You’re Invited: Artist-Designed Bike Racks Display & Reception

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Mark April 9th on your calendars to join us and our favorite new bike racks for an afternoon reception featuring the winners of the Bicycle Coalition’s Artistic Bike Rack competition.  The reception will be held from 5pm-7pm in the Art Gallery at City Hall, in room 116 B, and is hosted by the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OCCE) and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.  New York City may have David Byrne, but we think that Philadelphia’s  artists can hang with the best of ‘em.  Come see what all the fuss is about.

From OCCE:

“The City’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy introduces two exhibitions in celebration of Philadelphia’s growing bicycle culture.  Artist-designed Bike Racks and Bike p’ARTs combine two great local passions: cycling and art. The exhibits are located on the 1st and 2nd floors of City Hall, NE corner in the Art Gallery at City Hall and display cases near the Mayor’s Offices.  An artist reception is scheduled for April 9, 5-7 pm.

Last summer, the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy in partnership with the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia launched an open competition inviting artists and designers to create unique and creative bike racks for Philadelphia.  The project was made possible by a $50,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge. Over 100 entries from 83 individuals and firms, representing 21 states, as well as the Netherlands and Poland; 35 entries came from the Philadelphia area were reviewed by a panel of arts professionals and bicycle enthusiasts.  Selections were made based on creativity, appropriateness to Center City, and functionality as a bike rack. 
 
Nine design finalists were selected:
Peter Everett Brown and Barbara Ann Sprague AIA, of Brown Sprague LLC, Kathleen Fruge-Brown, Warren Holzman & Iron Studio, Carin Mincemoyer, Joe Norman, Collin Robinson, Nathaniel Ross, Ralph Tullie and Juliet Whelan.

A
rtist-designed Bike Racks features all 9 of the winning bike rack designs in the Art Gallery at City Hall. This is the only remaining opportunity to see all the designs in one location.  Afterwards, the bike racks will be installed throughout Center City in such locations as the Cira Centre, Sister Cities Park, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, for widespread public use.  Prior to being exhibited in City Hall, the fabricated designs were part of this year’s Flower Show.
 
To complement Artist-design Bike Racks, artists from the region were invited to submit art that utilizes bicycle parts, exploring themes of sustainability, health and the urban environment. Bike p’ARTs features the work of 11 local artists: Regina Kelly Barthmaier, Robert Barabos, Charlize Katzenbach, Jennifer Lynn, Gerry Marron, Eric Mozes and Donnell Powell of Color My Sidewalk, Elicia “Eel-Eye” Avenue, Scott White, Kendal Wilkins and Raphael Xavier
 
The exhibits run through June 13th.” 
BikeP-Arts Announcement_revised

Philly’s Snow-Fighting Efforts Benefit from Brine

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The benefits of brining are visible during snowfall in late February.

We posted previously about what it takes to keep Philadelphia’s streets clear and safe during winter weather. It turns out the story gets saltier— in a good way.

To reduce the amount of rock salt applied to roads while still effectively combating ice and snow, the Streets department applies brine. Just like the brine used for pickling and other culinary feats, the brine applied to roads is a solution of salt and water. Brine can be applied to roads up to two days before a snow event. As the water in the solution evaporates, a coating of salt remains on the asphalt. In contrast to dry rock salt, which is often swept from travel lanes to gutters by vehicular traffic, brine residue stays in travel lanes where it is applied. The Streets Department applies brine proactively to prevent ice or snow from adhering to road surfaces. Brine can melt up to the first two inches of snow that falls in a storm.

The Streets Department estimates that brining reduces total amount of salt required for wintry city streets by over 30%. Less salt used on roadways means less salt enters the urban ecosystem and area watershed. Less salt also means reduced corrosion and deterioration of the city’s bridges and streets, resulting in fewer potholes and needed repairs.

