August 18: SEPTA strike “very likely” | Ride-sharing hearings this week | Where Pennsylvanians were born | “Bicycle face”

Just as a SEPTA regional rail electrical workers strike appears less likely, Transport Workers Union 234 President Willie Brown tells Paul Nussbaum it’s looking “very likely” that its 5,000 workers, whose contract expired March 15, will opt to strike once a strike authorization vote is taken. “Please understand that there is going to be a strike,” Brown said. “I’m still trying to avoid it, but it is almost a matter of ‘when,’ not ‘if.'”

Jake Blumgart’s new piece at Pacific Standard wonders whether Philadelphia will ever be home to a robust middle class – an issue we’ll be looking at over the next year with our Blueprint2015 project. “Recent research by Pew showed that half of the 20- to 34-year-olds polled did not expect to be living in the city in five to 10 years, largely because of concerns about education and career opportunities … What will happen if the bulk of today’s middle class follows their parents and trickles out to the suburbs?” It’s an important question, but as I like to remind people, today’s Millennials aren’t humanity’s final generation, and we’re probably still in store for population growth even if some young parents decamp to the suburbs for better-funded public schools.

The New York Times has a fun infographic showing where residents of each state were born, going all the way back to 1900. An incredible 74% of Pennsylvania residents were born in Pennsylvania – the result of low in-migration. “Since 1980, Pennsylvania has lost more than a quarter-million residents born in the state, but has made up for it with an in-migration of more than half a million residents from New York, New Jersey and Maryland. Still, it has one of the nation’s highest percentages of residents born in the state.”

Another amazing statistic: 23 million bike share rides and no deaths, according to an analysis by Reuters. “In fact, experts say no fatalities have been logged in any U.S. public bike share program since the first one launched in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2007. There are now programs in 36 cities, including Chicago, Minneapolis and San Francisco, with new services planned in Tampa, Florida, Boise, Idaho, Portland, Oregon, and elsewhere.”

Public Utility Commission judges will hear ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft’s case for permanent authority to operate in Pennsylvania this week. Legislative initiatives are moving on a parallel track, and the debate will begin in earnest once state lawmakers return for an 11-day session in September. The short calendar means odds aren’t great that a bill will make it to the Governor’s desk this year, and the current push may be more about establishing the issue for a friendlier political climate next year. Democratic Gubernatorial nominee Tom Wolf, who is favored to win in November, has signaled he’ll appoint ride-sharing supporters to the PUC

And will you get “bicycle face?” “Over-exertion, the upright position on the wheel, and the unconscious effort to maintain one’s balance tend to produce a wearied and exhausted ‘bicycle face,'” noted the Literary Digest in 1895. It went on to describe the condition: “usually flushed, but sometimes pale, often with lips more or less drawn, and the beginning of dark shadows under the eyes, and always with an expression of weariness.”

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