October 21: Nutter and Rendell endorse Stober | Who’s right about roundabouts | Neighborhood Civics 101

Regular readers know RCOs and neighborhood civic associations play a big role in Philly development politics, and tonight’s Neighborhood Civics 101 will explore what makes these organizations tick with neighborhood leaders from Northern Liberties, Francisville, Passyunk, and Germantown. If you’ve been thinking about getting involved in your neighborhood, we’ll have an RCO look-up station to help set you on the path. 

Michael Nutter and former Mayor and Governor endorsed independent candidate Andrew Stober for a City Council At-Large seat yesterday. Stober worked for Nutter’s administration as the Chief of Staff at the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, so on one level this isn’t surprising. But Nutter is also a Democratic ward leader, tasked with getting out the vote for Democratic Party-endorsed candidates, and Chris Brennan and Tricia Nadolny say this could be grounds for the Party to depose him from that position. 

At the Philadelphia Citizen, Malcolm Burnley makes the case for giving unlimited SEPTA passes to all the region’s college students, and borrows a point from Michael Noda that this could dilute university-driven gentrification in nearby neighborhoods by reducing the cost and inconvenience of living off-campus. We’ve been following the SEPTA Youth Advisory Council’s campaign to implement this idea, and last year we checked in on how it works in Pittsburgh

Taylor Farnsworth says the Newbold Civic Association is sounding the alarm after Parks and Recreation recommended against a Green City, Clean Waters makeover for the Guerin Recreation Center parking lot, citing concerns over loss of parking and possible contamination. NCA president Levana Layendecker argues that the contamination worries are unsubstantiated, as no testing has been conducted. There’s a public meeting about this on Monday, October 26th.

There was finally some substantive back and forth between Jim Kenney and Melissa Murray-Bailey at this week’s debate, over the issue of job creation. Ryan Briggs says Kenney wants to expand South Philly’s container terminals, and Murray-Bailey says port expansion doesn’t offer enough economic development value. Murray-Bailey would focus on attracting regional headquarters from international companies, and Kenney would try to lure more suburban companies downtown. 

Emily Babay takes you on a virtual tour of Fairmount Park’s mansions and drops some history on the myriad functions they’ve assumed over their long lives. “While other cities tore down colonial structures, Philadelphia purchased Fairmount Park and its mansions in the mid-1800s to help preserve the quality of the city’s water supply.”

The city of Harrisburg leased out control of its parking assets as part of its Act 47 fiscal recovery plan, but so far parking revenues are $1 million short of tprojections

Chuck Marohn at Strong Towns says cities should manage traffic congestion like they manage stormwater. “For automobile flooding (congestion), the only way to deal with it and still have a successful economy is to address it at the source. We need to absorb those trips locally before they become a flood,” he writes, “Instead of building lanes, we need to be building corner stores. 

The UK is replacing more roundabouts with traffic signals, while US cities are warming up to modern roundabouts and traffic circles. Philly is part of this movement, with MOTU planners looking into installing a few with red light camera money. Ian Wylie at the Guardian looks at the record on safety and traffic management from both approaches for different types of users. 

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