Category Archives: News

Philadelphia news relevant to our local communities.

Illegal median parking battle divides South Philly residents

There are two major issues that get South Philadelphians riled up: street cleaning and parking. Since the only major criticism against street cleaning is that it requires parked cars to move, the only true issue that troubles South Philadelphians seems to be parking.

South Broad St Parking divide
South Broad St median parking is the South Philly norm (photo by Claudia Gavin)

Illegal median parking on south Broad Street has long been a topic of debate. In South Philadelphia, cars park on the median of Broad Street, Oregon Ave, Washington Ave, and wherever the PPA and Philadelphia police can turn a  blind eye. Other neighborhoods don’t get it, and South Philadelphians don’t really think anything of it. It’s the way it has always been, legal or not.

Since the Democratic National Convention, when median parking ban was enforced, the controversy has only escalated. Median parking practice is technically illegal, but is it also dangerous? 5th Square, a local political action committee, seems to think so. 5th Square started an online petition to ban median parking that has since gained over 900 supporters. The organization recently hosted a fundraiser, “No Parking on the Dance Floor” at our own Dolphin Tavern to support the banning of median parking. According to 5th Square, the funds will be used to “pay for the next phase of the Broad Street campaign, which will include professional planning and design work, and multiple public engagement sessions that empower South Philadelphia neighbors to reimagine what Broad Street can be.”

South Philly Parking Ban
South Broad Street with no cars parked on the median due enforcement during the DNC

Leading the other side of the median parking war are many vocal long-term South Philadelphia residents. Most notably, the administrator of Taking our South Philadelphia Streets Back (TOSPSB), a local pro-police/anti-crime Facebook group, has led a social media campaign to support maintaining illegal median parking in South Philadelphia. The TOSPSB Facebook group is a page for community residents to warn each other about local crime and share events to support the PPD. The Facebook group identifies as diverse, with majority vocal members being traditional, long-term South Philadelphia residents.

Although noncommittal about the issue, Mayor Jim Kenney has encouraged the PPA to start ticketing some of the worst violators, according to Philadelphia Magazine.

“The mayor, the PPA and members of the administration met to discuss the median parking issue a few weeks ago, before the administration met with 5th Square this week,” said Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt. “In that meeting, we agreed that PPA should ticket in the median when a car is fishtailed, in the turning lane, and in the crosswalk. We also agreed that any other changes should be community-driven.”

Mayor Kenney’s compromise, although agreeable to both parties, was criticized by some community members as “weak and noncommittal.” Such criticism has been said of our mayor many times since his taking office in January. Kenney has not pushed to action some of his campaign promises, notably ones that involve a firm stance. Tough decisions often offend, and Jim Kenney is not one to offend. As Kenney is currently involved with scandals and an FBI investigation, perhaps the non-offensive route is his best position.

As polls, action calls, and surveys flood social media, South Philadelphians are split nearly equally between the sides. Should we enforce the law and ban median parking or continue the South Philly tradition and let it be? Will Mayor Kenney’s efforts be enough to peacefully settle this deeply divided issue?

What Philadelphia needs to know about Democratic National Convention

When is the Convention? When do we expect Convention attendees to arrive and leave?
The Democratic National Convention (DNC) begins Monday, July 25th, and ends Thursday evening, July 28th. Attendees will arrive as soon as Friday, July 22nd, and leave by Friday, July 29th.

Where does the Convention take place?
The Convention takes place at the Wells Fargo Center in the evening hours, typically from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. There will be smaller caucus and council meetings during work hours at the Pennsylvania Convention Center as well.

How many people are coming to Philadelphia for the Convention?
The City expects approximately 50,000 Convention participants between delegates, media, and other attendees.

Are there any changes to trash and recycling service during the DNC? Are there any changes to municipal services, such as; court hours, jury duty, and city employee work schedules?
At this time, all city services are expected to operate as scheduled. If that changes, the information will be available on the City’s DNC home page: www.phila.gov/democraticnationalconvention.

