September 15: Marketing SEPTA | Cities see economic gains | Progress Plaza honored

As SEPTA tokens go the way of the dodo the transit agency has hired a local marketing company to help Philadelphians adapt to the system’s new payment technologies. The Business Journal reports Swell has a 3-year contract with SEPTA for $2.5 million.

New census data on income and poverty reveal that cities are faring better than in previous recoveries. Via Vox: “Economic gains are flowing disproportionately to urban areas, while less populous areas are getting left behind.”

A deeper look at Philly’s data set by the Inquirer revealed that while Philadelphia and its region are seeing incomes rising, nothing has improved for the poor. The city’s poverty rate is at a stagnant 26 percent and deep poverty rate, measured as people living at 50 percent of the poverty line or less, is at 12.1 percent. Both are the worst rates for big cities.

This week North Philadelphia’s Progress Plaza got a state historical marker, honoring the pioneering community development work of Rev. Leon Sullivan of Zion Baptist Church in establishing the shopping center – the first in the U.S. built, owned, and operated by African Americans.

This WSJ piece on ditching parking minimums has its flaws but we appreciated this nugget: A developer in San Diego found that by not including parking in a new project “rents will be barely half that of comparable apartments nearby.” Memo to City Council: parking minimums for new development hike prices.

Lastly, we at PlanPhilly offer a hearty huzzah to WHYY’s Terry Gross who will receive the National Humanities Medal in a White House ceremony next week.

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