October 1: Market East construction starting | Clark Park zoning fight | Driving trending down

Construction kicks off on the 1100 block of Market East tomorrow morning, reports Natalie Kostelni. “The 4.3-acre site takes up an entire city block bound by Market, Chestnut, 11th and 12th streets … [The] initial phase will include constructing a 17-story tower that will have the first two levels dedicated to 160,000 square feet of retail space and the remainder an apartment structure with 322 units.”

A very nice building proposal near Clark Park that has community support may not come to fruition because the owner doesn’t want to negotiate the city’s cumbersome zoning process. The by-right option is considerably uglier, and neighbors are urging Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell to pass an ordinance that would “exempt New York-based Clarkmore LLC from the zoning process,” according to West Philly Local.

A 10,000 square foot lot zoned for mixed-use is for sale on the 1200 block of Washington Ave, which a sample rendering from the sellers says “could have five floors of apartments over a ground floor retail space and parking lot with fifteen spaces.”

A new report from the Eno Center for Transportation says PennDOT is one of a few state DOTs to use life-cycle cost evaluation – essentially budgeting for the next 50 years of maintenance costs from the outset, rather than looking at only a 10-year window.  This matters because if life-cycle cost evaluation were used to prioritize infrastructure projects, many highway capacity expansion and interchange projects would seem like worse value propositions relative to urban transit projects. But “PennDOT does not use life-cycle cost analysis to prioritize projects; rather it is used only for improving design alternatives on a project-by-project basis.” 

Brookings looks at the new American Community Survey numbers released for 2013, and finds “the share of national commuters traveling by private vehicle is edging down for the first time in decades — from 86.5 percent in 2007 to 85.8 percent in 2013. Meanwhile, other transportation modes have grown in relative importance. Public transportation, which just recorded the most passenger trips since 1956, saw its share jump to over 5 percent, reaching levels not seen since 1990.”

The Bicycle Coalition shares a time-lapse video of the construction of the Schuylkill River Boardwalk. 

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