February 24: The sad state of Philly rec centers | Municipal fragmentation in DelCo | Streets for all

Mike Newall pens a column on the deplorable state of so many Philadelphia recreation centers, and calls for action from the new administration. “[D]espite Center City’s undeniable momentum, and Philly’s ever-growing standing as a city on the rise, this is one of those infuriating Philly-is-worse-than-almost-everywhere-else moments.”

The hothouse of Point Breeze development politics keeps getting hotter, with a meeting suspended over anti-Semitic comments allegedly made by project opponents, reports William Bender. Councilman Johnson has reached out to the Human Relations Commission about the incident. 

Bobby Allyn says UberPOOL, Uber’s new carpooling feature, has been confusing some Uber X customers by setting the carpool option as the default choice. “Why was the driver picking up additional passengers, causing delays and, sometimes, awkward moments? They ordered it that way, but just didn’t realize it.”

“The average cost for water provided by private companies is 43 percent higher in Pennsylvania than nationally; on the public side, it’s 21 percent higher,” reports Emily Previti. Head over to Keystone Crossroads for an explanation of why Pennsylvanians pay more for water. 

Municipal fragmentation is hurting Pennsylvania’s local governments, writes Jake Blumgart, looking at efforts to reduce duplication of services in Delaware County’s inner-ring, predominantly black suburbs. The best introduction to this topic is David Rusk’s Brookings paper “Little Boxes, Limited Horizons” [PDF] which draws connections between stagnant local tax bases, segregation, and suburban sprawl in Pennsylvania. 

The Center for American Progress, the think tank that is essentially the Democratic Party’s external policy shop, is dipping a toe into Complete Streets advocacy with a new policy brief entitled Streets for All. The arguments won’t seem groundbreaking to anyone already familiar with the topic, but the real significance is that the urbanism policy bundle has become sufficiently popular as a big city political concern that it’s being subsumed, slowly, into the official agenda of one of America’s two major political parties. 

Wonkblog assembles a cadre of housing wonks to share their ideas for making expensive cities affordable for everyone again. Philly hasn’t really joined the class of expensive cities yet, but the time to proactively plan for growth is now.

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