Patco’s morning-after mea culpa is good juju on Super Bowl Friday

PATCO wants to kiss and make up. The regional transit operator is offering free rides during Friday morning rush hour between 6 and 9 in hopes of winning back commuter love after a rough few days of service delays.  Trains ran on a limited schedule through most of the past week while the agency worked on repairs following a Monday morning pole run-in. The hiccup caused caused “significant strain and iconvenience for [PATCO] customers,”a spokesperson for the agency ackowledged in a statement. Now that the repairs are complete, PATCO will keep the fare gates at all stations open to allow free passage to that last day of work before your Super Bowl weekend. To answer your question: if you board right before 9am and reach your destination station after the gates close, pick up the red phone and a Customer Service Agent will open the gate to allow exit.

It is “refreshing and encouraging to see [City] Council take action that will materially benefit the poorest amongst us,” writes Jay A. McCalla, contributing to Chestnut Hill Local. McCalla is referring to a bill from Councilmember Jannie Blackwell that was passed by Council  that would forgive unpaid parking tickets that predate 2013. Unfortunately for the parking delinquent among us, the measure was vetoed by Mayor Jim Kenney, citing concerns about the potential “lost income that would otherwise have gone to the schools.” McCalla, a former deputy managing director and chief of staff for Philadelphia City Council, points out that the PPA “has failed to collect almost $600 million in fees and fines since 1990.” He argues that it is unfair to target the poorest in the city who cannot afford the tickets, arguing that Blackwell’s “amnesty is a direct response to the PPA going ‘full gonif’ on enforcing parking tickets from 20 years ago,” calling the focus a “new and greedy little twist.” Jim Saksa reports that new PPA head Scott Petri said in his inaugural report to the PPA board January that he opposed the bill.

Hey you know what else is open besides PATCO’s fare gates? The Schuylkill Banks section between South and Christian Streets! The new section is accessible from South Street Bridge and from the public plaza at the new CHOP research tower. Green Philly reports on the latest trail progress, including the Schuylkill Banks’ note to be gentle with the fresh plants and grasses. Next up on the Schuylkill Banks’ five year strategic plan: the section from Christian Street to Crescent Connection and Bartram’s Garden.

Another anticipated reopening: Edwin M. Stanton Elementary School at 1700 Christian Street unveiled Thursday its newly redeveloped green schoolyard  tricked out with “natural design elements, interactive garden landscape spaces, and science garden plots, a vine-clad entry pergola, and a covered stage for performance and outdoor teaching.” The schoolyard renovation was really a village effort involving neighbors, the Philadelphia Water Department and a volunteer design team led by the Community Design Collaborative. Feeling inspired to do something for your neighborhood? The Trust for Public Land captured the journey of the campaign and its stakeholders here.

Speaking of neighborhood action, Philadelphia sustainability czar Christine Knapp has released a progress report on the city’s sustainability agenda and it may just be the first city-issued publication you actually want to read. Dig into Catalina Jaramillo’s take on Greenworks’ first annual report and what it tells us about the city’s future. 

Public comment period alert: the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority is now accepting public comments on proposals for Village Square on Haverford, the mixed-use development project for the 3600 blocks of Haverford Avenue Street, Mount Vernon Street and Wallace Street in Mantua. Check out the proposed site plan here. Folks can submit comments and feedback on the proposals by email or snail mail no later than Friday, March 2, 2018.

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