Hell hath no fury like a South Philadelphian who was just told they can’t park illegally.
Yesterday we ran an interview with Julia Rowe, the photographer snapping photos of illegally parked cars around the city and posting them to social media in an effort to highlight — and yes, shame — the crosswalk-blockers. Rowe lives in South Philly, but anyone can submit photos to firstname.lastname@example.org, and she’s featured images from a few different neighborhoods. People had some things to say, and the emails and comments have be … unpleasant. Rowe has a response to that:
Although I currently don’t drive I have been in the situation where parking on a regular basis requires a lot of driving around the block late at night and coming up empty handed with convenient solutions. At the end of the day, I’m not “going back to Virginia,” where I lived for several years for work, when my home is and always has been Philadelphia. I’m not against parking, and I understand that parking is difficult, but so is navigating the city if you’re disabled or visually impaired and that the built environment needs to be more inclusive of everyone, people who drive and those that don’t. I’m sorry that not everyone agrees in how I chose to put my campaign about equal accessibility issues but coming at a person with threats and name-calling solves nothing.
The South Philly backlash to Rowe’s photography has been particularly vitriolic. We rounded up some of the comments that came through on Twitter and Facebook in response to the project. Yes, these are cherry-picked. And they represent the dominant tone of the responses we’ve seen — nasty, vengeful and generally irrelevant to the actual point, which is…
It’s illegal to park in a crosswalk. And on a sidewalk. And in front of a fire hydrant. And in a bus zone. And in a bike lane. And anywhere a sign says it’s illegal to park.