December 20: Positive train control | Deconstructing demolition | Solar supply chain

The city has decided to not challenge L&I’s ruling to remove the former Robinson department store at 1020 Market from the local historic register, Jacob Adelman reports. PREIT, the building’s owner, appealed the designation in 2016, after the Preservation Alliance nominated and Historical Commission voted to approve placing the property on the register.

Speaking of preservation of buildings, Hidden City has assembled a ‘How to Save a Building’ guide for the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia’s latest issue of Extant magazine. Ben Leech shares lessons from four cities, from conservation in Chicago to deconstructing demolition in Portland. Leech explores what Philadelphia can learn from these tools and tactics, our “preservation strengths among peer cities.”

While SEPTA’s trains are equipped with positive train control (PTC) technology, the transit agency has “yet gotten to the point where [it is] able to do a thorough analysis on that data” on how often the system has prevented crashes, WHYY News’ Tom MacDonald reports. SEPTA’s Andrew Busch explains that the agency is in the startup period with the PTC system, which slows trains when they’re going too fast into a curve, and plans to review the data in the future.

The Kensington Avenue Storefront Challenge takes off: real estate development firm Shift Capital has selected the nine businesses that will get free rent, along with financial and technical support, Generocity’s Albert Hong reports. The initiative, in partnership with NKCDC, Impact Services, and the city’s commerce department, concentrates resources to foster and cultivate the commercial corridor in a “neighborhood suffering from blight and the opioid epidemic.” Not far away, Mural Arts unveiled the newly painted B Street Bridge over the Conrail train tracks.

Hey, on the vein of fostering a community and applying resources in a defined space, Alex Hillman talks about building and growing Indy Hall in the latest Streets Dept Podcast. Well before co-working was common culture and a prominent real estate sector, Indy Hall paved the way in Philadelphia and the global movement. It is notable too that Indy Hall has survived and prospered over the years, continuing to stand out amidst the rise of competing spaces with its intentional flexible (and rotating) use of space and community-driven culture.

What are the disadvantages of solar energy? Green Philly’s Julie Hancher looks at commonly debated disadvantages, including supply chain issues and when the sun don’t shine, and speaks to ways the solar industry is working to overcome them.

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