Team Nutter on the City Hall Parking Lot

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Philly Mag published a story this morning explaining the role of the Mayor’s Office in managing parking on the sidewalk/apron on the northern edge of City Hall. We didn’t have any comment from the Nutter administration then. This evening, we got responses to questions emailed to press secretary Mark McDonald on Monday (McDonald says he did not get that or several subsequent emails, and did not see the questions until after our story ran). Here they are in full.

Philly Mag: What is the administration’s policy on City Hall apron parking?

Nutter Administration: City Hall is both the seat of government and a large office complex. Apron parking is provided on a case-by-case basis, often related to visiting guests, deliveries being made, on-going building repair and servicing and instances where a person with a disability is accommodated. With limited space available, these requests are handled on a daily basis. There is also an authorized parking list, with a number of individuals who have had temporary parking while Dilworth Park was under construction. The Park has reduced perimeter street parking. Those with temporary apron parking will be reassigned to street parking when the parking lanes have been repainted and spaces are reconfigured.
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Comcast’s New App Will Tell You When Tech Is Coming

wheresmytech

Comcast has always had customer service issues — this is putting it lightly — but never has it been easier to share stories of bad Comcast service and spread them online (using high-speed Internet service with XFINITY® from Comcast!).

This summer, a customer was left on hold for three hours until Comcast closed. In October, a man said he was fired from his job after he complained about Comcast service.

To perhaps try to stem the tide, Comcast has launched an app that allows you to track the contractor coming for a service visit.

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Slate Says Media Lapses Could Turn Actor Terrence Howard Into the Next Bill Cosby

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The national media have come under fire in the current Bill Cosby scandal for not paying enough attention to the sexual assault allegations against him when they first surfaced the mid-2000s. And now former NPR and Salon arts editor Bill Wyman has taken to Slate.com to warn the media not to make the same mistakes with actor Terrence Howard, who has been accused of assaulting, hitting, attacking or grabbing women six different times, including an incident with a total stranger in a Montgomery County diner. Only two of the alleged incidents led to criminal charges, and Howard was found guilty of “disorderly conduct” both times. According to Slate, he has flatly denied ever having hit any woman.  Read more »

Fifth Annual Global Conservation Gala

The Philadelphia Zoo hosted its 5th Annual Global Conservation Gala, November 13, 2014 at the Hyatt at the Bellevue.

The Philadelphia Zoo hosted its 5th Annual Global Conservation Gala, on Thursday at the Hyatt at the Bellevue. The gala honors individuals, families and organizations for extraordinary contributions to wildlife and the natural world.

This year’s gala spotlighted the issues facing gorillas in the wild, addressing the impact of climate change and palm oil on endangered species. The gala also officially launched 2015 as the “Year of the Gorilla”, a zoo-wide commitment of resources designed to mobilize action on behalf of gorillas.

Joanna McNeil Lewis was recognized for her contributions and 27 years of volunteer work with the zoo, and was honored with the Conservation Impact Award. Gerry Ellis was recognized with the Global Conservation Prize.

Photos after the jump »

Meeting Scheduled Monday to Try to Save Revel Deal

revel-new

A bankruptcy attorney for the failed Revel casino hotel has scheduled a meeting Monday in New York in an attempt to save the deal to sell it to Brookfield US Holdings for $110 million.

Brookfield abandoned the deal when it could not come to an agreement with the power plant nearby that was constructed at the same time as Revel and has the casino as its sole client. ACR Energy Partners, which controls the plant, has not been able to reach a deal with Brookfield.

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Will School in China Invest in Chester Upland Schools?

Chester-Upland School District is one of the poorest in the state. It seems to always be struggling with funding. In 2012, the district actually sued the state for funds, saying it would have to close otherwise.

Now there’s a new plan: An elite school in China wants to invest. Chester Upland receiver Joe Watkins said yesterday he’ll be taking a trip to China to try to work out the details in the coming weeks.

“This is an opportunity for Chester Upland School District,” Wakins said. “To my knowledge no school district in the United State has even sought to partner with what is arguably the highest-performing school in China.” The school in China would invest a billion dollars in Chester Upland.

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HUP Patient Being Checked for Ebola

A patient at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is being tested for the Ebola virus. The patient probably doesn’t have Ebola, but HUP is just checking.

“A patient who recently returned from West Africa is currently being evaluated in a special isolation room at HUP,” hospital spokeswoman Susan Phillips said in a statement. “The patient is stable and we believe the risk of Ebola is quite low.”

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Here’s Who’s Parking on City Hall’s Doorstep



Update: Read the Nutter administration’s response to questions on City Hall parking here.

The new $55 million Dilworth Park has its critics, but I’ve become a big fan. It gives City Hall badly needed context, and the scale of the plaza creates a real sense of grandeur… right up until the moment you stroll past the Garces cafe and encounter the sad, parochial scene of dozens of VIP vehicles squatting on the northern apron of City Hall, as though it were a parking lot outside an Upper Darby laundromat.

Yes, city workers and officials have been parking on the apron for years (more on that later), but it looks like the traffic has grown heavier in recent months, or perhaps it just feels that way given the jarring juxtaposition that now exists between City Hall’s graceful, Global City-esque western approach, and the loading-dock vibe a few steps to the north.

I’m far from the only one to have noticed. Jonathan Poet, an editor at the Associated Press, recently dedicated a Tumblr to the City Hall Parking Lot. Urbanist warrior Geoff Kees Thompson cited the apron parking as an glaring example of “city leadership undervaluing and undermining its public space for the sake of the car.”

I think there’s more to it than that. VIP parking on City Hall’s front stoop reeks of entitlement. People find it enraging and insulting because it’s shorthand for oh-so-much: lack of concern for the city’s aesthetic appeal, the political class’ overblown sense of its own importance, general disregard for … you get the idea.

Let’s get to what everyone wants to know: Who is it that actually parks there?
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