January 11: Water rate increase proposed | Yards expansion | Temple bans hoverboards

The Philadelphia Water Department is proposing an 11% rate increase, reports Pat Loeb. “The Water Rate Board will set a minimum of four hearings and once we have the public input hearings set, I encourage the public to attend and give testimony,” said PWD spokesperson Laura Copeland.

Yards Brewing Co. needs a bigger space, reports Joe DiStefano, but they want to stay in Philly proper, close to their local customers. “We would love to be as close to Center City as we can, and we would love to be in a neighborhood, and it’s important to a lot of our employees to be able to bike to work,” says Yards owner Tom Kehoe. 

Temple University banned hoverboards from campus, Shannon Wink reports. The devices, which disappointingly lack true hovering capabilities, have been catching fire across Philadelphia both metaphorically and literally.

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A bill awaiting approval in New Jersey would create a 15-person commission tasked with studying how to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists, reports Phil Gregory.  

A major new study to be released at this week’s Transportation Research Board conference confirms paint alone isn’t enough to lure more “interested but concerned” cyclists out on the streets. As this group makes up the largest segment of prospective cyclists nationally, and presumably locally too, they’ll be the source of most of the future growth in Philly’s bicycle mode share. It’s worth paying attention to what they say they need to feel comfortable.

Bicycling Magazine sits down with former NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, now a principal at Bloomberg Associates. Sadik-Khan is credited with transforming New York City’s streets between 2007 and 2013, installing over 400 miles of new bike lanes and 60 pedestrian plazas across the city, and most significantly, resetting expectations nationwide for how long street redesigns should take. “I think culture change takes time, but cities have to move quickly with infrastructure,” she says, “Streets have been the same way for so long that people don’t really understand what’s possible. They’re skeptical you can change it.”

Chris Potter has more details on the Peduto administration’s request to pilot using federal Section 8 housing vouchers as financing to restore blighted buildings and create more homeownership opportunities for low-income residents in Pittsburgh. 

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