April 3: University/Southwest District Plan preview | better Baltimore Ave | Drexel-Homeland Security campus security partnership | Uptown Theater update | improving regional rail

Good morning, Streeters. Here’s what’s making news on this bright, chilly Wednesday morning:

Kellie Patrick Gates previews the draft University/Southwest District Plan in advance of its release by the City Planning Commission next Tuesday. Among the plan’s suggestions: up-zoning around University City, turning 49th Street into a green connector, strengthening commercial clusters on Baltimore and Woodland avenues, improving links to the Schuylkill River waterfront, and creating an alternative future for Comegys Rec Center. To learn more about the plan, and who won the district planning game, head out to the open house at Quorum, (3711 Market St.) on April 8 from 6:30-8:30pm.

Cedar Park’s stretch of Baltimore Avenue continues to evolve, and Naked Philly takes a look at the last year’s worth of changes. Despite several vacancies – and the hole caused by the December fire at Elena’s Soul – the commercial corridor is continually improving as new businesses like Hibiscus, The Marvelous, and (soon) Little Baby’s open.

Drexel University is one of seven schools selected to participate in a federal pilot program to improve campus emergency preparedness, the Inquirer reports. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano visited Drexel Tuesday and explained that Drexel would receive guidance about disasters of every type – from extreme weather to mass shootings – as part of the Campus Resilience Pilot Program. Drexel will then implement changes to its already well-regarded campus-security systems and provide advice to other schools on best practices.

In late spring construction should be complete on the Uptown Theater’s new Education and Entertainment Tower next to the Uptown’s historic building on North Broad Street. The new building will house rehearsal and office space for Uptown Entertainment as well as offices for lease. The Daily News reports that work will begin to restore the façade of the box office and marquee this summer, and fundraising for the $5 million to renovate the theater itself is ongoing.

Next City has some suggestions for improving SEPTA’s regional rail: retrain (or reduce) conductors, reorganize operations (and shortening some trains) to create more frequent service, and developing a dedicated funding stream – possibly from real estate deals on land surrounding stations. The piece is also an interesting reminder on SEPTA’s former pricing systems for inner-city regional rail travel and the network’s consolidation.

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

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