The idea behind permit parking is to preserve street space for the people who live in Philly's congested neighborhoods. It also makes many neighborhoods next to impossible to visit by car. With a permit, you can camp out indefinitely.

Try parking in South Philly any day past 7 p.m., and maybe you can see why 1st District City Councilman Mark Squilla, whose district includes South Philly, Northern Liberties and Fishtown, moved to make it harder for neighborhoods to establish permit parking.

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Currently, a block can establish permit parking if 51 percent of its residents agree to it, allowing only cars with permit stickers to park there and imposing time limits on other vehicles. Squilla introduced a bill to bump that up to 70 percent, seeking a higher threshold, to avoid "civil wars" between those in favor of permits and neighbors who band together to undo the restrictions.

The version of the bill now before the City Council sets a target of 60 percent, which would make it a little harder, but not prohibitive, to impose permit parking.

The permit system is in place on 1,180 blocks in the city, according to the Philadelphia Parking Authority. Residents must pay a $35 fee for the first year and $20 every following year to park on restricted blocks. Day and weekend passes are also available for visitors.