August 8: Connor Barwin on urbanism | Uber’s new cheap paratransit | Soft pretzels on-demand | 99% of parking tickets accurate

Philadelphia Eagle Connor Barwin talks about why urbanism matters, why he likes riding his bike in the city, and how he got involved in the Ralph Brooks Park restoration effort.

People love to hate the Philadelphia Parking Authority because nobody likes paying parking tickets, but Victor Fiorello looked into their accuracy and found that 98.9% of the tickets issued are enforceable, meaning the PPA was correct to issue the ticket. 

Local politicians packed Independence Beer Garden yesterday for an event to hype Philly as a potential site for the 2016 Democratic convention. Big conventions can be a nice temporary boost for local hotels and restaurants, and ultimately for the city tax base, but only if we don’t give away the store.

Ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft will put new emphasis on sharing with new cheaper carpooling services, which Uber says could be up to 40% cheaper than a regular Uber X ride, which is already usually cheaper than a cab. The new paratransit options could compete with bus trips, and put pressure on city and SEPTA officials to improve bus frequency.

And this is just one way that smartphones are shaking up the transportation market. Philly is the 11th city to get Postmates, which offers on-demand delivery of anything. Postmates Philly launched yesterday and delivered soft pretzels to users as a promotion. 

Former Chief Data Officer Mark Headd calls on the city to release salary data for all staff, not just the school district, and warns that the Nutter administration’s open data executive order might not survive a change in administrations. “If governments aren’t willing to invest in releasing data that empowers others to evaluate their performance, it is much less likely that an open data program will survive the disruption of a change in administration, or the changes in the local political landscape that can so dramatically alter the face of city governments.”

You have to check out Graffiti Pier, says Geoff Thompson: “Long term preservation of at least the pier as an informal lab for graffiti artists to test their mettle would be great. It would continually evolve with each layer of paint and artist who comes after. In a way the pier is a metaphor for the city: a layer of built form that continually adapts to the generations that follow, despite it’s original use.”

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