April 28: New coalition opposes Philly ride-hailing carve-out | ZBA punts on Broad and Washington | Sculpture Gym closing

A new coalition called Driving Philly Forward, which includes Pennsylvania Parents Against Impaired Driving, Developing in Excellence, MaST Community Charter School, the Philadelphia Beverage Association, and right-leaning advocacy groups like the Commonwealth Foundation, National Federation of Independent Business, and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry has formed to oppose a Philadelphia carve-out in the ride-hailing legislation up for a vote on the House Consumer Affairs Committee next week, according to a press release. Language in the bill concerning airport pick-ups is also up for debate.  

Fishtown’s Philadelphia Sculpture Gym, the scrappy community studio that operates like a gym membership, has decided to close up shop at the end of April, after the sale of their building. Owner Darla Jackson explains in a blog post that it’s not quite a simple story of PSG being priced out of the space, though she says she did put up a fight to keep the space. The struggle of keeping the business afloat with a young daughter to take care of ultimately led her to the decision, but it’s an example of how hard it can be to retain the kinds of quirky neighborhood businesses who frequently were the first movers in gentrifying neighborhoods. 

Jared Brey, in his new digs at Philly Mag, writes that the ZBA punted on issuing a decision on Bart Blatstein’s Broad and Washington proposal yesterday, perhaps preferring to wait until the hearing room wasn’t packed with neighbors opposing the project.

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell is hosting a zoning remapping meeting in Mantua this evening, reports Mike Lyons. That’s significant because Blackwell has thus far declined to introduce many remapping bills in her district. The proposed changes would focus on three goals: “1. Promote and protect single family homeownership 2. Focus commercial zoning along highly trafficked corridors 3. Correct zoning for parks, recreation centers, and public-use spaces.”

The Bicycle Coalition announced the items they plan to testify about in the upcoming Streets Department budget hearings, including making sure the new $5 vehicle registration fee revenue does in fact go toward street safety and maintenance projects as intended.

There are some good reasons to be skeptical of the on-demand buses concept, but Josh Cohen at Next City suggests the troves of trip data ride-hailing companies are producing could potentially help improve off-peak bus service. 

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.