December 23: Residential garage conversions | Pine Barrens and climate change | Where to see the fireworks

The PlanPhilly team is going to be taking a few days off over the holidays to regroup for an exciting new year. To tide you over until January 2, when we’re back to full power, we’re preparing some year-end pieces recapping this eventful year in Philly planning politics. We wish all our readers a safe and relaxing holiday season.

We missed this over the summer, but zoning changes in San Francisco now allow residential garages to be converted into commercial spaces. Streetsblog SF has some pictures of retail spaces that were formerly garages. 

There are some early signs that SEPTA’s push to get riders to mind their manners is paying off.

Sad: long range climate change forecasts suggest the Pine Barrens could become the Oak Barrens over the next century.

Emily Guendelsberger talks to Richard Montanez, the city’s chief traffic and street lighting engineer, about the speed of traffic flow he’s targeting when he times the lights. “Most of Center City is 20 mph. Broad Street is 30 mph north of City Hall, and south of City Hall it’s 25 mph. When we have a lot of bicyclist-dedicated lanes, we try to lower that to about 20 mph.”

Duncan Black takes issue with some of the popular assumptions regarding the relationship between gas prices and public transit ridership.

Mr. Fox points out a couple nice mixed-use renovations coming around the 1700 block of Fairmount Ave.

And Uwishunu has recommendations for where to see the New Year’s Eve fireworks.

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