There must have been nine of us in the two-door sedan, and we were driving on the Boulevard.
I don’t really think anything happened to us — we were teenagers, and we were mostly skinny — and my friend Joe had a plan if the cops pulled us over: “Just say we’re headed to the circus and sing that song!” (That would be Entry of the Gladiators.”) If I remember correctly, though, this story had a happy ending: We turned off the Boulevard to drop someone off, and very slowly dwindled in numbers on our way home. But the point remains: We were nine teenagers in a car designed for at most five people, driving haphazardly on Roosevelt Boulevard.
Growing up a couple miles from it, I rode in cars a lot on the Boulevard as a teenager. I drove almost as often, heading to the enormous Tower Records north of Welsh Road, to a friend’s house in Oxford Circle, to Charlie’s Pizza, to nowhere in particular. I was (am) not a very good driver. I never got into an accident on the Boulevard, but there are thousands like me. Clearly some of them are a little more reckless or a little less lucky, and they crash. Or they hit someone attempting to cross the street. The Boulevard is an incredibly useful road that opened up the Northeast; it’s also one of its most dangerous.
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Noted socialist Tom Corbett signed a big transportation funding bill late last year that, in order to fund infrastructure and public transportation (woo!). But to pay for it the legislature had to lift a cap on gas taxes (boo!). Here’s what you’ll be looking at.
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America: What a country. A wonderful melting pot of races, ethnicities, religions, genders. More and more each day, it seems, we discover new differences between ourselves to treasure, write books about, and study as college electives. Acronyms abound! Hyphenation heightens! The more disparate we grow, the greater we become. We honor one another’s holidays, traditions, foods, clothing choices, musical styles. Only in this one arena do we all, each and every one of us, expect uniformity:
We want everyone else to drive exactly the way we do.
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TomTom, the GPS that you used before iPhones turned into miniature Inspector Gadgets and did everything for you, puts out traffic congestion rankings, and its latest one suggests Philadelphia is not as bad as you’re always complaining it is. Among major cities TomTom surveyed in the US, Canada, and Brazil, Philadelphia ranks 24th of 61. The percentage of your commute time delayed by congestion is 22%.
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ABC6 reports that the stop-light cameras on the south side of City Hall caught the most violators last year, issuing more than 22,000 tickets.
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A double-decker Megabus ran into a school bus and two other vehicles traveling on I-676 in Center City this morning, injuring at least six. The Westbound side is currently cut to one lane of traffic near I-76 as cleanup crews secure the area.
No information has been released about the nature of the injuries those travelers sustained in the crash, but State Police did say that none appeared to be immediately life-threatening.
Eyewitnesses told NBC that the Megabus stopped in the center lane following the accident, while the school bus pulled over further up the road with a dented back end.
As with any accident in Philly, avoid the area if you can. Just look at this mess:
The Office of Highway Safety joined forces with DelDOT and Delaware State Police to create the “Don’t Join the Walking Dead” pedestrian campaign. Using actors dressed up as zombies, patrolling officers stop residents at recent accident locations to find pedestrians at risk of being involved in a crash. The “at risk” pedestrians include residents who aren’t crossing at marked crosswalks or signaled intersections and people who walk at dusk/night without a flashlight.
“We’ve seen a lot of 5Ks and zombie TV shows and everything zombie,” Kirk said. “That’s the new trend. So why not play off the new trend and hopefully get some buzz?”
Some critics say the zombie theme is insensitive to accident victims and their families.
“I think it’s disrespectful to the people that have lost family members,” said Johnny Jasinski of Smyrna, Delaware. “They need to go about it in a better way.”
Honestly, though: It’s Delaware. How can anybody tell the zombies apart from everybody else. Hey-ooooooooh!*
(*A friend of ours has asked us to ease back on New Jersey jokes. Sorry, Delaware. You’re it.)
Rapid transit for the Northeast is once again a live issue. So, as the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission commences the umpteenth feasibility study of transit improvements for Roosevelt Boulevard, the Broad Street of the Northeast, let us raise our glasses and drink a toast to the 101st anniversary of the Northeast Spur subway-elevated.
On paper, that is, where it may well remain forever.
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The next time you get stuck in traffic, Ed Rendell wants you to write an angry letter to your congressman—right then and there. Seriously. This week he introduced the “I’m Stuck” App to a grateful nation, never once considering that griping about traffic might be a sign of the always-to-be-avoided curse of “wussiness.”
Rendell explained in USA Today:
In the midst of the busy summer travel season, I’m Stuck will give Americans a chance to vent about our nation’s transportation and infrastructure woes. By alerting their elected representatives in Washington to the daily delays they are experiencing, users can encourage Congress to get serious about creating a long-term plan to start making the urgently needed investments in our roads, rails, runways, public transit, and ports.
We’ll go ahead and assume Ed doesn’t want you to write this letter while you’re actually moving. Driving and texting is dangerous!
Remember how we told you last week that Pennsylvania is the second-leading turnpike toll collector in all of North America? Remember how we told you that a road near Toronto is quietly sneaking up on the Keystone State for second place? We like to imagine state officials saw that their ranking was in jeopardy and took emergency action to ensure that Pennsylvania’s toll roads remain one of the premiere money-makers in all the world. But even if that’s not the case, tolls are about to go up.
Starting January 5th, tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike will rise an average of 2 percent for E-ZPass customers and 12 percent for cash customers. And since tolls for cash customers have been rising faster than E-ZPass tolls for several years now, turnpike spokesman Bill Capone says come January, the cumulative differential for cash customers will be pretty steep.
“I’d say 35 percent would be the lowest differential. It could in some instances actually be more than 35 – as much as 39 percent, depending on your trip.”
The annual toll increases are not unexpected.
Spokesman Carl DeFebo says the Turnpike Commission is required to transfer $450 million a year to PennDOT for statewide transportation projects.
“As a matter of fact, Act 44, which was passed in 2007, did call for annual toll increases. And the Turnpike Commission started those annual increases back in 2009, and we’ve been making payments since 2007,” he said.