September 25: Clarke to propose new Department of Planning and Development | Kerkstra on PIDC | Traffic calming for tourism

Chris Hepp reports that City Council President Darrell Clarke is releasing a plan today, which he says has been in the works for over a year, for a new Department of Planning and Development, and a Department of Buildings, which would consolidate the Department of Licenses and Inspections with “the Planning Commission, the Historical Commission, and the Zoning Board of Adjustment.” More details to come later today.

Can historic preservation and restoration communities be a force for traffic calming? The Dominican Ministry of Tourism is using restoration of cobblestone streets as a tool to slow down car traffic in Santo Domingo. Geoff Thompson at This Old City has been making the case for cobblestones (with separate paved bike lanes) around Rittenhouse Square.

Patrick Kerkstra has an excellent profile of PIDC’s John Grady, which sheds some light on the old boys’ club at the intersection of Philadelphia politics and development. Kerkstra says Grady has helped fill the “visionary vacuum” in a development community that is still very old-school. There’s also a useful refresher here on the whole Navy Yard saga, which is freshly relevant because of Terry Gillen’s 2015 Mayoral bid.

A new generation of “conversational”-paced monthly group bike rides is replacing the more confrontational Critical Mass and (in its own way) Naked Bike Ride events. To my great embarassment, it has come to my attention that a bandana’d photo of yours truly appeared in yesterday’s Inquirer, taken at the pirate-themed Philly Bike Party ride. 

Over at Grist, Brenton Mock pushes back on the idea of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure as an issue of privilege. What do you think? Is there a meaningful trade-off between political attention to this stuff vs. the other issues facing economically-distressed communities? Pedestrian traffic fatalities do tend to be higher in higher poverty areas, and the equity-focused Bill De Blasio administration in NYC has made public safety equity a priority of their Vision Zero campaign.

You can buy custom paper cuts of your neighborhood street grid or row house from Emma Fried-Casorla to support the Philly Love Notes blog, and soon you’ll be able to order prints of this insane illustration of Philly landmarks from local artist Mario Zucca.

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