Lyft Lands Amtrak Deal, Philly Taxis Feel Shut Out

Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC

When will Philadelphia’s transportation wars end? Ridesharing services Uber and Lyft aren’t the best of friends. The taxicab industry hates them both. And the PPA is the PPA.

It must be time for Amtrak to get involved.

Following Amtrak’s announcement last week of a partnership with Lyft that will allow railway passengers to seamlessly request cars from the station at the end of their ride, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on Wednesday that Amtrak’s 30th Street Station is among the involved locations.

As of now, the partnership simply means a new button within the Amtrak app that links directly to Lyft’s, but both have hinted that they are looking to further collaborate in the future. The move will likely boost profits for Lyft, as rides to transit stations account for up to 25 percent of the transportation network company’s (TNC) activity in major U.S. cities.

While a simple app-to-app link seems like a harmless move, concerns were raised about the legality of the partnership’s presence in Philadelphia and the responsibility of the PPA to monitor it. Act 164, signed last year by governor Tom Wolf, outlines Philly-specific limits to TNC-Amtrak relationships. Read more »

Milkhouse Adding New Location at 30th Street Station

Milkhouse comes to 30th Street Station

Milkhouse comes to 30th Street Station

Milkhouse, the grilled cheese, fries and more emporium is set to open its third location. This Milkhouse will be inside 30th Street Station at the former Ben & Jerry’s kiosk, behind Saxby’s. Like the Milkhouse locations inside Suburban Station and at 37 South 19th Street, the 30th Street Station location will offer the full Milkhouse menu of:

  • Grilled Cheeses
  • Fries
  • Salads
  • Soups
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Ice Cream
  • Milkshakes

Owner Tommy Guest tells us that he’s on schedule to open before the Democratic National Convention steams into town. The Milkhouse kiosk at 30th Street Station will be open seven days a week, the hours are still being worked out.

Milkhouse – 30th Street Station [Foobooz]

Our Odds on the 30th Street Station Area Development Plan

30th Street Station development plan, aerial view

The 30th Street Station area master plan laid out a fantastic vision of a second downtown for Philadelphia in University City. Only money stands in the way of realizing it, with the public sector as the weakest link. | Rendering by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, courtesy Amtrak

$6.5 billion.

The figure was tossed out rather casually in the course of yesterday’s formal unveiling of the two-years-in-the-making master development plan for the area surrounding 30th Street Station in University City, but it represents the largest single bet yet placed on the future of Philadelphia.

The parties involved — Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University, PennDOT, SEPTA, and a slew of elected officials and community groups — have put their chips down on a project that has many moving parts and will play out over the course of decades.

As we’ve seen plans almost as ambitious as this one go up in smoke (anyone here remember River City?), it’s only logical that we should ask what its chances for completion are. Herewith are my own odds for the plan’s key components and the overall chances that the plan will be fully realized sometime in our or our children’s lifetimes. Read more »

30th Street Station Development Plans Announced

 

A renedering of what the area around 30th Street Station would look like when all the projects envisioned in the development plan are completed. | Renderings by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, courtesy Amtrak

This morning, Amtrak, SEPTA and Drexel University officials unveiled plans for a massive transformation of the area around 30th Street Station.

The massive, multi-decade 30th Street Station District Plan would, when completed, turn the area around 30th Street Station into a second downtown for Philadelphia focused on the second-busiest station in the Amtrak system. That station, transformed into a multimodal transportation hub for the region, would serve as the linchpin of the planned development.

New office, retail and residential buildings containing 18 million square feet of total space and 40 acres of open space would be created under the plan, with most of the development privately financed. A total of $2 billion in public investment would leverage an additional $4.5 billion in private investment. These figures are on top of the $3.5 billion Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust have already pledged to see the Schuylkill Yards development, which Drexel President John Fry described as “a down payment” on the plan at this morning’s public unveiling, to completion. Read more »

Rotating Food Trucks to Return to the Porch at 30th Street

The Porch 2.0 | Photo by HughE Dillon

The Porch 2.0 | Photo by HughE Dillon

One of the more contentious events of last spring was the debut of the Porch 2.0 at 30th Street Station without its lineup of rotating food trucks. The food trucks were a big part of making the University City District’s placemaking experiment a success in 2014. But last year the improvement district decided to give exclusive vending rights to Michael Schulson who set up a rotisserie food and beer truck at the space. But now, as Danya Heninger reports, the rotating cast of food trucks will return.

Look for a breakfast truck and two lunch trucks on weekdays with the possibility of a dinner truck as well. Look for more details to (ahem) roll out in the next few weeks.

As for how the food truck community views the return of food trucks to 30th Street and the Porch, vocal opponent of the 2015 plan, Spot Burger’s Josh Kim called it, a “big win for the little guys.”

Food trucks will return to 30th Street [Billy Penn]
The Porch at 30th Street Station [University City District]

Next Steps for 30th Street Area Revealed

A rendering of what the 30th Street Station area should look like by 2050 from the draft district plan

A rendering of what the 30th Street Station area should look like by 2050 from the draft district plan

On the heels of Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust announcing their joint plan to redevelop the area just west of 30th Street Station comes a draft plan for the larger area surrounding the station.

The 30th Street Station District Plan is the product of a coalition that includes not only Drexel and Brandywine but also Amtrak, PennDOT and SEPTA. Like Schuylkill Yards, the larger plan envisions a totally new urban core district emerging around Amtrak’s third-busiest intercity railroad station over the next 35 years. Read more »

Amtrak Announces Pope Plan: Beefed-Up Service, Reservations Required

Amtrak | Shutterstock. Pope Francis | giulio napolitano / Shutterstock.com

Amtrak | Shutterstock. Pope Francis | giulio napolitano / Shutterstock.com

Amtrak is beefing up its service into Philadelphia for the pope’s visit, the agency said Friday, but there will also be temporary restrictions on travel, and the ripple effect is expected to be felt throughout the Northeast Corridor between New York and Washington D.C..

Also, they’re closing the bathrooms at 30th Street Station that weekend. (Don’t worry: There’ll be some portable facilities positioned outside.)

According to Amtrak: Read more »

JG Domestic Partners with Fair Food on New Lunch Menu

jg-domestic-blt-940

Sandwich of the Month: JG Domestic BLT with 1732 Meats Jalapeno Bacon

JG Domestic is now pairing with Fair Food Philadelphia to celebrate local produce and purveyors in a new summer menu. The partnership aims to support local farmers and celebrate the region’s bounty of produce.

JG Domestic especially showcases the local farmers in its $12.50 Blue Plate Specials, which vary with the day of the week.

Blue Plate Specials and the rest of the menu »

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