 2012.

Before making the data public, the Parking Authority removed the names and license plates of those ticketed.

Each record identifies the date and time, amount, and type of violation, ranging from expired meters to blocked fire hydrants.

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To search tickets by neighborhood, visit www.philly.com/parkingEndText

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@dylancpurcell