The City has been brining for about 15 years. To address challenges caused by aging brining equipment, Streets Department Commissioner Perri recently directed the Highway Division to revitalize the City’s brine operations. As a result, the Street Department’s Bridge Maintenance and Central Maintenance Units, along with Fleet Management, rehabilitated two brine stations. The Streets Department plans to expand brining operations as conditions permit. The primary focus for brine treatment at this time is roadways in elevated regions of the city and on Roosevelt Boulevard.

The challenge this year, of course, has been the intensity snow and icy conditions we’ve experienced, which mean brining can’t be the only solution deployed. Not including this year’s winter snowfall, 75% of the snow events in Philadelphia result in a snowfall accumulation of one inch or less. In the future, the Streets Department will continue to invest in this cost effective treatment technique for use in most storm events.

Thanks to the Streets Department for all of this information!

City of Philadelphia Reaches Agreement to Sell PGW to UIL for $1.86 Billion

Originally posted on City of Philadelphia's News & Alerts:

Agreement must win approval from City Council and PUC

March 3, 2014 – The Nutter Administration announced today that it has signed an agreement to sell the assets of the Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) to UIL Holdings Corporation for $1.86 billion. The sale, which would inject at least $424 million into the City’s pension fund, must still win approval from City Council and then the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), prior to closing.

“When I announced nearly two years ago that the City would begin exploring the sale of PGW, I pledged that I would sign an agreement only if the terms benefited Philadelphia taxpayers and PGW customers,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter.  “This agreement accomplishes those goals and much more. UIL submitted the highest bid for PGW and agreed to contract terms that were important to the City. Our agreement keeps rates frozen for three years, maintains PGW’s discount…

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Join the SEPTA Citizen Advisory Committee

CAC-Poster-Feb2014

SEPTA is looking for Philadelphia residents to join its Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC)!

The CAC is a forum for regular SEPTA riders to work with the Authority to advocate for public transit.  SEPTA invites you to apply (by April 4th) to join the committee if you feel strongly about transit and are interested in representing other riders. To join, you should have the following qualifications:

  • Committed to collaborative engagement;
  • Proven track record of community volunteerism;
  • Familiar with Philadelphia neighborhoods and transit;
  • Able to commit to no less than 12 hours per month to the duties of the position, which include attending a monthly general meeting, a monthly subcommittee meeting, as well as a quarterly meeting with other City representatives;
  • Attend or host, in conjunction with SEPTA, local community meetings to discuss transit and transit related issues;
  • Have no outstanding back taxes.

To learn more and to apply, go to http://septa.org/partners/cac/membership-application.html. Applications can also be requested via the Philly 311 line. Submit applications by April 4, 2014.

Introducing Philadelphia’s New Green Streets Design Manual

Stormwater planter, from the Green Streets Design Manual

Stormwater planter, from the Green Streets Design Manual

The Philadelphia Water Department has announced the publication of Philadelphia’s Green Streets Design Manual!

Streets account for 38% of Philadelphia’s impervious surfaces, and are therefore an integral component of the City’s Green City, Clean Waters green stormwater management initiative.

The new design manual is a compilation of green stormwater infrastructure design standards that have been customized for Philadelphia. The manual also includes downloadable images and design files to aid green street projects at all stages, from planning, design, and engineering to construction.

The manual draws on the City’s experience with over 250 green street projects that are either in the ground or underway, and is the product of collaboration between PWD, the Streets Department, Parks and Recreation, the Planning Commission, MOTU, and other partners.

For more information, check out PWD’s press release:  CityofPhilaGreenStreetsPressRelease-2014.

PWD Issues RFP for Residential Stormwater Management Programs

rainbarrel_barbndc“rain barrel” by barbndc is licensed under CC BY 2.0                
The Philadelphia Water Department has posted a request for proposals (RFP) for the management of two of its residential stormwater programs: Rain Check and Rain Barrels. This represents a unique opportunity to get involved in implementing one of the most exciting and challenging aspects of Green City, Clean Watersthe city’s innovative watershed protection and enhancement plan.
 
