Glad you asked. IdleFreePhilly is an organization that seeks to make people aware of idling laws by way of a “web-based tool using the free software SeeClickFix, a powerful community-mapping platform that allows residents to report problems in their neighborhoods to city officials.” And, as it turns out, April 2010 is IdleFreePhilly Month.
Philadelphians can now use IdleFreePhilly's website to report trucks and buses they see around the city that are idling, their engines on for more than five minutes in the same parking spot. This will get the Clean Air Council on the case, who’s working with the Philadelphia Parking Authority (who definitely need another reason to be hated), to ticket these cars and trucks left idling. Residents can also witch hunt their way to 311 (with its new iPhone app!), who, in what’s being called “the most serious of instances,” can contact the Philadelphia Police Department.
Why? Pollution, global warming, asthma, all that good, er, bad stuff.
It’s likely few people know it’s illegal to idle in the city of Philadelphia and that the Commonwealth has begun covering Philly’s suburbs as well. So, the Clean Air Council will be using the summer to educate state residents on this new law.
OK. PhillyNow would like to put some of this into perspective. Right now, this law is meant for trucks and buses, which use diesel gas, which is worse for the environment than your typical unleaded gasoline (though some cars use diesel, too). But, at some point, someone will ask, 'Why just trucks and buses? Why not cars, too?' Then what? Here’s what:
It gets hot in the summer. You’re waiting in your car for your friend to come outside. And air conditioning doesn’t work without the car turned on. If your friend’s not outside in less than five minutes: that’s a ticket (and a lurking neighbor is encouraged to report you!)
You deliver a pizza. Ticket.
You rob a bank. The getaway car waiting outside: Ticket.
We could go on. The “Turn Philly Green” thing is awesome for sure, but this is the sort of stuff that scares us a little.
You—yes, you!—have the chance to become a Philly urban farmer thanks to M. Nutt's Green initiatives. Applications are due mid-April, so get on it!
Letters to the Editor