The process of selling a home and moving is no walk in the park—even in this sellers’ market. The waiting game alone is enough to drive you bonkers. And then there’s the packing and organizing … oof.
The anxiety of all that, though, was nothing compared to figuring out how I could arrange to get a 26-foot moving van down my tiny South Philly street—a street that’s always full of parked cars.
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A rep from my moving company—Poseidon Moving—suggested that I get a street closure permit to prohibit parking on my street on the day of my move.
A permit?! From the city?! That sounded so serious and official. But I told him I’d look into it. Here’s how the process went:
Steps taken to get a street closure permit in Philly
1. I do some quick googling to see how to get a street closure permit in the city.
2. One of the top search results is a page from the Philadelphia Streets Department that details, in refreshingly plain language, the process I need to take—as well as fees and deadlines. At the bottom of the page is a link to “requests for moving trucks.”
3. I hit that link and am taken to another information page that details everything I need to know about getting a street closure permit for my particular situation.
4. Once I scan through that, I look around the page for a link that will actually let me apply. There’s nothing in the text, but I eventually realize there’s an “application” link in the left-hand column. I click that.
5. From there I’m directed to a seamless application page where I enter information like my address, dates of my move and the length of the moving truck.
6. Once it’s all filled out, I hit the “submit” button and am told that my application was successfully sent.
7. Soon after, I receive an email from the Philadelphia Streets Department saying, “Thank you for submitting your application for a Street Closure Permit. Your application has been awaiting Payment.”
8. There’s a PDF invoice attached, which I save and open. The fee is $25, which gets me 40-feet of free space on my street. (That’s the standard price unless you’re applying in Center City or University City.)
9. I’m presented several options for paying: check, money order, Escrow account debit or online. I want to pay online, so I click the prominent blue link that says “pay here.”
10. I’m guided through an easy process to pay online with my credit card. Within minutes I get a confirmation email from ACI Payments, Inc.
11. Another 24 minutes after that, I get an email from the Streets Department that says my application is approved. I did it! There’s also a link to my permit.
12. I have a question about how the permit actually works, so I respond directly to that email with this query: “How do I ensure no cars will park on the street that day? Will the city come and put up a sign?”
13. Three days later, I get an email response from “MW” at the Streets Department. (I emailed on a Friday afternoon, and got a response bright and early the following Monday morning). They tell me that I have to put up my own signs, and that I can get official temporary No Parking signage from any local police station.
14. A few days later, I stroll over to my nearest police station—the 3rd District station at 11th and Wharton streets—and go up to the window. Not one but two people—a police officer and an office attendant—jump up to help me. The attendant waves the officer away and asks what I need. I tell her my situation, hand her a printout of my approved permit and she immediately brings back three “No Stopping” signs to display along my street. Without being prompted, she tells me exactly how to fill in the blanks on the sign—including that I need to write my permit number at the bottom. She also tells me when I should hang them (at least 48 hours before my move date) and what I should do if there are any cars parked on the street on the day of the move. “You have to call 9-1-1 for that,” she said.
15. I close my eyes and send a soft but fervent plea to heaven that I don’t have to call 9-1-1 on my neighbors! Please, neighbors, come through for me this time!
16. The weather looks nice for the week, so we put up the signs a good three days before the moving van is scheduled to arrive. (The signage wouldn’t hold up too well in the rain.) We hang them on three light poles from the bottom of my street to the top.
17. As we’re hanging the signs, a neighbor—a true South Philadelphian—strolls over and says that we should keep a lookout: Apparently there’s a self-proclaimed “mayor” on our block that takes down “No Parking” signs when he sees them.
18. Oh Lord, are my neighbors going to make this difficult?!
19. We watch the signs all week, and thankfully they remain on the poles. Sure enough, on the morning of the move the street was almost completely cleared out. My next door neighbor of all people left his car parked at the end of the street, thinking, I assume, that it wouldn’t be in the way. We’ll see …
20. The moving van turns onto our street in the afternoon, and can’t get past the parked car. My neighbor, watching the commotion from his stoop, kindly asks if he should move it.
21. Um, well, yeah … I am the holder of a permit from the City!
22. He moves, and the moving truck glides down the street. It stays there all day—even longer than my permit request—but thankfully the neighbors didn’t give us a hard time.
23. Success! We follow the moving truck out of the street and shove off to our new home!
Time spent getting a street closure permit
Research, application and payment process: 10 minutes
Wait for permit: 24 minutes
Wait for one email response: 1 work day
Getting the signs from the police: 4 minutes
Hanging the signs: 15 minutes
Total: 1 work day + 53 minutes
Result: A mostly easy-breezy moving process.
Takeaways: I was terrified to interrupt any parking in South Philadelphia (the audacity!), but getting a street closure permit was the perfect antidote. The process was a piece of cake, and it works!
Lightning Bolt Rating: ⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️
I have no complaints about the process. The Streets Department was prompt, the police were helpful—friendly, even—and my neighbors mostly cooperated. I definitely recommend getting a street closure permit to anyone moving in or out of a home in Philadelphia—or wanting to throw a block party. If it can work in South Philly, you know it can work anywhere.