July 23: Philly pols request ride-share exemption | Moody’s downgrades PA | Pedestrianizing our alleys | Bike Coalition survey

Paul Nussbaum reports that Philadelphia-area lawmakers requested Philadelphia be exempt from the bill legalizing ride-sharing apps Uber X, Lyft, and Sidecar. If the bill passes, the services would be legal in every city except Philly “If approved as drafted, such a ride-share law would apply to Philadelphia. But the bill’s prime sponsor, Sen. Wayne Fontana (D., Allegheny), said Philadelphia probably would be excluded from the bill’s provisions, at the request of Philadelphia legislators.” Sounds like prerogative, no?

Meanwhile Yellow Cab, Pittsburgh’s taxi monopolist, sees the writing on the wall and is preparing its own e-hailing app to compete with ride-sharing apps Uber X and Lyft. 

Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Pennsylvania’s debt – the third time in two years a ratings agency has taken an unfavorable view of the Commonwealth’s fiscal health, citing a widening structural deficit and a growing pension responsibility. The best explainer out there on the practical impact of the pension challenges for the budget comes is still this short piece from Eric Boehm at PA Independent.

SEPTA wants to hear your suggestions for service improvements in your neighborhood. In Bella Vista, I’m interested in whether the 47 could be rerouted from 9th to 7th to allow for some open streets weekends in the Italian Market.

Former Philadelphian Greg Meckstroth writes for This Old City about Melbourne’s laneways – alleys that the city consciously transformed over time from auto-oriented dead zones into vibrant pedestrian walkways packed with small shops, bars, and restaurants. Meckstroth suggests Philadelphia pursue a similar strategy (he mentions Drury and Ranstead) but the obstacle tends to be a surfeit of dumpsters, surface parking, and garages.

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, BikePGH, and People for Bikes are partnering on a project to improve biking and walking in places all across Pennsylvania. Take their survey here to help guide their advocacy efforts.

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