August 15: Toll Brothers don’t own Jewelers’ Row buildings yet | MeterUp expands | Speed cushions for N. 5th

City records show Toll Brothers hasn’t purchased any of the five buildings on Jewelers’ Row it plans to demolish, despite filing a demolition permit, reports Jacob Adelman. 

Malcolm Burnley profiles one-man preservation organization Oscar Beisert, who regular PlanPhilly readers will recognize from nearly any recent story about the Historical Commission. “Beisert considers his preservation agenda to be nothing less than a full-blown alternative to the Philadelphia of the future that we’ve been hurtling toward.”

Jared Brey wonders if Jeweler’s Row will be the case that establishes historic preservation as a political issues, and shakes Philly out of complacency to protect its historic assets. Our own Ashley Hahn calls the risk of losing a large chunk of Jeweler’s Row a “splash of cold water.”

The Parking Authority is expanding the territory where MeterUP pay-by-phone parking is available, says Tom MacDonald. MeterUP will now be available at all parking kiosks. 

The Streets Department is piloting speed cushions on N. 5th Street in North Liberties in response to complaints from residents about speeding vehicles. We wrote about the neighborhood meeting that prompted these changes back in March, showing that it’s possible for the city to sometimes move ideas from concept to pilot within 5 months. 

NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg talks to Streetsblog about their 60-block ‘shared streets’ experiment.  

Shane Phillips makes the case that planners should use vacancy rates, rather than population forecasts, as a variable for planning and zoning choices. Here in Philadelphia, apartment vacancy rates have hovered around 2.8 percent. “When vacancies are low (under about 5 percent), landlords wield incredible leverage over their tenants, and rents climb as a result. We need to take vacancy rates as seriously as unemployment rates and push for immediate action when they veer into unwelcome territory.”

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