February 19: Blatstein responds to criticism of waterfront plans | Affordable housing impact fee | Land use and traffic congestion

Urbanist transportation officials are winning more power on the NCUTCD, says Michael Andersen. “The obscure but powerful National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which has often been a drag on changes in American street design, is now moving on several fronts to bring in new blood and prepare U.S. streets for a future that’d be much friendlier to biking and walking. One of its member organizations is coordinating a disciplined voting bloc in favor of better tools to improve biking and walking.” Here’s our explainer on what’s at stake in the nerdiest political struggle ever: shaping the contents of national street design manuals.

Bart Blatstein responds to criticism of the auto-centric design of his strip mall plans for the former Foxwoods site on the Delaware. “Although there are sidewalks, no one is crossing six lanes of traffic. It’s not a transit-oriented development; the only way to move is by car. There’s one SEPTA bus stop.”

Penn planning professor Gilles Duranton explains his new research showing that planning for compact land use development has only a small effect on traffic congestion, while financial penalties like taxes and congestion charges can have large effects. 

The Philadelphia Coalition for Affordable Communities released a report calling for an Affordable Housing Impact Fee on new market-rate homes which would contribute about $6.8 million to the Housing Trust Fund, depending on the rate. Max Marin says this appears to be a pivot from the “anti-speculation tax” the group first proposed for homes bought and sold two or more times within a two-year time frame, which hasn’t gained much traction on City Council.

Melissa Romero has renderings for a new five-story live-work building by Blackstone Development and Harman Deutsch Architects proposed for N. 2nd Street in Olde Kensington. The project will go to Civic Design Review next month. 

The Newbold Civic Association and Newbold Community Development Corporation have plans to merge into one organization, reports Taylor Farnsworth. 


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