July 10: ZBA Undermining Zoning Reform | Williams on Defense | Transportation Doomsday | Drivers Hate Philly | PPA Mobile Payments

It’s an exciting day here at Plan Philly as we roll out our Blueprint2015 project with PennPraxis, covering the 2015 campaign. In case you missed it, here’s a statement on the project from Harris Steinberg, and a description of how Plan Philly is changing from the editors and reporters themselves. This is your project as well as ours and we look forward to hearing from our audience about what information you need this campaign season. Now without further ado, here’s the rest of the morning’s news.

Philly ranks fourth out of ten cities Americans don’t like to drive in, according to a new report from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Could it be all these driving subsidies overwhelming our 17th-century street grid with too many cars?

The Zoning Board of Adjustment isn’t helping. While the 2012 zoning overhaul specifically set a goal of developing Philly in a less auto-oriented way, City Paper’s Ryan Briggs finds a pattern of ZBA undermining that goal: “The board tends to take a principled stand when it comes to denying arbitrary requests for taller buildings or extra housing units, but such zeal is strangely lacking when it comes to parking-related issues.” 

Throwback Thursday: here’s Eyes on the Street’s Ashley Hahn back in 2012 with five reasons Philly shouldn’t set parking minimums

Mayoral candidate-in-waiting Senator Anthony Williams serves up some delicious word salad defending his committee vote delaying approval of the cigarette tax. Meanwhile, Superintendent William Hite says layoffs will start August 15 without the tax in place.

Why the Highway Trust Fund is running out of money, in 5 graphs. We’ll have more soon on how the transportation funding cliff will specifically impact metro Philly.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority put out an RFI (request for information) to learn more about creating a mobile payment system. PPA believes allowing customers to pay remotely from their mobile devices will save the Authority money.

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