In 2024, hopping on the trolley on Girard and Lancaster Avenues could be a new experience. That’s because SEPTA is planning a fleet of new, longer, ADA-accessible trolleys for Routes 10 & 15, and the four other city trolley routes in the city. Sounds good for riders, but big changes are also in store for drivers and pedestrians on these routes.
For starters, SEPTA’s planned fleet of modern trolleys will operate in new ways. The new vehicles will be at least 80 feet long. (For comparison current trolleys are about 53 feet long.)
Longer trolleys mean more room for seats and riders, and up to four doors on the trolley, up from the current two. This would speed boarding and reduce travel times. Speaking of boarding, this is the part that would be very different. Longer trolleys will need ADA-accessible platforms that will look a lot more like stations. This is so the trolley car could meet the platform allowing riders to get on and off without steps. The platforms would also include space for benches and other passenger amenities. Of course, you could not build full stations at every corner. Plans call for the trolleys to stop every quarter-mile (or every five blocks) at new stations.
SEPTA says this will also allow the trolleys to operate faster than stopping at every block. The building of platforms will mean the elimination of parking at each stop. Depending on the length of the stations, three to five parking spots on each side of the street would be lost. But transit planners explain the effect on parking could be neutral. That’s because if trolleys are stopping at fewer stations, the city could reduce the number of no parking transit zones.
These plans are still in the early planning stages. SEPTA will have to hold hearings to secure both funding and public approval for trolley plan. City Council would also have to approve the parking and street changes that are proposed. We’re sure that there will be many concerns, especially from bicyclists and property owners along the streets to be affected.
SEPTA says the trolley modernization plan including new vehicles and street construction will cost $1.1 Billion Dollars. If funding is identified and secured, we could see new vehicles and new stations on the streets in about six years.
Residents of Wynnefield’s Penn Wynn House have been served with a mass eviction notice. Tenants have been given until the end of May to leave the apartment complex, their homes. This move comes as owners of the complex prepare to begin a major renovation project that will displace hundreds of residents. With the continued growth of development in Philadelphia these types of stories are no longer rare, but no less painful to the neighborhood residents they effect. Penn Wynn House has some 240 apartments and many of the residents there are senior citizens, retired veterans, people with limited mobility or on fixed incomes. For many of them finding new lodgings is a challenge made doubly hard when trying to do this in little over a month’s time. After interviewing some of the residents it’s clear that this all began when new owners purchased the building in December 2016.
According to resident Willie Mobley “soon after that the letters started being stuck on apartment doors” eviction letters. The tenants have had little communication with the new owners, and many don’t see a way forward.
In early May, some of the residents partnered with the Philadelphia
Tenants Union, to hold a demonstration outside the Penn Wynn
house. PTU is a tenant-led organization dedicated to winning safe,
decent, and affordable housing for renters in Philadelphia. The
demonstration held outside the Penn Wynn House was planned to
bring awareness to their plight. The Tenants Union is asking the new
owners to give the tenants an extension of three months and to return security deposits in full. Residents could use this money as they seek new housing in the area. Members of the press were there along with many onlookers. Councilman Curtis Jones was on hand to
speak to the crowds and he stated that he would introduce legislation concerning unfair eviction practices during city council session in May. The Parkside Journal will continue to follow this story, look for updates on our website at: http://firstname.lastname@example.org
Update: Councilman Curtis did Introduced a bill, in late May, that would require landlords in gentrifying neighborhoods to give residents at least six months’ notice before eviction can take place.
Many of our readers probably know that the Please Touch Museum has had its share of difficulties since moving to the Parkside area in 2008. For a number of reasons, in September The Please Touch Museum filed for chapter 11. During this time the museum remains open and continues its good work of educating children through play. A ground swell of support for the Please Touch Museum has spread throughout the Parkside community amid reports of these financial challenges facing the highly regarded institution.
We at the Parkside Journal are certain that the Please Touch Museum will survive its financial struggles and emerge from bankruptcy proceedings. Please Touch has become an important part of the Parkside community. They offer many programs that directly help Parkside and the neighboringcommunities. Many of these programs are housed within their Community Learning Department. To most of us this means outreach programs. In these programs the museum goes beyond the walls of the building and out into the community. Some of the programs they offer are Youth and Family Programs. These programs seek to empower parents and caregivers and help to mentor youth as they grow into adults. The museum’s ACES program is one of these stellar programs and was featured in the Parkside Journal’s Summer 2015 edition. The School Readiness program is designed to support children and families who are transitioning into kindergarten. These are just a few of the many programs that West Philadelphia residents benefit from in having The Please Touch Museum as a neighbor.
Whatever the final outcome of all of the current negotiations, etc., the Parkside community stands firmly behind its Please Touch neighbor. The Parkside Journal urges all of its readers to support all future endeavors of the museum. This paper strongly feels that the current Please Touch Museum situation should be a “wake up” call for our community; Parkside can no longer take the cultural institutions in its midst for granted. This paper hopes that the varied Parkside community organizations will make a concerted effort to help support and sustain ALL of its valued cultural institutional neighbors.
Just before the deadline for the printing of the Parkside Journal, this paper was informed by reliable sources that a petition drive is currently underway in the Parkside area (and possibly in other neighboring communities). The focus of the petition drive is the METADONE Clinic (Formally known as Parkside Recovery in West Philadelphia) located at 5000 Parkside Avenue. This facility has been a fixture in our community form many years.
According to the copy of the petition obtained by the Journal, the ultimate goal of the petitioners is to have the clinic moved to another location outside of the Parkside Community and its adjacent neighborhoods. The petition expresses concern about the affect of the clinic on neighborhood safety and the physical and cultural environmental of the Parkside community. The petition also allages that the clinic is a hindrance to business development and economic growth in Parkside.
In accordance with the Journal’s belief in fair and objective news reporting, efforts were made to obtain comments from both the clinic and the local police. Repeated attempts were made to contact the Clinic by phone and get a response or statement concerning this issue from the executive Director of Addition Services or other clinic spokesperson.
The Journal did not receive any response to calls or voice messages. (If the Journal receives any response or statement from the clinic after the printing of this issue, every effort will be made to post it on our website). Despite time constraints, the Journal was able to briefly contact a community relations representative from the 19th police District. She said that she could not recall any specific recent incidents involving the the metadone clinic. She did state, however, that there have been a significant number of complaints from the community about loitering by some of the patrons of the clinic after they receive their medicine.
It was her opinion that more needed to be done to (by the operators of the clinic) to encourage clients to leave the area around the clinic in a more timely fashion after the completion of their medical treatments.
The editors of the Journal are encouraging all Parkside residents to become more informed about this important issue. Journal readers are invited to visit our website at http://www..parksidejournal.wordpress.com for updates and/or comments about this fast moving story. The next issue of the Journal will have a follow up report on this important community issue.
News that is from, about, and benefits our Parkside Community in West Philadelphia.