May 31: Green City, Clean Waters turns five | 2400 Market riverfront promenade | 27 fatal crashes in 2016

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the Green City, Clean Waters program, Philadelphia’s nationally-recognized approach to complying with the Clean Water Act which emphasizes keeping stormwater out of the sewer with green roofs, rain gardens, stormwater trenches and other green infrastructure as opposed to building new underground water storage capacity. Tom Avril reports the city says they’ve hit their target of keeping more than 600 million gallons of rain out of the aging sewer system each year, but the job is still less than 10 percent done, and they’ll need to triple the number of acres they’re greening over the next five years. Read our report on the economics of GCCW and Philly’s emerging green stormwater infrastructure industry.

Philadelphia has seen 27 fatal car crashes so far this year, ten of which involved pedestrians, Chris Palmer reports. The latest, a hit-and-run, occurred last Tuesday after midnight when a man drove off the road on Bustleton Avenue, killing Alejo Molina, who was waiting for the bus at the curb. The driver turned himself in seven hours later, and will likely face charges, according to police. Jim Kenney’s transition team called for the Mayor to establish a Vision Zero Task Force to create a plan to cut traffic injuries and deaths in half by 2020, but there has been no new public information on this recently. 

Councilman Allan Domb says he and the Kenney administration are looking at a number of revenue options to replenish the city’s underfunded municipal pension fund, several of which fall into the realm of real-estate and development, reports Joe DiStefano. Those options range from selling delinquent business tax and utility liens to private collectors, updating real estate assessments annually, updating and maintaining accurate land assessments, particularly under tax-abated property, and increasing court and Sheriff’s fees that haven’t been increased since the 1980’s. 

Ayana Jones checks in with Commerce Director Harold Epps’s listening tour of the city’s commercial corridors, and talks to Paul Levy about what other corridors can learn from E. Passyunk Avenue, where Levy chairs the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation board. “The challenge for an area when it’s being revitalized is everybody wants bars and restaurants. Bars and restaurants stabilize rent but they also sometimes produce tension with existing residents,” said Levy, “So what PARC has tried to do is balance keeping places like a hardwood store, a scooter shop, coffee shops and clothing stores and mix that together with restaurants that generate a great deal of revenue.”

PMC Property Group’s new 2400 Market building will include a riverfront promenade facing the Schuylkill River, says Sandy Smith. Varenhorst’s submission to the Civic Design Review panel, which will review the project later today, says the project will include “dynamic open spaces that will attract the masses and further rejeuvenate the Schuylkill banks.” 

Naked Philly reports historian Ken Milano has nominated a former cemetery at 1834-48 Frankford Avenue for inclusion on the Historic Register. The Mutual Burial Ground of Kensington, which has not been an active burial ground since the 1860’s, lies beneath the current building housing the Kensington Sculpture Gym and an auto shop next door, which developers are planning to demolish to make way for 41 new homes.

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