March 10: Freight rail safety | Safety & vacancy | Slow BRT appeals | Free Library budget increase | 15th/Walnut redevelopment | Charming Camac

Welcome to the working week, Streeters. We hope you enjoyed the beautiful weekend.

What will CSX do to make its freight rail infrastructure safer? The 25th Street Viaduct is a crumbling elevated rail line that has seen a spike in the number of huge oil trains it carries daily. It’s just one piece of questionably safe freight rail infrastructure that threads through the city, and one that neighbors and officials want to see better maintained, the Daily News reports. Freight rail safety will be in the spotlight at CSX testifies at a City Council hearing Wednesday. But the real power for enforcement lies with the federal government.

The Inquirer uses 1101 Frankford Avenue as a case study in the difficulty of keeping large vacant properties safely sealed even as redevelopment is nigh. Under Mayor Nutter’s proposed budget the Department of Licenses and Inspections will get a $2 million increase to pay for more building inspectors to monitor buildings like 1101 Frankford in Fishtown.

Tax appeal evaluations are slow going for the Bureau of Revision of Taxes. The Inquirer reports that 20,000 appeals of tax increases from the Actual Value Initiative are pending, which is slowing down millions in payments to the city and its schools. Until these appeals are decided property owners may pay taxes at the old rate, and at this rate the BRT won’t resolve all appeals for two more years.

The Mayor’s proposed budget would add $2.5 million for the Free Library system, allowing for 43 hires and Saturday hours for all branches, reports the Inquirer. Mayor Nutter “called his 2008 decision of library funding ‘the absolute worst decision I have made in the time I have been in public office.’”

PREIT’s planned redevelopment of 1501-1505 Walnut Street is a promising opportunity on this increasingly bustling and expensive stretch of Center City’s top retail corridor, the Business Journal reports. Walnut Street’s retail row west of Broad has the fastest rising rent in the country. Here vacancies are being filled, and the surrounding blocks of Chestnut and 15th-18th streets are absorbing some growth.

Hidden City Daily looks at the history of the charming 200 block of South Camac Street, paved with wood blocks and lined with private clubs.

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