Feb 11: Biden visits | criminal forecasting | bus-pedestrian accidents | behind Grove at Cira | digital signage debate

Good morning, Streeters. Here’s your rainy Monday morning buzz:

If you see a motorcade zipping around today, it’s probably because Vice President Joe Biden is in town to talk gun control at a Girard College roundtable with Pennsylvania lawmakers and federal law enforcement officials. Biden is making the rounds drumming up support for the Obama administration’s push for tougher gun-control measures in response to the mass shooting in Newtown, CT (among others).

Philly law enforcement is now using computer modeling to predict criminal behavior, NewsWorks reports. Penn criminology professor Richard Berk wrote the code that forecasts an individual’s likelihood of committing a violent crime and offers a red (which get the highest scrutiny), yellow, or green rating. That rating is one factor being seriously considered by the Philadelphia Department of Probation and Parole. But some see these computer-modeled predictions as dehumanizing our justice system.

Could changing the position of rearview mirrors on buses mean fewer pedestrian-bus accidents? SEPTA’s bus drivers are asking the agency to reposition mirrors outside buses to minimize a blind spot – especially problematic when making left turns – that blocks views of pedestrians and cyclists, the Inquirer reports. But SEPTA says repositioned mirrors would cause other problems. Of SEPTA’s 63 pedestrian-bus accidents last year, three people died.

The Grove at Cira, $158-million, 33-story building being constructed at 30th and Chestnut, is a development partnership between Brandywine Realty and Charlotte-based Crest Campus Communities. Philly Deals talked with the partners behind the Grove at Cira, geared at housing Penn and Drexel grad students close to campus. As for the other half of CIra South, the taller office tower at 30th and Walnut still doesn’t have enough commercial tenants behind Penn to get off of the ground. 

In her Inquirer column Friday, Inga Saffron looks at the spread of digital signage creeping across the city. She questions whether Philly is asking the right philosophical questions about digital signage, if the city can adequately regulate these distracting signs, and what the cumulative cost will be to our public environment. 

The Buzz is Eyes on the Street’s morning news digest. Have a tip? Send it along.

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