PHA’s parking problem and surplus property auction, $20 million for SEPTA in North Philly, Zoning reform and Chelten Plaza move toward decisions

Stephen Smith, an urbanism blogger for Forbes, says there’s too much parking at new low-rise affordable housing developments. He critiques the suburban-style design and parking approach taken by housing agencies, calling out the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s (PHA) Norris and Southwark developments in particular. Smith writes that the old problem with public housing was “towers-in-the-park,” today it’s “townhomes-in-the-parking lot.”

In related PHA news, the housing authority is auctioning off more than 400 of its vacant properties. Naked Philly was there for the announcement, and raises some concerns about PHA’s disposal process for its surplus properties: Why so many properties offered at auction in Lower North Philly neighborhoods like Brewerytown, as opposed to Point Breeze, say? What of the rest of the properties PHA wants to sell off? And worse, what happens if these properties don’t move?

Newsworks reports that SEPTA received $20 million in federal transportation funding: $5 million to improve its 110-year old bus facility at 33rd and Dauphin in Strawberry Mansion, and $15 million to replace old buses with new diesel-electric hybrid models.

Zoning is back to the fore on PlanPhilly this week. Jared Brey reports on what it will take to pass the reformed zoning code after this week’s the Zoning Code Commission’s meeting. Amy Z. Quinn explains that the fate of Chelten Plaza’s Dollar Tree could be decided by City Council.

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