Will police and fire services be affected in my neighborhood due to re-assignment of first-responders?
Philadelphia Police, Philadelphia Fire and EMS services will not be impacted by the DNC.
Will highways or streets be closed during the DNC?

At this time, we do not anticipate extended road or highway closures in Center City and other areas outside of the Stadium District. There may be rolling closures due to dignitary movements or protests.

Before you leave the house, we encourage you to check @PhiladelphiaGov for any traffic news.
There will be traffic restrictions around the sports complex, and we expect United States Secret Service to announce those by early July at the absolute latest. When they are announced, you can find the information here: www.phila.gov/democraticnationalconvention.

How can the public be aware if large demonstrations are going to affect them?
Planned permitted demonstrations that impact traffic or require road closures will be included on the City website road closure page, and updates provided via social media. For more information visit: www.phila.gov/democraticnationalconvention and follow @PhiladelphiaGov.
Demonstrations that deviate from the planned route or do not attain a permit will be updated via social media. Follow @PhillyPolice and @PhiladelphiaGov.

Will any SEPTA routes change during the DNC?
Additional service along the Broad Street Line (BSL) will be added during the convention. Travelers should expect crowds on public transit similar to sporting events when Convention programming begins and ends. While the Convention has not yet released their full schedule, historically sessions have begun at 5 p.m. and concluded at 11 p.m.

Transit riders can sign up for SEPTA alerts regarding system delays and service disruptions through the City’s mass notification system, ReadyPhiladelphia: www.phila.gov/ready.
SEPTA also offers information through their website and social media: http://www.septa.org/realtime/status/system-status.shtml and http://www.septa.org/alert/twitter.html.

Will there be special parking or towing restrictions?
There will be some parking or towing restrictions, though we do not expect it to be nearly as extensive as last year’s Papal Visit. Before the weekend of July 23, and throughout the week of the DNC, please be sure to check the street signs near where you normally park each day to ensure there are no temporary parking restrictions.

Will the City allow camping?
Because of the resources needed to manage the Convention, no permits will be issued for camping.

Will it be difficult to go out during the Convention? Will restaurants have available seating?
Because the Convention historically takes place from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. each evening, Center City and other area dining destinations should have open tables, especially during dinner hours, should you want to take advantage of them.

Can I get into the Wells Fargo Center if I am not a credentialed media member or delegate? Can anyone attend the convention?
Only those who are credentialed have access inside the Wells Fargo Center, which include media, delegates, politicians, and volunteers. However, the smaller councils and caucus meetings which take place during the day at the Pennsylvania Convention Center are open to the public.

How can I participate in the DNC?
There are a number of fun Convention-related events happening around town for the public, even if you’re not interested in politics. For more information and a list of events, go to www.phldnc.com.

What if I have questions that aren’t answered here?
We encourage you to first go to www.phila.gov/democraticnationalconvention. If your questions aren’t answered there, you can always call 3-1-1 for non-emergencies. The week of the Convention, 311 will have extended hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

24 New Indego Bike Share Stations Coming to Philadelphia

Philadelphia city’s bike-sharing system, Indego, celebrates its first birthday last Thursday. Playing off its wide success from the first year in the city of brotherly love, Indego will implement 24 new docking stations throughout the city this coming year, including the inclusion of 300 brand new bikes.

Once again, the new bike share locations will include very few locations in South Philadelphia, drawing negative feedback from South Philadelphia residents. Concentration of regular bikers are most dense in South Philadelphia, where supplies of biking stations are fewest. Higher supplies of bike-sharing stations would help lower the demand for parking in the already congested South Philly neighborhoods.

The new NACTO bike share guide suggests that studies show that “bike-share stations placed within a 3- to 5-minute walking distance of each other throughout a contiguous service area are essential to a system’s success.”

Indego
Existing Indigo bike sharing stations in Philadelphia against news stations to be added.

