September 23: Tom Wolf on cities | Cigarette tax passes House | Philly rents flat | Uber introduces wheelchair-accessible vehicles

The two candidates for Pennsylvania governor sparred last night in the first debate of the general election. For some reason land use has failed to heat up as a major campaign issue, but Democratic nominee Tom Wolf actually has a fairly extensive activist resume on the kinds of land use and transportation topics PlanPhilly readers are interested in. Here he is telling Mary Wilson cities are “the wave of the future,” and even going so far as to use the dreaded d-word.

The local cigarette tax to fund Philly schools passed the General Assembly, 114-84, and all eyes now turn to the state Senate, where it is expected to pass.

Exploiting an important political weakness for the Philadelphia Parking Authority, Uber has introduced wheelchair-accessible vehicles to its service in Philly. The PPA currently allows only 7 wheelchair-accessible cabs to operate in the cities, and it took disability advocates 15 years to get them to approve 45 more – over a span of 10 years.

SEPTA General Manager Joe Casey answers some Metro reader questions about Media-Elwyn regional rail cars and the SEPTA app.

Eight of the 12 members of Ironworkers Local 401 charged in a racketeering case in February have plead guilty, reports Dave Davies. “Among the sites targeted was a Quaker meeting house under construction in Chestnut Hill, where prosecutors say union members used acetylene torches to cut steel beams and set fire to a crane.”

Finnegan’s Wake, the bar occupying the huge 19,000+ square foot building at N. 3rd and Spring Garden – a key gateway to Northern Liberties – is now closed.

Zillow finds Philly home prices and rents have been increasing between July and August, but Liz Spikol points out that the supply of inventory is pretty evenly balanced between high, middle, and low cost housing. Locally-based rental property analysis site Kwelia finds rent growth is flat, metro-wide.

Bob Graves, associate director of the Governing Institute, thinks information technology will continue to reshape mobility and transportation, and sees outlines of some best practices emerging in this area. 

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