Clarke: Bring Back Traffic Cops

Filed under: Featured News |

PARKING and traffic violations are impairing the proper flow of public transit in Center City, said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey Knueppel at a press conference at Broad & Chestnut Streets. City Council President Darrell Clarke hopes a new branch of City traffic-enforcement officers can make a long-term dent in this problem.

City Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) last week proposed an amendment to the Home Rule Charter that would establish a new class of City employees, called Public Safety Enforcement Officers, to ensure Philadelphia’s streets are safe for all.

“No matter how you get around – whether by motor, wheel, or foot – you probably witness at least one traffic violation a day. We could have the toughest laws in the country on the books – but what good does it do if we don’t have appropriate enforcement? Not only will putting more eyes on the street encourage everyone who moves through our City to follow the rules, I believe it will free up critical police resources that can be directed to more serious crimes, Clarke said.

On the same day, Clarke joined Mayor Jim Kenney and members of his administration, along with Philadelphia Parking Authority and SEPTA leaders, at a press conference at Broad & Chestnut Streets to announce a vigorous coordinated campaign to crack down on traffic hindrances on the Chestnut and Market Street arteries of Center City, which have seen a deteriorating traffic flow in recent years.

This intervention will not be permanent. Clarke hopes that his new category of City workers will provide a long-term solution.

Public Safety Enforcement Officers would be a new class of civil-service employees that would provide support to the Philadelphia Police Department in regulating traffic and during special events. Public Safety Enforcement Officers also would enforce municipal code regulations to enhance the safety and quality of life in neighborhoods.

Public Safety Enforcement Officers would not carry firearms or have the power of arrest, but rather would work in a supplemental role to the Philadelphia Police Department.

“Everybody deserves a safe commute to work, a safe walk to school, and a safe stroll through the neighborhood to visit loved ones. Increased traffic congestion and risky behaviors on our under-monitored roads are among the growing pains we are experiencing as a city on the rise. I look forward to a collaborative process of refining details of this legislation with the Police Department, Kenney administration, School District of Philadelphia, and members of the public. Together, we will manage Philly’s growth in a fair, effective, and responsible way.”

If Clarke’s legislative package wins two-thirds approval in Council, Philadelphia voters will have the final say on authorizing Public Safety Enforcement Officers in the May 21, 2019, primary election.

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