Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know:
An underground transformer fire plunged parts of Rittenhouse into darkness. What city officials called an underground transformer explosion caused a fire at the evening rush hour in the 2100 block of Walnut Street. According to a story on Philly.com, the fire knocked out power to about 400 customers in the 2000 and 2100 blocks of Walnut Street; 6ABC reports that the outage even affected last night’s performance of Rain at the Merriam Theater. Several buildings surrounding the site of the fire were evacuated for about two hours. As of this morning, PECO’s outage map reports the probable cause as an “underground cable problem”; 91 customers remain without power, which the utility expects to restore by noon. Read more »
The PPA will purchase smaller front-end loaders to assist with the snow removal effort. | Photo by Dan McQuade
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story erroneously overstated the cost of Bobcat front-end loaders and the total amount the PPA was spending on them. Philadelphia magazine apologizes for the error.
The Philadelphia Parking Authority approved an emergency resolution Tuesday afternoon to throw a little more of its own muscle at clearing the city’s streets.
The resolution, passed at the PPA board’s regular monthly meeting, authorizes the immediate purchase of six Bobcat front-end loaders to clear snow from city streets at a cost of $50,000 per vehicle. Read more »
The gist: More and more logistical details are spilling out about Pope Francis’ September visit to Philadelphia. This thing is just too big, with too many people involved in pulling it off, for the news to stay contained as long as city officials and event organizers would like. For instance, PlanPhilly’s Jim Saksa covered a board meeting of the Philadelphia Parking Authority yesterday, and heard an avalanche of new information about the visit. According to the PPA:
- A “significant security perimeter” will extend from Girard Avenue to South Street, river to river. It wasn’t clear what that perimeter would look like.
- SEPTA trains will not make stops within Center City. Likewise, SEPTA buses won’t be operating in Center City. Saksa confirmed that with SEPTA. No word on the subway.
- 50 Jumbotrons will be set up throughout the city to broadcast the papal mass.
- The Parkway can hold “about 700,000” people, which is significantly less than the number that are expected to visit the city while the pope is in town.
Read more »
1. Never hope for a parking grace period on the 500 block of S. 2nd Street.
The gist: Inquirer/Daily News data analysts Dylan Purcell and Michelle Tranquilli have taken a swing at the massive release of parking ticket data released by the city last month. Their analysis found that the single most ticketed block in the whole of Philadelphia is 500 S. 2nd Street, where drivers found a staggering 24,695 violations waiting on their windshields between January 2012 and March 2015. That’s the block featuring angle parking in the middle of the street, just south of Headhouse Square. A close runner up was the 100 block of Chestnut Street, where 24,516 tickets were issue. South Street from 2nd to 6th Streets is one big danger zone, as are the big shopping blocks west of Broad on Walnut. Read more »
Luxe is coming to Philly.
Parking in Philadelphia is notoriously bad. Good luck finding a public space during peek times, parking lots are expensive and often crowded, and the Philadelphia Parking Authority is always ready to pounce.
But a slew of app-based solutions are on their way.
Today, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported that Luxe — a San Francisco-based valet-parking app — is se to launch in Philly by the end of the summer. Luxe will pick up your car anywhere then store it in a secure lot. Then it delivers your car back to you — even if you’re in a different location. The company says it costs about $5 per hour. It’ll even wash it and fill it up with gas if you pay extra. Read more »
Should the Philadelphia Parking Authority be put on the case?
Democratic mayoral nominee Jim Kenney wants the Philadelphia Parking Authority to turn its hyper-vigilant gaze on construction sites, littering, illegally closed sidewalks and possibly an array of other commonplace city code violations, reports Ryan Briggs for Philly.com’s Next Mayor project. Writes Briggs:
Democratic mayoral nominee Jim Kenney says, if elected, he wants the Philadelphia Parking Authority to issue even more tickets — in addition to the parking variety for which the army of meter readers are already notorious.
He would like to see the PPA issuing tickets for things like litter and sidewalk violations on behalf of the Streets Department or checking construction and dumpster permits for the Department of Licenses & Inspections.
“We need to extend the ability to other departments…to issue tickets. I would like to do that with the Parking Authority,” he said. “We have people, city employees, out in the neighborhoods. They shouldn’t be working in silos, they shouldn’t be cross purpose to each other — and help each other do their jobs.”
It’s an absolutely fascinating idea. What’s more, it’s an early insight into the way a Mayor Jim Kenney might operate. Read more »
Parking and traffic in Philadelphia is normally a challenge; expect it to get a lot more complicated September 22nd when the World Meeting of Families will commence at the Convention Center and Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The convention will be capped by Pope Francis‘ expected visit on September 27th, which is expected to draw as many as 2 million people to the city, and a whole fleet of buses.
And how will all those pilgrims get here? Some 4,000 to 5,000 buses are expected to roll into Center City that week, with the heaviest volume expected for the Papal visit. Read more »
4.9 million tickets, and counting.
The City of Philadelphia just released a massive and fascinating new data set that includes every single parking ticket issued in the city since 2012. And there are a lot: just about 4.9 million of ’em. But the data goes way beyond a raw count. Each row includes the location of the ticket, the time of day, the penalty amount, the violation type — you get the idea.
With analysis, this data trove should shed some new meaningful new light on how motorists use the road, and how city agencies and the state-run Philadelphia Parking Authority regulate street parking. The release couldn’t come at a better time. Philadelphians have begun to question if it really makes sense to allocate so much street real estate to parked vehicles, in favor of other uses like wider sidewalks, bike lanes or small parks.
We’re going to dive into this in the weeks to come, but until we do, here are five quick takeaways from the city’s release, which already includes some very illuminating maps and top-level analysis. Read more »
Reserved car-sharing parking in Milan, Italy. Source: Shutterstock.com
When City Council approved a new zoning code back in 2012, advocates for a more walkable, cycling- and transit-friendly city had mixed reactions to the code’s new parking regulations. Although adjustments were made to decrease the city’s parking requirements — allowing developers to build a minimum of one parking space for every three residential units, rather than the one-to-one requirement previously in place — the new code didn’t include parking maximums. Developers were still given the option of including as many spaces as they wanted, so long as they didn’t undercut the minimums.
Less discussed were provisions in the new code that require for developers to provide at least one dedicated parking spot for car-share services (like Zipcar) for every 100 residential units or 100,000 square feet of office space. The code also included car sharing incentives for developers, giving them the option to reduce the overall number of parking spots if more dedicated car-share spots were created.
Read more »
Anyone (okay, almost anyone) who rides taxicabs in Philadelphia with any frequency knows that compared to other major cities, our cabs are pretty terrible, which is part of the reason that services like Uber, UberX and Lyft are so damn popular here. Why on earth would you want to take a dirty old cab when these newfangled car services are so convenient, modern and clean? Read more »