April 4: Chief Collections Officer | DRPA Investigation | Art Museum strategic vision | Former Glaxo HQ adaptive reuse | Bike sharing

Good morning Streeters!

On PlanPhilly, Jared Brey reported yesterday that Mayor Nutter appointed Tom Knudsen, former CEO of Philadelphia Gas Works and Philadelphia Schools’ chief recovery officer, as the city’s first Chief Collections Officer. In this roll Knudsen will be tasked with developing strategies for improving the city’s various debt collections processes. The change comes with a few other leadership adjustments, including Revenue Commissioner Keith Richardson moving to the Philadelphia Housing Authority Development Corporation, Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson replacing Richardson as Revenue Commissioner and David Perri serving as acting commissioner for the Streets Department. 

The Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA), which oversees the four toll bridges and PATCO service between Philadelphia and New Jersey, is under investigation for “millions of dollars of politicaly connected “economic-development” spending,” the Inquirer reports. Over 15 years, DRPA spent close to $500 million on non-transportation projects, and much of that went to politically influential recipients. The scope and duration of the investigation is not yet clear. 

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has released a new strategic vision, and Generocity has details on how the plan will work toward four key goals: engaging audiences, enhancing visitor experience, activating the collections and strengthening commitment to the community. As part of the new strategic vision, the museum hopes to increase attendance by 35 percent, up to roughly 1 million annual visitors. There is talk of renovating galleries and “a retooling of the way the museum communicates with its audiences,” Generocity reports. 

Naked Philly has photos of the former GlaxoSmithKline North American headquarters, which the Inquirer recently reported will be purchased by nonprofit DeMedici II and turned into a performing arts charter high school. The building became vacant last month when Glaxo, who the building was specifically built for, moved its operations south to The Navy Yard. As Naked Philly points out, “adaptive reuse is an unexpected turn for a building that Liberty surely expected would remain office space for decades.”

Does bike sharing make bicycling more popular? According to the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU), a recent Montreal-based study analzyed the city’s BIXI Bike Share program’s ridership levels and found that bike share increases the likelihood of people who live near bike share stations to bicycle. This could be important as Philadelphia plans for its own bike share system because it could mean that, as MOTU wrote, “bike share will increase the likelihood of bike riding and not only serve existing cyclists.”

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

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