Callowhill NID no-go, Port Authority spends millions beyond its mission but not on bridge ramp, grants to study Washington Avenue streetscape and TOD along El

PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey reports that 51.9% of area property owners submitted letters to oppose of the Callowhill Neighborhood Improvement District to kill the plan. Among the reasons the NID is DOA: a sense that the additional 7% tax would not be equitably reinvested. Advocates of the Reading Viaduct linear park project believe it could happen through other means.

The Delaware River Port Authority opted to spend $20 million on non-transportation projects yesterday, spending that far afield from the Authority’s mission. NewsWorks reports that Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner opposed the economic-development spending, saying, “I could come to this table with a list of hundreds of organizations that I would like to give money to.  But that is not the core mission of this authority….This authority’s core mission is to run a PATCO system and four bridges.” The Inquirer reports there is $10 million left earmarked for economic development and Wagner hopes to see that spend on transportation projects like reopening Franklin Square’s PATCO station and build a ramp on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge’s Camden side to aid cyclists and pedestrians with trail connectivity and accessibility.

The Bicycle Coalition for Greater Philadelphia led a ride to the DRPA meeting yesterday to advocate for funding the bridge ramp’s construction, delivering 900 petition signatures.

The City Planning Commission will explore improvements to South Philly’s Washington Avenue’s streetscape and options for transit-oriented development around three East Kensington El stops, thanks to grants from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. PlanPhilly’s Kellie Patrick Gates reports these studies will help inform the district plans being done under Philadelphia 2035 and zoning remapping.


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