April 17: Waterfront Zoning Overlay introduced | new construction on South Street West | Increased state transportation funding plan | Rosenbach to become part of Free Library | solidarity run

Happy Wednesday, Streeters. Here’s what’s making news today:

At long last Councilman Mark Squilla introduced a new Delaware River Waterfront Zoning Overlay, PlanPhilly’s Kellie Patrick Gates reports. The overlay is the single most important tool to implement the Master Plan for the Central Delaware. After months of negotiation the draft overlay establishes a system of height bonuses developers can acquire in exchange for building public amenities (trails, public art, transit improvements), it ensures the connection of eight River Access Streets straight to the river, and sets standards for public access and open space provisions. Stay tuned for a Rules Committee hearing.

Two lots being excavated on the 1600 block of South Street will soon have mixed-use buildings, Naked Philly reports. At the southwest corner of 16th and South (taking the place of a surface parking lot) there will be 1,500 square feet of ground-floor retail topped with 5 apartments. A few doors west, a once-hideous abandoned construction site has been leveled and excavation begun to make way for a “triple-wide” commercial space and 14 apartments above. Good news for South Street West’s continuing growth.

Republican State Senator John Rafferty has proposed a $2.5 billion transportation funding bill to repair Pennsylvania’s crumbling infrastructure and provide increased funds for public transit, the Inquirer reports. Rafferty’s proposal represents an increase from Governor Corbett’s 1.8 billion plan. Like Corbett’s plan – which would be funded through a change to the state’s oil-franchise tax – Rafferty wants to increase fees for driver’s licenses and vehicle-registration, and put a $100 surcharge tickets for moving violations. Rafferty’s proposal could pass the Senate but is likely to face a tougher fight in the more conservative state House.

The Rosenbach Museum & Library could become a subsidiary institution of the Free Library as early as June 30, the Inquirer reports. Both institutions have important collections – including many that are linked – and the hope is that the Rosenbach would benefit from the Free Library’s greater reach, exhibition capacity, and larger professional development staff. The Rosenbach would be renamed the Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation.

Thursday evening Philly’s running clubs will run in a show of solidarity with Boston Marathoners. Runners (all are welcome) will meet at different locations citywide at 7pm, run to the City Hall Courtyard where they will convene and run down Market Street to the Liberty Bell. 

The Buzz is Eyes on the Street’s morning news digest. Have a tip? Send it along.

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