Help West Philly’s Neighborhood Foods win the TEDxManhattan Challenge


For approximately two years, an innovative urban farm has been operating on land leased from SEPTA, next to its 46th Street MFL stop. The project’s farm component is managed by a West Philadelphia youth cooperative that farms the land and sells its produce. The farm also supports a stand at SEPTA headquarters in Center City (1234 Market Street).

The farm is competing with 5 other food programs to win the TEDxManhattan Challenge. Help this Philadelphia team out, by voting here.



Research Rest Stop – Sustainable Transportation

Recently there has been much discussion regarding the environmental sustainability of automobiles versus transit.  Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics Radio, interviews Eric Morris, a planning professor, who suggests that driving an automobile is friendlier to the environment than riding transit.

A SEPTA Hybrid Bus

Their argument rests on the (faulty) assumption that although single occupancy automobiles have high emissions, most buses do not run at full capacity and as such, emit more pollution  per person than automobiles.

A 2009 EPA report shows that when buses carry an average of 11 people (most people have seats for 40 people), they are more fuel-efficient than automobiles; a full bus is nearly four times as efficient.

This discussion asks the question, “What is the most sustainable form of transportation?”  In the book, Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air, David JC MacKay compares multiple modes of transportation by the energy needed to travel 100 kilometers.

Emissions per Vehicle Comparison Chart

This research shows that buses are more efficient that single occupancy cars and a full car is more efficient than a bus.  However, trolleys, subways, electric and diesel trains, and trams are more efficient than a full car.  The most sustainable forms of transportation are walking and bicycling.

In Philadelphia, 9.2% of people walk to work, and 2.5% use bicycles.  Furthermore, the recent Complete Streets Policies approved by the City Streets & Services Committee promotes the use of transit, walking, and biking, works towards more sustainable transportation of the entire City.

Want to know more?

Streets Blog Network Article

Freakonomics Marketplace Article

Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air

Stormwater Management Design Competition – Register by Friday!

The Philadelphia Water Department, the EPA, and the Community Design Collaborative are hosting an Interdisciplinary Design Competition to promote the creative, innovative use of Green Stormwater Infrastructure in Philadelphia.

The Deadline for Registration is this Friday!

The competition will challenge engineers, landscape architects, and architects to develop new designs to help manage stormwater in Industrial, Neighborhood, and Commercial Districts.

Nine finalists will be chosen to present their designs and one chosen design from each district will win $10,000!

For more information:

Philadelphia Water Department

Infill Philadelphia

MOTUnes Monday – Cars

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities showcases a transportation, energy, or sustainability related song.  This week, let’s cruise around with Gary Numan’s, ‘Cars’.

Chicago O’Hare’s Vertical Garden

Two months ago, the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago opened a 928 square foot vertical garden in terminal three.  The garden uses an aeroponic growing process and produces fresh basil, cilantro, lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers among others.

O’Hare Airport’s Vertical Garden
(Photo Courtesy of Kylee Baumle)

In addition to creating a pleasant atmosphere in the airport to enjoy while waiting for a plane, the vegetables grown in the garden are used in the airport’s restaurants.  With next to zero transportation costs, the restaurants are able to offer the freshest possible vegetables to travelers.

But why stop there?

A fresh and wholesome foods program for airport employees could help increase healthful eating habits among airport workers who may not have adequate access to nutritious foods.  Furthermore, a healthy eating program could be tied into employee health insurance policies, which would incentivize better eating habits, thereby improving overall general health.

Building a sustainable garden in the airport is an excellent way to improve the space in the airport, but this garden has the opportunity to innovate and improve the health and well-being of everyone at the airport.

Want to know more about O’Hare’s vertical garden?

Our Little Acre

Urban Gardens

Winter Abandoned Bike Sweep

On Thursday, November 29th and Thursday, December, 6th the City of Philadelphia Streets Department will be conducting an abandoned bicycles sweep.  The Streets Department will remove abandoned bicycles that have been identified through Philly-311 and tagged by the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities.  Removing abandoned bicycles is an important part of maintaining the streets for all Philadelphians and it frees up existing parking areas for cyclists and clearing-out scarce sidewalk space. 


All abandoned bicycles will be donated to local charities that specialize in refurbishing bicycles.


To report an abandoned bicycle, please call 311 or use the Philly-311 smart phone app  to report the bicycle.  Remember to include a description of the bicycle, its location, any damage, and what the bike is locked to (a tree, parking meter, etc.).


If your bicycle has inadvertently been identified as abandoned, simply remove the yellow tag and relocate the bicycle to a nearby bike rack or call the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities at 215-686-9000. 


If you have any questions, please call the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities at 215-686-9000. 

SEPTA’s New Bus Stop Design Guidelines

SEPTA and the DVRPC have just released the SEPTA Bus Stop Design Guidelines.  This report will provide municipalities in the SEPTA region with a consistent set of design standards for surface transit stops, which include bus, trackless trolley, and mixed-traffic trolley stops.

The guidelines address the location of transit stops relative to the neighborhood they serve; the in-street design allowing for a smooth flow of boarding and exiting passengers; the curbside design, which includes the waiting space and the connectivity with nearby development; and the passenger amenities, such as shelters, seating, and lighting.

A well-designed transit stop is well-connected to the community, can accommodate the needs of passengers, promotes comfort and safety, and enables efficient transportation.  The guidelines are based on national standards and best practices and provide strategies on how to integrate new bus stops into existing neighborhoods.

Find out more about SEPTA’s plans to improve the look and use of Bus Stops.

SEPTA Bus Stop Design Guidelines

MOTUnes Monday – Hitch Hike

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities showcases a transportation, energy, or sustainability related song.  This week, let’s stick out our thumbs and ‘Hitch Hike’ by Marvin Gaye.

The Complete Streets Bill Moves Forward

The Complete Streets Bill was approved by the City Streets & Services Committee and is advancing to the City Council for full approval.  This new policy encourages safer transportation for all modes of travel – pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, and automobiles. Additionally, the policy requires city agencies to review all projects with the Complete Streets Checklist to ensure that new development projects in the city take consideration of transportation safety by following the road design treatments described in the Complete Streets Handbook.

The Complete Streets Handbook identifies preferred multi-modal street designs and best-management practices to improve transportation for all types of roadways in Philadelphia.  These designs reflect the changing needs for all modes of travel in the city and will increase safety as well as mobility for all Philadelphians.

Check out the Complete Streets Manual

Find out more at the Philadelphia Inquirer

MOTUnes Monday – Proud Mary

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities showcases a transportation, energy, or sustainability related song.  This week, let’s keep rollin’ on the river with Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Proud Mary’.

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