March 6: Diminishing low-cost and starter housing stock | Gems behind I-95 | Peduto and bikelash

The dream of capping of I-95 inches even closer to reality. The William Penn Foundation has committed $15 million to support redeveloping Penn’s Landing into a waterfront park. Now, with $90 million from the City, $100 million from PennDOT, the park project only needs $20 million to hit its estimated $225 million construction cost. 

Indeed, I-95 obscures many a gem. We all know that there ain’t no party like a banquet in an adaptively reused 19th century church party. Hidden City takes us through Richmond Hall, the former Port Richmond Methodist Episcopal Church, which lives on as banquet and catering facility at 2619 East Indiana Avenue.

Curbed Philly reports that New Kensington CDC received more than 600 applications for 51 available apartments at Orinoka Civic House, prompting the CDC to use a lottery system. PlanPhilly reported last week that the Mayor allocated no new funds towards affordable housing in last week’s budget speech.

Low-income residents are not the only ones struggling to find affordable housing stock. Caitlin McCabe of the Inquirer reports that first-time millennial homebuyers are forced to seek housing in the suburbs, where new construction town homes fit the spacious requirements of young families in the middle-market price point. While construction of new housing units in Center City is slated to outpace demand in 2017, the Federal Reserve reports that Philadelphia lost 20 percent of low-cost rental units between 2000 and 2014, and real estate search engine Trulia reports that ‘starter homes’ only make up 30 percent of the Philly’s housing stock.   

SEPTA is moving its bus stops at 15th and Market temporarily to 16th and Market due to construction, CBS Philly reports. SEPTA has the status updates in real time on their website.

If Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto doesn’t win reelection, blame bikelash. “It would be easier for me to budget a UFO landing site than to put in the budget a dedicated bike lane in an area that’s unsafe for both motorists and cyclists,” Peduto told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in a recent interview. Economic issues and city services have improved so a likely wedge for voters could be the “cultural lens” one has on bike lanes and what that says about Peduto’s priorities.

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