Holiday Travel Rush Under Way

Morning headlines: 45,000 travelers expected through Philadelphia International Airport.

winter travel

Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know today.

The holiday travel rush is has started — and it’s going to be a big one.

CBS3 reports that Wednesday’s rain and fog caused some delays for travelers flying out of Philadelphia International Airport. And 6ABC reported this will be a busier-than-usual travel season for a couple of reasons — low gasoline prices, and the fact that Christmas and New Year’s both create three-day weekends this year. “AAA is projecting record numbers in terms of holiday travel, with over 100 million Americans planning to travel,” Jana Tidwell of AAA Mid-Atlantic told the station. Fox 29 adds that 45,000 people are expected to pass through PHL. If you’re flying out of the airport — or have family flying in — this is a good day to follow @PHLAirport on Twitter.

Philly’s murder rate has climbed a bit this year — but the final number is likely to be below 300 for the third straight year.

“We have a reduction in homicides in the city, however, to place 300 as the number that we’re happy we’re below, I still have a problem with because 300 families, 300 individuals lost their life to senseless violence,” Dorothy Johnson-Speight, who heads Mothers in Charge, told NewsWorks. (As of Wednesday, the tally stood at 269.) Still, officials point out, the city had 391 homicides as recently as 2007, and routinely went over 400 deaths per year in the 1990s. Still, officials would like to see the number go and stay even lower. Says Mayor Nutter: “We need to stop shooting each other, killing each other, stabbing each other, on the streets of Philadelphia.”

Why is it taking SEPTA so long to begin taking fares through the SEPTA Key system?

PlanPhilly’s intrepid Jim Saska went in search of the answers and came away with two. The first? SEPTA didn’t really have any personnel who understood how such systems work. “SEPTA has a team of in-house civil engineers who can read blueprints and tell the difference between a truss and a trestle,” he writes. “But right now, at least at the higher levels of management, SEPTA has no one that can read code or tell the difference between an API and an SQL.” The second? “We’re one of the largest most complicated transportation systems in the country,” one official says. Most cities run buses, subways, and perhaps a paratransit system. SEPTA has those, plus trolleys, regional rail, and the Norristown High Speedline. The result? Building SEPTA Key has turned out to also be unusually complicated. Right now the target date for launch is spring.

The Sixers are so bad that they’re now openly nostalgic for last year, when they were putrid.

Whatever you think of last year’s Sixers team — let’s remind you it went 18-64 — it had one positive feature: It played energetic defense. Wednesday night, the current Sixers fell to 1-30 with a loss to the Bucks, and the team doesn’t even do that one thing well anymore. “It is my greatest discomfort when our team doesn’t guard,” coach Brett Brown told AP. “The sting in our defense must be reclaimed.” Also in possible need of reclamation for the Sixers: Former starting point guard Michael Carter-Williams had 18 points and nine assists for the Bucks.

We’ll be taking Friday off. Enjoy your holiday break.

Enjoy one of our favorite holiday traditions.

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