June 9: Council advances soda tax | Montco’s changing demographics | Mayfair protected bike lane

Philly’s getting a soda tax, write Holly Otterbein and Jared Brey.  City Council’s Committee of the Whole passed a 1.5 cent tax on sugary drinks and diet soda, which is expected to raise around $91 million for Jim Kenney’s first term spending plans, including pre-K and parks and recreation center repairs. In a last-minute wrinkle, finance director Rob Dubow said some of the money will also go to support the city’s sagging fund balance. The tax is expected to pass the full Council.

Montgomery County, long the richest county in the state, is losing wealthy residents, reports Todd Poole. According to IRS data, “people moving out have higher incomes than the people moving in.” 

“Washington Avenue east of Broad is hell,” says Mark Dent, in a review of the safest and least safe places to bike around Center City. The Avenue is sorely in need of restriping, but this has been delayed for years while Councilmen Mark Squilla and Kenyatta Johnson weigh competing proposals. The city restriped the edge lines between the parking lanes and bike lanes last spring, which is about all anyone seems to agree on.

Jason Laughlin checks in on Mayfair’s forthcoming parking protected bike lane on Ryan Avenue. “When the change is completed by August, city officials said, cyclists in the area will travel adjacent to the curb, separated from car traffic by parked cars and a four-foot buffer zone marked with flexible posts.”

Ed Blazina looks at Pittsburgh’s application for the federal Smart Cities Challenge grant, available only to mid-sized cities, which included ideas like “a series of transportation spines, traffic signals that give priority to transit and freight vehicles, and an “electric avenue” between Downtown and Hazelwood for driverless vehicles charged at solar power stations.”

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