October 9: Templetown landlord oversight | Germantown Town Hall conversations | DRPA funding PATCO work | SEPTA regional rail strained, overnight subway service to stay

Good morning, Philly. Here’s what you need to know to start off this Thursday:

Can the behavior of Temple students living off-campus be improved by tightening oversight of their landlords? That’s the aim of legislation Council President Darrell Clarke will have introduced in City Council today. The Daily News explains it is an effort to ease tensions between rowdy, slobby students and neighbors. If landlords are cited twice in three years they could lose their rental licenses. Will it work?

Community members are trying to sustain a conversation about new life for Germantown Town Hall. Hidden City Daily reports that the Germantown Town Hall Collaborative will host a community meeting this Saturday to develop “guiding principles” for the building’s reuse. (The meeting is at the Germantown Mennonite Church at 21 W. Washington Lane in Germantown from 10am-Noon.)

Looks like the Delaware River Port Authority might actually be starting to use its economic development funds for rail and bridge improvements – its core function – instead of totally unrelated projects like stadiums. An Inquirer editorial has tepid praise for DRPA’s vote to put $3.7 million toward replacing PATCO tracks on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. As the editorial wonders, “Is the DRPA really back to building infrastructure instead of building bonfires with commuters’ money?”

SEPTA’s regional rail trains are overcrowded thanks to rising ridership and breakdowns that limit capacity on trains. The Inquirer notes, “About 15 percent of SEPTA’s rail cars are out of service on any given day, while passenger counts are up 4 percent from last year and 50 percent from 15 years ago.” In the near-term crews are working overnight to repair and shuffle trains. To help relieve the pressure SEPTA is also planning to purchase 36 bi-level coaches and 13 new locomotives.

Meanwhile, SEPTA announced its temporary overnight weekend subway service would stay indefinitely. NewsWorks notes that an average 15,000 riders took the overnight service each weekend (up from the 9,000 who were using Night Owl buses), and most pay with transpasses. The overnight service is estimated to cost $1.7 million a year, and SEPTA is looking for a sponsor to help underwrite that cost. (Bonus: In a moment of celebratory serendipity, Thrillist Philadelphia produced a SEPTA Bar Map. It’s imperfect, but the concept is fun at least.)

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