March 16: Transit districts for neighborhood redevelopment | Food trucks back at The Porch | Pittsburgh a finalist for Smart City Challenge

Ariel Ben-Amos says Transit Revitalization Investment Districts (TRID) are a cheap and strategic way to extend redevelopment incentives beyond greater Center City. Jim Saksa has been covering Senator Dominic Pileggi’s amendments to the 2004 bill establishing TRIDs, which are like BIDs specifically for public improvements in the areas around transit stations. So far zero Pennsylvania municipalities have taken advantage of the revenue-generating option. The proposed amendments would make available more types of revenue than real estate taxes as an incentive. The two most shovel-ready locations for TRIDs in Philly are the regional rail stop at Temple, and the 46th and Market station area, as Interface Studio already conducted a study of them.[PDF] 

University City District reached a deal with the Mobile Food Association to bring food trucks back to The Porch at 30th Street Station for breakfast and lunch service, reports Danya Henninger. Losing The Porch was a big deal for mobile food vendors because, as PMFA president Rob Mitchell told Henninger, parking rules prevent vendors from easily setting up shop in the Center City office district during lunchtime. As Jared Brey reported, Councilman Mark Squilla has introduced bills to make life easier for food truck vendors, although he hasn’t yet touched the parking issue. 

Duncan Black describes the vicious cycle of low curb parking turnover, double-parked delivery trucks, and late buses that Philly transportation planners will increasingly have to grapple with as the popularity of Amazon and delivery apps intensifies the competition for street space. DVRPC is currently working on a report about delivery policy. Here were the top congestion-fighting ideas from their Downtown Delivery Symposium last summer.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto wants the Steel City to be a leader in smart transportation technology, writes Ed Blazina. The Mayor outlined the ongoing joint initiatives between the city and Carnegie Mellon University that made Pittsburgh one of seven finalists for a federal Smart City Challenge grant, including “a Bus Rapid Transit system between Downtown and Oakland, the Uptown Ecodistrict program of sustainable development and a program with the U.S. Department of Energy to use steam plants to produce electricity.”

The Federal Highway Administration is including bike and pedestrian safety in its new performance measures for state DOTs, reports Angie Schmitt. “State DOTs will be required to track their performance on bike and pedestrian safety, but won’t be penalized in any way if their “performance” is lousy. However, they will be forced to report that lousy performance — which is a start.”

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