Weird Waste Day – November 10th, 2012

Do you have old computers, monitors, or other electronics stored around your house?

Green in Chestnut Hill will be hosting Weird Waste Day, a Responsible E-Waste Recycling event to help Philadelphians recycle their old and discarded electronics such as old computer parts, telephones, DVD players, game consoles, etc.

Green in Chestnut Hill, aka GRINCH, is a Philadelphia community group that furthers green and sustainable living.  GRINCH is not the only community group in Philadelphia organizing for sustainability. Sustainable 19125, based in the New Kensington neighborhood recently hosted a Fall Cleanup and has helped residents acquire trees for their yards. Both of these groups have taken the initiative to make Philadelphia an environmentally friendly and truly sustainable city.

Find out more about Weird Waste Day

For more information about GRINCH or Sustainable 19125, check out their websites:

GRINCH

Sustainable 19125

MOTUnes Monday – Electric Avenue

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities showcases a transportation, energy, or sustainability related song.  This week, let’s rock down to ‘Electric Avenue’ by Eddy Grant.

Walkability – What is it Worth?

In recent years, Walkability has become one of the most important goals that cities and communities strive for and with the increasing popularity of new metrics like walkscore and walk appeal, it is easier than ever for people to identify and determine walkable neighborhoods.  Many people moving to new homes or apartments often look at the walkscore of their potential new neighborhood but what makes a walkable neighborhood valuable?  How valuable is walkability?

Intuitively, Walkability is important as a part of sustainable growth for an area. Walkable neighborhoods promote active transportation (thus better public health), aesthetically better shopping areas (compared to strip malls), and are more environmentally friendly by limiting automobile emissions.  Finally, walkable neighborhoods promote higher densities as less space is needed for automobiles.  Although these characteristics of walkable neighborhoods are desirable, they are not financially quantifiable and thus make it difficult for developers invest in.

A Walkable Neighborhood in Philadelphia
(Photo courtesy of VisitPhilly.com)

A recent report by the Brookings Institute examines the economic value of walkable neighborhoods.  The report, “Walk this Way: The Economic Promise of Walkable Places in Metropolitan Washington, DC” shows that neighborhoods with greater walkability perform better economically, and have higher property values for office, retail, and residential properties.  Moreover, the property values of walkable neighborhoods increased more than automobile dependent neighborhoods.

Simply put, walkable neighborhood development is economically feasible and improves the quality of a place.

The City of Philadelphia is increasing the walkability of its neighborhood through the Complete Streets Campaign.  Incorporating a Complete Streets approach to Philadelphia neighborhoods will ensure that pedestrians can easily and safely reach all their destinations.

For more information:

“Walk this Way: The Economic Promise of Walkable Places in Metropolitan Washington, DC”

New York Times: Now Coveted: A Walkable Convenient Place

PHOTOGRAPH OR RENDERING?

Is the following a photograph or a rendering of the new dog park by the new Schuylkill River Parks Connector Bridge?

If you said that it was a rendering, you would be INCORRECT.  This is an actual photo of the new dog park!  Hope you all go and visit, it is located in the Schuylkill River Park at 25th & Spruce St.

MOTUnes Monday – Turn Off the Light

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities showcases a transportation, energy, or sustainability related song.  This week, let’s remember to conserve and ‘Turn Off the Light’ by Nelly Furtado.

Please Join Us for the Dedication of the Schuylkill River Parks Connector Bridge!

MOTUnes Monday – The High Road

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities showcases a transportation, energy, or sustainability related song.  This week, let’s choose to take the path less traveled with ‘The High Road’ by the Broken Bells.

MOTU & PWD Invite You to the Sustainable Streets Scavenger Hunt!

Do Red-Light Cameras Work?

A Red Light Camera in Philadelphia
(Photo Courtesy of Newsworks.org)

Many cities in the United States use automated red light enforcement cameras.  The theory behind it is quite simple – since traffic police cannot be at all intersections at once, set up cameras at particular intersections to photograph drivers who drive through intersections without stopping at red lights, then mail those drivers traffic tickets.

About ten percent of all intersection fatalities in the United States are the result of running red lights, so it is important for cities to use all methods possible to increase traffic safety.

Although this practice is widely used, there is some controversy surrounding whether or not red light cameras actually increase safety, so much controversy that some cities have actually turned off their cameras.

Recent research in Virginia investigates whether or not cameras at intersections actually benefit traffic safety.  The study examined eight intersections – four intersections where red light cameras were turned off for ten months and four intersections without any red light cameras.  At each intersection, researches recorded whether the last car to enter the intersection did so on a green, yellow, or red light.

The results showed that when the red light cameras were turned off, 12% of the last cars to enter the intersection did so by running the red light, but when the cameras were on, only 3% did. This suggests that drivers are less willing to run a red light if they know they will receive a ticket, which in turn means that red light cameras reduce unsafe driving behavior.

Like many US cities, Philadelphia uses red light cameras among many tools to promote safe driving habits.  It’s important that all drivers, transit users, bicyclists, and pedestrians follow the traffic laws in order to make transportation in the city efficient, convenient, and safe (and to avoid getting a ticket!).

Find out more:

The Atlantic Cities Article

Read The Full Study

DesignPhiladelphia Starts Tomorrow!

Today marks the first day of the DesignPhiladelphia, a five-day city wide festival with over 120 different events around Philadelphia that aim to discuss and explore the role that design plays in our daily lives.

DesignPhiladelphia wants to remind us that design is everywhere we look, from something as small as a paperclip to something as large and complex as an urban plan.

This Saturday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, the Philadelphia Water Department, and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability will be hosting the Sustainable Streets Scavenger Hunt, an exploration of some of Philadelphia’s most inventively designed streets that increase safety, reduce stormwater runoff, increase urban greenspace, and calm traffic.

Come join us on Saturday, October 13th at 11:00am on the corner of 12th Street and Reed Street to take part in the Scavenger Hunt and see how Philadelphia is innovatively re-imagining how street design can improve our communities.

Find out more about the Sustainable Streets Scavenger Hunt

Check out DesignPhiladelphia for other events

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