July 14: Trujillo for Mayor? | Center City Pedestrian Walkway | Protected Bike Lanes vs. Parking Entitlement | Roxborough Land Fight | Train Blast Zone Philly

Good morning! Here’s the Philly built environment news we’re reading here at PlanPhilly this morning. What else is on the agenda?

Former city Solicitor Ken Trujillo has formed a “leadership team” of some impressive Pennsylvania political talent as a first step toward jumping into the 2015 Mayoral race. Trujillo has worked with Congreso, a nationally-recognized multi-service organization serving Latino communities in North Philly, was one of the partners in the never-built Riverwalk Casino proposed in 2006, and served on the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. 

If the city declines to build a new public road to service an undeveloped piece of land, does that count as a “de facto taking?” That’s what Common Pleas Court Judge Ellen Ceisler ruled, in a dispute between Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. and some Roxborough developers. The city is appealing the ruling, which could have interesting consequences for Councilmanic Prerogative over public streets, not to mention takings law.

That awful Girard Square building on Market between 11th and 12th Streets will soon be demolished, to be replaced with a 17-story tower with two floors of retail space and 322 apartment units. Matt Stringer at the Philly Living blog thinks the most exciting feature will be a pedestrian walkway for shoppers between Chestnut and Market, which you can see in the image above.

Rina Cutler, Philadelphia’s Deputy Mayor of Transportation and Utilities, says amateur cyclists aren’t going to feel very comfortable riding on city streets until we start building protected bike lanes, but “that’s a little more complicated and makes people a lot more politically nervous because usually it means you need to either take out some parking or relocate the parking.”

Just to benchmark how Philly’s car politics compare to other cities, merchants in Portland are asking for protected bike lanes to drum up business, and Helsinki recently announced an ambitious plan to make car ownership pointless in 10 years with a “mobility-on-demand” system that fuses “everything from driverless cars and nimble little buses to shared bikes and ferries into a single, supple mesh of mobility.”

Duncan Black challenges the conventional wisdom that South Philly has a parking problem: “I get that people from the burbs don’t know where to park, so if they travel too far from their intended destination they get a bit upset and nervous. But it’s maddening that long time residents think parking is a major issue around here.”

Since most of Philadelphia is located within what PennFuture terms an “oil bomb train blast zone” (see the map), you may want to check out PublicSource’s helpful explainer on what you need to know about crude oil trains traveling through Pennsylvania.

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