September 18: Open union negotiations | Median parking Philadelphia relic | Unlisted: Locust Theatre

Though the lawsuit challenging median parking on South Broad has come to an end, the fight for cultural dominance rages on. Joe Trinacria, contributing to Philly Magazine, makes the case for the importance of median parking as a relic of Philadelphia culture. As “Old Philly” and “New Philly” take it to the courts, Trinacria cautions that “this great bit of civic jostling” opens up a Pandora’s Box that puts “authentic” Philly idiosyncrasies at risk of being legislated away.

Speaking of South Philadelphia as a “bastion of tradition,” Inga Saffron looks at the past and present uses of the former Grand Lodge of the Pennsylvania Order of the Sons of Italy in America. Defying tradition and the traditional architecture of South Philly social halls, the Sons of Italy contracted modernist firm Carroll, Grisdale & Van Alen in 1954 to design a new “Grand Lodge” to serve as the epicenter of social life for the Italian community. While the Sons have since left the building, the architects’ design maintains the original intention: current tenants Programs Employing People continues to use the building to house “social services and celebratory events under one flat, modernist roof.”

SEPTA expanded train service to and from Wilmington and Newark, Delaware Business Now reports. Over in West Philly, construction begins Monday to replace the trolley track on Spruce Street between 38th-40th Streets, West Philly Local reports. Jim Saksa covered Saturday the MFL train derailment near Spring Garden Station.

State lawmakers are voting along party lines over two bills that would require collective bargaining negotiations to happen in open session and apply to public records, WITF’s Emily Previti reports. Republican proponents of the bills argue that a transparent process “would hold both public officials and union representatives accountable,” while Democrats in opposition like Senator Daylin Leach argue that the bills’ sole purpose is “to undermine unions [and] make it look like they’re unreasonable and they won’t bend and they won’t concede anything.” 

Hidden City highlights the “show-stopping charm” of the former Locust Theatre at 52nd and Locust. The theater, Ben Leech writes, is not on listed on the Register of Historic Places and represents a “sadly fading side of Philadelphia’s once tinselled past.” A few designated theaters have still been demolished.

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