PWD is seeking a Philadelphia based team with education and outreach experience that can also provide professional engineering support to administer the implementation of residential stormwater management tools on properties throughout the City.  
 
To view the full RFP, visit http://secure.phila.gov/econtract/ and search for opportunity # 21140123172141. Responses are due February 21 and there will be a pre-proposal meeting on February 4

Bicycle safety improvements on the way!

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Pavement markings, such as above on Chestnut near 30th Street, enhance road safety.

 

Last month, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia published a map of crashes involving bicyclists within the City from 2007 through 2012. Crash mapping can help prioritize safety improvements, but a crucial caveat (as mentioned in the Coalition’s post) is that the map does not take into account bicycle traffic volumes, and that many of “hot spots” on the map correspond to the locations most frequently traveled by Philadelphia bicyclists. Without calculating crash rates, a location with multiple bicycle crashes may be more indicative of its heavy bicycle traffic rather than any unusually high crash risk. In fact, citywide statistics suggest that bicycle safety has been improving steadily over the past few years. Even though the number of bicycle commuters in Philadelphia has more than doubled since 2005, the number of reported crashes involving bicyclists has remained relatively constant at around 250 crashes per year. Reportable crashes resulting in injuries to bicyclists constitute between 2-3% of all reportable crashes.

This coming year, MOTU and the Streets Department will continue to improve safety for bicycle riders and other roadway users with projects funded by the Automated Red-Light Enforcement (ARLE) program. In Pennsylvania, several towns and cities, including Philadelphia, are using cameras to enforce red lights at certain intersections. After paying for program expenses, the ticket revenue from ARLE is dedicated to transportation projects throughout the state.The most recent round of ARLE grants included $1.5 million for Philadelphia

One of the chief priorities of ARLE-funded projects is to create a safer environment for all roadway users, and one set of projects in Philadelphia, Bicycle Pavement Marking Enhancements, is targeted specifically toward bicycle safety. From now through the end of summer 2014, MOTU and the Streets Department will improve pavement markings within bicycle conflict zones at 34 intersections and over approximately 7 miles of bicycle lanes. The project will also introduce “sharrow” markings along 150 blocks of streets and refresh bike lanes that have become worn. This project was initiated at the end of 2013 and should be completed by the end of summer 2014.

The first markings funded by this project that we can expect to see this spring will be on Columbus Boulevard (from Race Street to Spring Garden) and at the intersection of Spring Garden and Pennsylvania Avenue.

As part of other ARLE funded safety projects, the City will be making minor changes to how intersections are marked to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.  For example, stop bars will be located further  from crosswalks to make pedestrians more visible to drivers, and room is being made for  bicyclists to better position themselves at intersections while a light is red.

Advertised for Bids: The Manayunk Bridge Trail

The bridge spanning the Manayunk canal and towpath. (Credit: Emma Lee for Newsworks.org)

We’re excited to announce that as of this week, the City of Philadelphia is officially advertising for bids to construct a multi-use trail on the Manayunk Bridge!  When complete, the bridge will become the first exclusive pedestrian/bicycle bridge spanning the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia.

The trail will extend Lower Merion’s Cynwyd Heritage Trail onto the existing bridge, soaring over the Schuylkill River, Manayunk’s Main Street, and SEPTA regional rail tracks.  The trail will land just north of downtown Manayunk at the corner of High and Dupont Streets.  The project has been in the works since 2010, when the William Penn Foundation funded a study to examine the feasibility of converting the disused bridge into a pedestrian and bicycle trail.  Over the past two years, planners, engineers, officials, and advocates on both sides of the river have been busy holding community meetings, developing the design, and assembling the needed financing.

The view of the Manayunk Canal from the bridge.

The view of the Main Street and the Manayunk Canal from the bridge.

