Dancers Turn SEPTA Into a “Voguing Train”

Local dancer and choreographer—and one of our LGBT Six-Word memoirists—Kemar Jewel just tweeted us this fab video of him and some fellow dancers voguing all over SEPTA.

He starts at Walnut and Locust on the Broad Street Line and manages to vogue all over town—in the train cars, in subway corridors, on steps—everywhere. He tells me they shot at noon one day, but somehow he managed to film it without having any passengers in the way. “Just know it was a lot of planning, patience, and prayer.”

In a statement to Huffington Post, he says he did the video to show that “anywhere can be a performance area. … I am a member of Philadelphia’s Black Gay Ballroom Scene and I wanted to showcase all of its creativity and talent. Also, since voguing and the Ballroom Scene is an ‘underground scene,’ why not put it underground, literally!”

Check out the video above, and keep in mind that it contains language that may be offensive to some viewers.

Commuter Alert: Market-Frankford Line Interrupted for Medical Emergency

[UPDATE] The Daily News reports that the struck worker is in stable condition.

“A veteran SEPTA electrical worker is recovering tonight after a close call on the subway tracks in Center City, according to officials.

The worker, 52, is being held overnight at Hahnemann University Hospital, where he was taken in critical condition earlier today after getting clipped by a Market-Frankford El train, according to a law-enforcement source.”

[UPDATE] CBS3 reports: “Train service has resumed on the westbound portion of the Market-Frankford Line after a SEPTA employee was struck by a train. …  SEPTA officials say the male employee was hit by a train traveling eastbound near 22nd and Market Streets.”

According to SEPTA, service has resumed with trains single-tracking on the westbound side, and passengers traveling between 15th and 30th Street should board from the westbound platform.

Expect residual delays.

[ORIGINAL] SEPTA reports that the Market-Frankford Line is currently shut down due to police activity around a medical emergency, and that shuttle buses are being provided for east- and west-bound travel between 5th and 40th streets.

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SEPTA Extends Overnight Weekend Subway Service to November 2nd

SEPTA said today it is extending its pilot program for 24-hour weekend Market-Frankford Line and Broad Street Subway service to November 2nd. The pilot program of all-night SEPTA service on Friday and Saturday nights began on June 15th, and was originally supposed to run until Labor Day weekend.

“As we move into the fall, we hope to welcome new customers who haven’t yet had a chance to use this service,” SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey said in a statement. That’s right: If you’ve been down the shore all summer and were worried about missing the chance to ride the El at 4 a.m., you don’t have to come back early to do so!

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SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel on Body Cameras and Cheese Sandwiches

On Twitter, at least, SEPTA Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel might be the most gregarious police officer in the city, virtually palling around with journalists and regular citizens alike. (He runs neck and neck, digitally, with Philly Police Detective Joseph Murray.) He regularly posts photos of fare-jumpers being caught by his officers, appended with the #cheesesandwich hashtag — the cheese sandwich being what they serve you as a meal in jail.

But Nestel also takes his job seriously. He recently announced a pilot program to put body cameras on his officers — a move that should cheer civil libertarians who point out that similar programs have resulted in steep drops in complaints against officers where such systems are already used.

“I’d like to see a reduction in the incidents where we have to respond to resistance. I’d like to see a reduction in the number of complaints,” he told Philly Mag recently. “And I think that this would also be a tremendous tool to help us reduce court overtime, because with audio and video evidence, offenders are going to be more likely to plead guilty and minimize the number of times that we have to send officers to court.”

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SEPTA Trolleys Won’t Run Downtown for Half of August

J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

In order to do extensive work in the trolley tunnels, SEPTA will not be running trolleys underground from August 1st to August 18th. The trolleys will divert to 40th and Market streets. Riders will have to transfer to and from the Market-Frankford El at those spots. The route diversion effects the 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36 trolleys.

They’re calling it the “Trolley Tunnel Blitz.”

SEPTA says on its website that doing this track work over nights and weekends would take almost a year. But it can get all of the work done if it shuts down the trolleys downtown in one 17-day chunk. There are also El stops at 13th, 15th and 30th; riders who would’ve liked to board at another station will have to go to the El there.

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SEPTA Transit Cops to Test Out Wearing Body Cameras

Three SEPTA transit police officers will wear cameras on their bodies as part of a pilot program starting this week. They’re wearing cameras from VidMic, the most common officer-mounted camera, which clips on to the shoulder radio cops already wear.

Officer cameras, SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel says, can actually cut costs for police departments: “Having video evidence can help us reduce complaints, help us reduce use-of-force incidents and reduce court overtime.” But, were all 275 SEPTA cops to wear cameras, the force would need additional staff to go through and catalog hours and hours of footage. Yo, the city could be hiring soon!

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