US House Candidates Debate: Thurs, 3/24, 7-8:30 PM, Acad of Vocal Arts, 1920 Spruce St
*Note change of venue from location announced in recent hard copy Center City Quarterly.
Hear the four Democrats and one Republican seeking the US House of Representative's 2nd District seat answer, discuss, and debate issues presented by moderator, Sam Katz, former mayoral candidate and current film producer, who will also present questions from the audience:
Brian Gordon, Lower Merion Township Commissioner, Attorney;
Dan Muroff, Philadelphia's 9th Ward Democratic Leader, Attorney, Ex-Congressional Aide;
Dwight Evans, PA State Representative 203rd District (Germantown, Oak Lane, Olney, Lawncrest); and
James Jones, HR Consultant.
Zoning Remapping Public Meeting, Wed., 3/23, 7-9PM, Trinity Memorial, 22nd & Spruce St.
For the past year, a CCRA task force, working with Planning Commission staffers, has been reviewing zoning classifications in our community. Proposed revisions to zoning in the area between Spruce Street and Naudain Street, and 19th Street and the Schuylkill river will be presented so that neighbors may make comments and suggestions. All are welcome.
WHAT'S NEW IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Report on Public Parking: Costs Up, Number of Spaces Down
Every five years, the Planning Commission issues a report analyzing off street parking available to the general public in Center City. The 2015 analysis shows there are 46,400 parking spaces in the study area (river to river, Spring Garden to South Street). About a quarter of the spaces, 26.6 %, are situated in the west of Broad area which subsumes our community [Market West (4,278), Penn Center (4,927) and Rittenhouse Square (3,143)].
The CCRA neighborhood plan, published in 2006, predicted the gradual disappearance of the surface lots and two storey garages that dotted our community in the years before the recession. That prediction has come to pass - consider the townhouse developments on three Lombard Street surface lots and the replacement of two garages on Rittenhouse Square Street. So it is no surprise that, over the past five years, in this larger study area:
The number of spaces has decreased 7.2%, a trend which presumably accounts for
A 23% increase in fees a figure which includes a 2.5% parking tax effective July 2015. The fee increases were particularly dramatic in our community. Of the 13 parking submarkets studied, two in our area (Market West, Penn Center) ranked as the first and second most expensive and the Rittenhouse Square submarket was close behind, occupying the fifth most expensive slot.
The report noted the impact of "Early Bird" rates which "heavily favor commuters over those parking for a couple of hours", calculating that, "On average, it is only 32 cents more expensive to park for 8 to 9 hours . . .than to park for just one hour . . . parking for two hours costs $6.67 more than to park all day as a commuter." The result: "80% of weekday customers are commuters taking advantage of a discounted early bird rate or a monthly pass". Because of the Early Bird pricing favoring all day commuter customers, Philadelphia daily parking rates ranked lowest among ten cities but our hourly rates ranked fourth.
The report concludes that in the future "the management of the city's parking resources will become increasingly critical" but falls short of calling for an overall parking policy. Currently, parking regulations are fabricated by various agencies which are not guided by central planning principles. The Crosstown Coalition's parking committee chaired by CCRAer Bill West, after analyzing more than 2800 responses to its parking questionnaire, is recommending that the City convene a group of stakeholders to assemble a comprehensive parking policy.
A 24 year-old from Bucks County, who was bar-hopping with friends for the St. Patrick's Day celebrations, was stabbed to death near Rittenhouse Square around 3 AM Sunday morning. The authorities have charged a 40-year-old amputee veteran from Delaware County. The facts concerning the altercation are unknown at present. We will not speculate. All we know, however, is that this is a tragedy for all involved: a young man is dead, a wounded veteran is charged, and our community is grieved.
Board Member Nominations
The Association seeks nominations to fill a number of Board seats for the year beginning on July 1, 2016. New Board members generally serve a term of 3 years.
The Board is a working Board. We are seeking energetic individuals who have a passion for living in our residential district; are interested in issues of quality of life and community service; and are committed to active participation on the Board, including actively serving on at least one committee (e.g., Membership, Fund Raising, Newsletter, Zoning, Finance, Streets, Long-Range Planning, Historic Preservation). Candidates must pledge to devote a minimum of four (4) hours per month on CCRA activities, not including time spent attending, and preparing for, monthly Board meetings.
While CCRA membership is open to any individual, corporation, or organization, under our bylaws, board members must live within our geographic borders (i.e., the area of JFK Boulevard south to South Street, and Broad Street west to Schuylkill River). Members are encouraged to forward a resume or summary of qualifications of any individual who is interested in serving (which could be yourself) by March 25 to CCRA, 1600 Market St, Ste 2500, or email email@example.com, with the title "Board Candidate" in the subject line.
Meet Your Elected Representatives
Thurs. April 7, 2016, 7 - 8 pm,Temple Beth Zion - Beth Israel, 300 South 18th Street: Town Hall with City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, President of City Council and the Councilperson for the 5th Councilmanic District, a portion of which falls within CCRA's boundaries.