According to a timeline from Interface Studio, who helped plan the project, the iconic concrete arch bridge was built in 1918 to replace an even older rail bridge at the same spot.  SEPTA acquired the bridge in 1976, and for awhile, trains on the Cynwyd Line crossed the river here.  However, the bridge had to be shut down in 1986 due to disrepair and has not been used since.  The tracks have been removed, but the structure is still standing and was shored up in 1999.  With construction anticipated to start next spring, the public will soon be able to enjoy a dedicated path with a magnificent view connecting both banks of the Schuylkill River.  In the future, plans call for further extending the trail past its soon-to-be endpoint in Manayunk further north to the Ivy Ridge rail station.

The City of Philadelphia will manage the construction project, but the project is being funded with a combination of City funds, a PennDOT Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative (PCTI) grant, Lower Merion Township, and Montgomery County.  Construction could begin as soon as late spring of 2014 and is expected to take a little more than one year.

30th St Station Completes West Plaza Renovations

We are pleased to announce that Amtrak has completed its West Plaza renovation at 30th St Station (check out their announcement here). The West Plaza, which has be under construction for the last year, has been renovated to include more automobile parking, outdoor seating, additional bicycle parking, and LED lighting.

West Plaza 2

Birds-eye view of completed project, image courtesy of Amtrak

We have heard and observed your need for additional bicycle parking at 30th St Station.  Earlier this week we released a graphic illustrating how 30th St Station has the most bicycles parked at the station and high percentage of them are parked informally.  We also did a study earlier this year about bicycle parking at 30th St Station and its users (check it out here).  Therefore, we are excited that the completion of the West Plaza renovation expands the bicycle parking capacity on the west side of the station to nearly 100 spaces.  In addition to this bicycle parking, we here at MOTU worked with Amtrak to bring six more bicycle racks to the east side of 30th St Station (the side closest to the Schuylkill River).  In total, 30th St Station is expanding its bicycle parking by approximately 150 NEW SPACES.

In addition to bicycle parking, the renovation also offers a safer and more pleasant environment for pedestrians.  The addition of energy-efficient LED lighting, an at-grad pedestrian crosswalk, new planters, and additional outdoor seating all help to enhance the pedestrian and visitor experience.

Finally, the renovation also includes additional metered parking spaces for automobiles.  There are now 14 additional parking spaces along “Little Market Street” in areas that were previously restricted.

Have you been by and seen the improvements? What do you think?

City of Philadelphia Seeks Proposals for Bike Share System

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The City of Philadelphia is pleased to offer the opportunity to firms with proven bicycle sharing technology to partner with the City to provide a Bicycle Sharing System for Philadelphia.  Of the ten largest cities in the United States, Philadelphia has the largest proportion of cycle commuters.  Already, more than 10,000 Philadelphians bike to work and thousands more trips occur each day for transportation and recreation. The market opportunity for bicycle sharing in Philadelphia is significant with the City’s flat terrain, mild weather, mix of high density residential, commercial, and educational development, along with a housing stock that leaves many potential cyclists without the room to store a bike.  The proposed service area is home to more than 430,000 residents and more than 400,000 jobs. Philadelphia’s Bicycle Sharing System is perhaps the last high ridership system left to be launched in North America and we invite interested parties to register and download the RFP from the eContracts Philadelphia web portal.

Access the RFP by registering with the eContracts Philadelphia and searching for New Contract Opportunities in the Procurement Department.

IMPORTANT DATES

Pre-Proposal Meeting (Recommended, not Mandatory)

Date: Wednesday, October 30th 2013

Time: 1:30 PM Eastern Standard Time

Location:

Municipal Services Building, Room 1450
1401 JFK Boulevard
Philadelphia PA, 19102

Final Questions Due

Date: Friday, November 1st, 2013

Time: 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time

Final Proposals Due

Date: Tuesday, November 26th , 2013

Time: 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time

QUESTION SUBMISSION

Questions may be submitted at any time and will be answered and posted to eContracts on a regular basis.

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