Six Design Ideas SEPTA Should Steal Now

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A recent article on The Atlantic Cities website made a point that is at once obvious and rarely made: Good design and strong imagery can attract more riders to mass transit.

Call it “branding” if you must, but the point remains: Easy-to-identify symbols and attractive stations and shelters make transit systems easier to spot and more pleasant to use. And a system that’s easier to spot and more pleasant to use will end up with more people using it.

This was the main point of my recent commentary elsewhere on how design does matter in transit, too. In it, I argued that SEPTA could stand improvement in that department, especially on its subway-elevated system and signage. Some readers agreed strongly with that argument, while others disagreed vehemently.

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Exposed: Philly’s Big Banana Peel Problem

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“When I’m walking with friends, they tell me it’s a little awkward for them,” says Frank Danay. “They’re the ones standing next to the guy who’s in the gutter taking pictures.”

Danay’s buddies know better than to compromise the process. He’s simply chronicling another day of potassium-rich existence on the streets of Philadelphia, an apparent national leader in the field of wayward banana peels.

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Hundreds of Cats Being Removed from North Philly Home

Fox 29 reports: “The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says it’s investigating a hoarding case in North Philadelphia that involves hundreds of cats. Humane law enforcement officers are reported to be removing 260 felines from a property on the 1600 block of Filmore Street. According to PSPCA officials, a warrant was executed to remove the cats from what they’re calling ‘unsanitary confinement.’”

 

Is “Hon” the New “Ma’am”?

“How many do you have, hon?” the sales associate at the Express in Liberty Place asked me last week. The week before that, a young woman on the 13th Street El platform asked, “Hon, can you break a ten?” Before that, it was a former student who thanked me for my feedback on her work and then said, “See you tomorrow, hon!”

For the last year, I’ve been getting “hon”-ed down all over Philadelphia — and not from the usual suspects, but from women who are definitely younger than me. And quite honestly, I’m baffled.

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Is Philly Ready to Host the World?

KYW reports that with Pope Francis likely to visit and the 2016 Democratic National Convention a real possibility, members of the City Council want to check Philadelphia’s readiness to host such world-class events:

In light of all of this, Eighth District Council member Cindy Bass is scheduling a council hearing about Philadelphia’s readiness to host such global events.

“Let’s start talking about those things,” Bass says. “Let’s talk about how many more hotels do we have since the last convention, how many more beds do we have? How many will we need to host the Olympics, or the DNC, or the papal visit, or any of the other things that we’d like to see here in Philadelphia?”

No date has been set.

SEPTA Plans for Midnight Strike

UPDATE 1:55 pm: 6ABC says a strike unlikely tonight:

A union source told Action News’ David Henry that despite the skipped bargaining session Friday morning, a transit strike is very unlikely this weekend, and would remain unlikely until contracts with two other unions representing SEPTA workers expire on April 6th.

The source cautioned against reading anything into union negotiators’ absence from Friday morning’s session, Henry reported. The source said union negotiators were simply not prepared for the 9:00 a.m. session after bargaining late into the night Thursday night.

ORIGINAL: Fox 29 reports SEPTA is planning for 4,700 Philadelphia bus drivers, subway and trolley operators and maintenance workers to strike at midnight. Union reps didn’t show up for today’s scheduled talks.

At a news conference held late Friday morning, SEPTA disclosed its contingency plans. In the event of a work stoppage, all city bus, trolley and subway lines will be discontinued. Some suburban buses will have changes.

The Market-Frankford, Broad Street and Broad-Ridge Spur lines will also not run.

A strike would not, however, affect service on the Regional Rail lines.

We at Philly Mag have made our own preparations! Christopher Sawyer has warned that a strike might hurt SEPTA’s credibility, while I wrote earlier this month how the union can inconvenience commuters without sacrificing worker solidarity. We’re planning on a lot more walking, in any case.

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