Thurs. May 12, 2016, 7 - 8 pm, Temple Beth Zion Beth Israel 300 South 18th Street: Pennsylvania Senator Farnese Town Hall, 7-8pm.
Local Merchant Spotlight: Café Lutecia, 23rd & Lombard
Family owned and operated, Café Lutecia serves breakfast and lunch every day, except Monday. The tomato bisque is a "Best of Philly." The quiche is a neighborhood staple. The food is as delightful as the surroundings are down home. Tues-Fri, 7-3; Sat-Sun, 8-3.
CCRA Merchant Member Discount Program
Support our local merchants and save money too. These local merchants will provide a discount (described here) to any member who shows a current CCRA membership card (Di Bruno Bros. has its own CCRA card) and personal identification.
Do you have a place in front of your home or business that would be suitable for a street tree? Use the Parks and Recreation Department's Tree Maintenance Citizen Service Request Form to request that a new or replacement tree be planted in the sidewalk in front of your property. The trees are free, but the properties' owners must request them.
Upon receipt of your request, the city will schedule an inspector to verify that the location is suitable for a street tree, e.g. that the sidewalk is wide enough, and that it doesn't interfere with any signs or traffic signals. If it is suitable, your address will be put on the city's list of locations scheduled for street tree installation.
Be patient. It may take anywhere from 1 to 2 years for installation, but the sooner you get on the city's list, the sooner you'll have a tree.
Art Exhibit at Twenty-Two Gallery: "Illuminations" by Joyce Schwartz, Now thru Sun 4/3, 236 S. 22nd Street.
"Bleu Garden" 30"X 40" oil on canvas"
Intoxicated by the colors in nature, Joye Schwartz paints in an impressionistic style illuminated by the brilliance of light and playing on the various hues contained in the world surrounding her.
Joye Schwartz, who lives in Elkins Park, Pa., has been painting since 1987. Her artwork is included in private collections in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Israel, and Australia. An original watercolor by Ms. Schwartz was recently commissioned by the Lauder Institute to be included in the collection of Ronald Lauder.
Closing Reception: Sunday, April 3, 1 to 4 PM
Learn about Neighborhood Planning and Zoning, Wed. Evenings, 4/13-5/25, 6-9PM, 1515 Arch St, 18th Fl
If you are interested in learning more about neighborhood planning and zoning in Philadelphia, the Citizen's Planning Institute is for you!! Course fee includes dinner. Application forms and more information may be found at http://citizensplanninginstitute.org/apply-for-spring-2016. Application deadline: March 23. For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-683-4648
Join Penn's Village and Learn about Our New, Very Tall Neighbor, Tues, 3/29, 10 - 11:30 AM
The Liberty Property Trust development under construction at 1800 Arch Street, will be 60 stories high, the City's tallest building and the 8th tallest in the US. It will feature a 222-room Four Seasons Hotel, a full service spa, banquet and meeting facilities, and two restaurants.
The day will begin with a 45-minute overview in the Comcast Conference Center, followed by a tour of the construction site. Meet at the ground level reception desk of the Comcast Center at 1701 JFK Boulevard. WEAR COMFORTABLE CLOTHES AND SHOES!
Please register by March 25th calling (215) 925-7333 or by emailing email@example.com. The maximum capacity for this program is 25 people.
Free for Penn's Village members and volunteers. A $5 donation to Penn's Village from other guests, payable at the event.
Join the Sustainable Business Network and Judy Wicks, for "Conversations toward a Sustainable Philadelphia," intended to spark discussion, and local action for climate change and environmental justice.
This panel will discuss making homes and businesses energy efficient, renewable electricity on PECO accounts, and solar rooftops. Judy Wicks will speak about moving her home toward no-carbon, along with a panel of experts:
Micah Gold-Markel, Founder, Solar States
Glenn Smith, Executive Director, The Energy Co-op
Mitchell Swann, PE, board member of the Philadelphia Energy Authority, and a Partner at MDC Systems
Sponsored by Sustainable Business Network, Solar States, and The Energy Co-op
Groundbreaking Ceremony for 22nd & Market Memorial Park, Wed., 4/6, 11 AM, SE Corner of 22nd & Market
The park at 22nd and Market Streets commemorating the victims of the June 5, 2013 collapse of the Salvation Army building has been renamed the "June 5 Memorial Park." Join Mayor Kenney and the Memorial Park Committee (which includes CCRA) in a groundbreaking ceremony at the site on April 6. RSVP to Katie Pytel at Katie@bdnreit.com or 610-832-7703. Donations can be made at www.pennhort.net/memorial.
Philadelphia City Institute Library needs Donations of Used Books, CDs, DVDs and Audiobooks for Book Sale
The Friends of the Philadelphia City Institute Library on Rittenhouse Square seeks donated books, CDs, DVDs and audiobooks for its Book Sale on Saturday, April 30th, 2016, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Books must be in excellent or "like new" condition. Please bring books to the Reference Desk by Saturday, April 23. All proceeds from this event will be used to support the Philadelphia City Institute Library.