April 8: SEPTA talks unresolved | City-owned unsafe properties | Infrastructure investment, from roads to schools | Learning from Presser and Nugent | Crime trend mapping | Wawa reuse

Good morning, Streeters.

SEPTA and transportation workers still don’t have an agreement, but as of this morning no strike is authorized, the Inquirer reports.

Just how many unsafe, crumbling buildings do city agencies own across Philly? The Daily News looks at the problems of city-owned blight and the city’s struggles to stabilize or demolish these properties. There are 31 “imminently dangerous” buildings and about 260 more “unsafe” buildings are owned by city agencies – about 6% of the city inventory of hazardous buildings. And those are only the ones cited by L&I. “As we take 50 down, we get 50 more that are imminently dangerous. It’s like the mail: It never ends,” said Scott Mulderig, who runs L&I’s emergency services division.

Pennsylvania’s road and transit infrastructure, held together by dental floss and bubblegum, is at last seeing badly needed investment. A Daily News editorial calls for investment in another piece of key public infrastructure: schools. “After several years of being put on a starvation diet by Corbett, our educational infrastructure is showing the same signs of dangerous neglect as crumbling bridges.”

Just because something is a white elephant doesn’t mean it can’t be reused. Inga Saffron devoted her most recent column to praising the total rehabilitation of two historic retirement homes on West Johnson Street as affordable senior housing. The difference between the Nugent and Presser homes, and others similarly threatened with demolition (like the Boyd): coupling affordable housing tax credits with those for historic preservation, and the Historical Commission’s courage.

Overall violent crime has dropped in Philly, but in some neighborhoods it’s actually on the rise. NewsWorks mapped recent changes in violent crime rates, and found that violent crime decreased in 233 of the city’s 384 census tracts from 2012 to 2013. In 126 census tracts, it went up.

Inquirer photographer Tom Gralish shares his photos of new uses for old Wawas over the years.

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