February 29: SEPTA releases King of Prussia rail route | Streets Dept at The Res | Design Advocacy Group survey

SEPTA released their preferred route for the King of Prussia rail extension, reports Jason Laughlin and Laura McCrystal. “Both opponents and supporters of the project said Friday that the chosen plan is the best of those considered – especially compared to an unpopular option to build a rail line along Route 202.”

Roxanne Patel Shepelavy at The Philadelphia Citizen wants the new administration to make good on Jim Kenney’s campaign promises to improve walking conditions. “These are all solvable problems, if we’re willing to do the work. When John Street took office in 1999, one of his first acts was to clear the neighborhoods of 40,000 abandoned cars. It was a simple thing that had a huge effect on the psyche and lifestyle of people living in those neighborhoods. Imagine what well-lit streets, and walkable sidewalks could mean.”

Inga Saffron walks the Schuylkill River Trail with landscape architect Jose Almiñana of Andropogon, the firm overseeing the trail expansion project. “With the opening of Bartram’s Mile expected in late fall, the dream of a continuous waterfront path stretching from the city’s northwest corner to its southern tip is starting to look like a reality.” 

Conrad Benner explores secret Philly graffiti mecca, The Res. It’s so secret, he won’t even say where it is. 

Daniel Moore looks into how much ride-hailing services have expanded service into areas of Pittsburgh that are underserved by transit and taxis. The takeaway seems to be that the service expansion is real, but maybe not as dramatic as the companies claim, or as cheap and predictable as riders want.

The back-to-cities trend and the new politics of growth are also fanning out to smaller locales with traditional downtown development patterns, writes Bill Bradley, in a long-form piece for Next City. As Daniel Kay Hertz wrote recently at Strong Towns, “historic, walkable neighborhoods are a scarce commodity” all across America, and will keep facing greater competition and escalating prices until we address the walkable housing shortage.

Take the Design Advocacy Group member survey. Weigh in on the timing and focus of DAG’s meetings, and what issues you’d like to see them get involved with in 2016. 

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