How Philly Ended Up With a 30-Foot Squirrel Nibbling on a SEPTA Token

Photo by Bridget Kelly.

Evan Lovett’s zany new mural on the border of Kensington and North Philadelphia has captured hearts for its lifelike depiction of a cute and cuddly squirrel, coupled with its inclusion of a soon-to-be bygone symbol of SEPTA ridership. (Are people really feeling nostalgic for tokens already?)

But without one key suggestion from a local homeowner, this art installation on the 2200 block of North Hancock Street would be a lot less Philly-centric.

Lovett told Philly Mag that while painting a gigantic squirrel was his own idea (his Kensington pigeon was the first in Visual Urban Renewal & Transformation’s Local Critters project), the idea to have it feasting on a SEPTA token came straight from the brain of the person who donated the wall for his mural.

“When I first came up with the design a year ago I didn’t know that SEPTA would disband the token,” Lovett said. “When it came time to paint the piece, it just became relevant.”

Lovett said other small items were also considered, but he and the VURT team were looking for something more closely connected to the neighborhood in which the piece was going up. Given the close proximity of the El, the homeowner’s suggestion of a SEPTA token was just what they were looking for.

It took Lovett about ten hours to paint the mural, which he completed all in one day after the weather wouldn’t cooperate during several previous attempts. Another VURT artist, Anthony Enochs, helped Lovett fill in the squirrel.

“I couldn’t have gotten it done without his help,” Lovett said of Enochs.

As for what’s next, Lovett said he’d love to paint murals of a raccoon and a possum, and maybe even some chickens too.

Follow @jtrinacria on Twitter.

Mass Delays on SEPTA Regional Rail

regional rail

All SEPTA Regional Rail lines were experiencing delays of up to 45 minutes as of noon today.

The transportation organization reported overhead wires issues around 9 a.m. this morning near the Jenkintown-Wyncote Station in Montgomery County. Read more »

Person Struck and Killed on SEPTA Regional Rail

regional rail

A person died after being struck by a SEPTA Regional Rail train this morning.

The incident occurred around 5:10 a.m. on the Lansdale/Doylestown line. Service between the Lansdale and Doylestown stops was still suspended shortly before 9 a.m. this morning.  Read more »

Here Are the New SEPTA Regional Rail Schedules

septa-regional-rail-940x540

SEPTA Regional Rail lines have adjusted to new schedules.

Most lines have altered weekday and Saturday and Sunday train times – meaning trains will likely leave a few minutes earlier or later than you’re used to. It’s part of the final implementation phase of Positive Train Control, a safety system meant to prevent tragedies like the 2015 Amtrak crash.

In particular, the Chestnut Hill East, Media/Elwyn, Lansdale/Doylestown, Paoli/Thorndale and West Trenton lines are seeing significant changes in the Saturday and Sunday schedules.  Read more »

The Songs That Should Win SEPTA’s Commute Playlist Contest

Photo: SEPTA

Photo: SEPTA

On Wednesday, SEPTA announced a contest — “Name That Tune” — that asks riders for the song that best represents their transit commute.

Of course, the agency’s own sample suggestions were predictably lacking: Sheena Easton’s “Morning Train” (a Seinfeld classic) and the children’s standard “Wheels on the Bus”? Come on. (However, respect must be given for shouting out Reel 2 Real’s “I Like to Move It” – an all-time ’90s club banger.)

With that in mind, we’ve put together a playlist that truly captures the ra(n)ge of experiences we’re all subjected to on SEPTA. Read more »

What I’ve Learned From Philly’s Homeless

Photo by Terryfic3D/iStock

Photo by Terryfic3D/iStock

When I tell people that I’m working on a book about the homeless, most are curious to know what I’ve discovered while tracking five homeless men and one woman in the Riverwards area of the city.

I’ve accompanied them during walks around the city and listened to their stories and complaints about store managers and the police. My book includes a number of homeless success stories: how Jesse, who used to walk in traffic with his “Anything Will Help” sign, later got off drugs and returned to school. In one chapter I tell the story of Karl and Amber. Karl once had a lucrative career as a young filmmaker in Los Angeles, got hooked on drugs, and wound up on the streets of Kensington, where Amber works as a prostitute. Read more »

SEPTA Says It’s Getting Tough on Panhandling

Expect crowded conditions on the Broad Street Line around this time every day during the convention. | Photo: Ben Schumin

Photo | Ben Schumin

SEPTA officials have introduced measures that they hope will put a stop to panhandling on subways.

Transit Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel said on Twitter that the new policies follow an uptick in complaints from passengers who say some people have been overly aggressive when asking for food and/or money on the Broad Street and Market Frankford subway lines.  Read more »

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