Indego stations to be added:

  • 10th and Federal Streets
  • 11th and South Streets (Magic Gardens)
  • 15th and Market Streets
  • 15th and South
  • 19th Street and Girard Avenue
  • 22nd Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue
  • 24th Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue
  • 26th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue
  • 26th and Poplar Streets
  • 27th and Master Streets
  • 29th and Dauphin Streets
  • 29th and Diamond Streets
  • 31st Street and Girard Avenue
  • 33rd and Dauphin Streets
  • 33rd and Diamond Streets
  • 33rd Street and Reservoir Drive
  • 34th Street and Mantua Avenue
  • 42nd Street and Lancaster Avenue
  • 46th and Market Streets
  • 4th Street and Washington Avenue
  • Front and Berks Streets
  • Moyamensing & Tasker Avenues
  • Delaware Avenue and Beach Street (Penn Treaty Park)
  • Columbus Boulevard and Race Street (Race Street Pier)

Oregon ave median strip becomes dumpsite; utility poles to fall

Our editors received this neighborhood complaint from a concerned South Philadelphian last night. We are still trying to follow up and verify the issues brought up in this email. If anyone has any updates or information regarding the issue, please share.

The source reports that Oregon ave, neglected by the city, has succumb to becoming a literal dumpsite. Utility poles and infrastructures are dangerously unstable and are currently being held up by wires to help support the weight.

The source reports:

“Our neighborhood has many problems that is not being addressed by local law enforcers. We’ve made multiple reports to 311, the police department, and councilman. No parking authority or personnel even comes by or responds. Trash cans and trash bags are being placed right in the center of Oregon Ave weekly. Literally on the median of 10th and Oregon Ave, the middle of the street where cars are illegally parked. Cars parking on the median and left turn lane without getting fined is one thing, but having trash bags left on the median is another story. This is highly unsafe and illegal. We can ignore the trucks and seafood mobiles double parking, auto repair shops taking up the public sidewalk with tires, cars, signs, and chairs. At this point, a little something has to be said so that we don’t officially become the dumpsite and trashcan of South Philly. Poles are going to fall soon and some buildings are bound to collapse.

Oregon Ave is not a rich area and we don’t have a lot of representation like the more active neighborhoods, but we pay our taxes. We may not be rich enough, not vocal enough, not urban enough, and not young enough for media attention, but we don’t deserve to be completely neglected either. If you go down the lower streets or Oregon, the utility poles are literally being held up by strings because the poles are getting too old to stand on their own. Live wires are hanging dangerously right in front of Oregon Diner, even though they have been reported many months before. Please help us get heard.”

Oregon Ave
Oregon Ave streets have been use for public dumping for a long time now, a reader reports. Photo at the intersection of 10th st and Oregon ave from last August. Conditions are reportedly the same today, as it occurs throughout many poorer South Philly neighborhoods.

Update 02/22/16 Passyunk Post reports on the issue of trash storage on Oregon ave. Some readers believe the trash cans belong to the truck that sells seafood on Oregon, possibly Phil’s Live Crabs.

UberPool arrives in Philly amidst PPA & Taxi scandal

UberPOOL, a new feature from Uber that will allow riders to share trips with people heading in the same direction, will soon launch in Philadelphia, according sources from the Philadelphia Business Journal. UberPOOL supports carpooling, minimizing traffic, and reducing emission. Cheaper than UberX, which is already cheaper than regular taxis, UberPOOL could save riders up to $0.55 per mile compared to UberX.

This news comes just days after Philadelphia Daily News revealed that the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) was collaborating with private taxi companies to prevent Uber from operating in Philadelphia. This government agency was reported to have directly worked with private business owners on sting operations that resulted in the impounding of many UberX cars.

Last year, Mayor Kenney sponsored a resolution calling on the state to legalize UberX and Lyft in Philadelphia. UberX and Lyft are currently legal in all other parts of Pennsylvania, where the PPA does not operate.

UberPool is coming to Philadelphia
Instructions on how to use UberPOOL, courtesy of the Uber website.

Bring Philly Street Cleaning Back, says Councilman Squilla & Mayor Kenney

Councilman Mark Squilla wants to make Philadelphia a cleaner and safer place. He wants to reintroduce a street-cleaning program and  plastic bag fee bill again.  “I still think we need a street-cleaning program,” said Squilla. “Now, my South Philly brethren will probably freak out about it. But I would be a proponent.” It wouldn’t have to be the exact same program that failed years back; but a discussion about what might work to keep our city cleaner and safer is due.

Mayor Jim Ken­ney told philly.com last June that he would support the street-cleaning program if he got elected as mayor. His support of the program is to be expected.

Some opponents of the street-cleaning program claim that it is too inconvenient to move cars during the few street cleaning hours. Every major city, including heavily populated and overcrowded New York city, has a street-cleaning program.

Philadelphia is rated the dirtiest city in America again and again. Tourists are turned away by the filth, which in turn hurt local businesses. Perhaps it is time to discuss a change for a better, cleaner Philadelphia.

Kenney in Office: end of City Hall Parking

On this cold Monday morning, Jim Kenney was sworn in to begin his role Philadelphia’s 99th Mayor.

Major Jim Kenney’s first task? Kenney was quick to clear all parked cars from the north apron of City Hall. This public area was previously used by city officials to illegally park their cars. Council President Darrell Clarke, former Mayor Michael Nutter, School District Superintendent William Hite and other officials had all previously used this public space to park their cars.

Jim Kenney mayor
Mayor Jim Kenney’s Inauguration (photo via @JimFKenney twitter)

Maybe this is a small part of Mayor Kenney’s initiative to green the city, from the top down. We don’t expect to see Hite bike to work anytime soon, but mayor Kenney lives close enough for such a feat.

Perhaps Mayor Kenney will soon enforce parking laws in other parts of the city such as South Philly. It has been long known that parking laws are not enforced south of Washington Ave on S Broad St or anywhere on Oregon Ave. Perhaps it is about time someone looks into the decades of safety data and loss revenue from the lack of law enforcement.

Philly neighborhood civic group steals money

Is your neighborhood civic group siphoning off money from residents? Neighborhood civic groups are made to empower residents and give them a voice in the community and city. Civic organizations are supposed to be nonprofit; money gathered should ideally go to support projects that benefit the neighborhood.

We’ve received a report that a civic organization may be using some of that government grant money to either line the pockets of their board members or invest in projects that are of little benefit to their neighborhood. The organization is currently under investigation.

How transparent is your neighborhood organization? Do you know what money comes in and where they go? More importantly, are your neighborhood needs being met? Are the residents fairly represented or do board members keep you in the dark?

Just recently, developers of Live! Hotel & Casino agreed to grant approximately $750,000 a year to five South Philly neighborhood groups in order to win their support.

The grants will be administered by a community advisory board with members from the five community groups:

  • Sports Complex Special Services District
  • Stadium Community Council
  • Veterans Stadium Neighbors Civic Association
  • Whitman Council
  • South Philadelphia Communities Civic Association

This is a lot of money, but the exchange is allowing gambling in the residential neighborhoods. The casino will be paying the community groups, but will the groups ensure the money benefit the residents?

Pennsport Beer Peddlers: a successful opening

Philadelphia’s most recently opened beer retailer has been enjoying the fine weather and support of local beer enthusiasts. Beer Peddlers, located at 1942 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd in the Pennsport neighborhood of South Philly, has seen tremendous success since it’s opening last week.

Part of the success may be due to the fact that is located next to Fine Wine and Good Spirits Store. Mostly, we think it’s due to their large selection of craft, import, and domestic beers.

Pennsport Beer Peddlers
Beer Peddlers is located right next to the liquor store (image via Beer Peddlers Facebook)
Pennsport Beer Peddlers Opening Doors
Beer Peddlers opens their door wide in support of the fine weather (image via Beer Peddlers Facebook)