Why SEPTA's New Institutional Pass Program is a Sea Change for How Transit Is Funded in Philadelphia

A few weeks ago SEPTA announced a new pilot initiative, SEPTA Key Advantage, that has the potential to seriously transform the transit agency’s business model in exciting ways that could create a lot more stable local transit funding. Continue reading

Philly Permitted Two-Thirds of the Housing in PA in 2021

(Photo: Jon Geeting) A few weeks ago we reported that Philly had permitted over half the new housing units in Pennsylvania in 2021, based on the November totals published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD.)   Continue reading

Where Domb and Gym Agree: It’s Time for City Council Term Limits

Aside from two high-profile upsets in 2019, Philadelphia City Council has been a very low-turnover local legislature for all of modern history, with Councilmembers serving exorbitantly long terms.  Almost purely generational turnover has introduced some newer members into the body over the last two election cycles, mostly through the At-Large seats, but what you rarely see happen is serious challengers running and winning in District seats—the real power seats on Council. Continue reading

Bill Greenlee is the Father of Washington Ave Political Dysfunction

(Some guys who really love Councilmanic Prerogative) Very large majorities of residents living near Washington Avenue in South Philadelphia have told the City’s transportation office that they want the Kenney administration and City Council to prioritize the safest possible redesign option for pedestrians there when the street is repaved and restriped next year. Continue reading

How the Overdue Ward Redistricting Hurts Local and State Redistricting Efforts

(Philadelphia Ward Map) Once a decade, political districts of many kinds are required to be redrawn to reflect population changes measured in the Census, including Congressional districts at the federal level, state House and Senate districts, and local City Council districts.  Continue reading

Testify on City Council's Redistricting Proposal on Wednesday

(Image: Philadelphia Inquirer) Philadelphia City Council will host their one and only meeting to take public comment on their proposed new City Council District map on Wednesday, January 26th between 10am and 1pm, and residents interested in testifying about it will have to sign up by 3pm today (Tuesday). Continue reading

Ward Leaders Shouldn’t Be the Ones to Pick Special Election Nominees

A few months ago we wrote about how 5th District state Senator John Sabatina was chosen by the city’s Democratic Party for a “magic seat” on the Court of Common Pleas, which then set up a special election scenario for his district. Sabatina had won the primary nomination for a 4-year term just last spring, so the winner of the special election will serve the entire term.  Continue reading

Philly Permitted More Than Half the Housing in Pennsylvania in 2021

(New housing under construction in Northern Liberties | Photo: Jon Geeting) Philadelphia had a banner year for housing permitting in 2021, with more than 10,000 dwellings approved by the city permitting authorities. That’s about 3 times as much housing permitted as you’d see in a typical year from the recent past, and the reason has to do with both the timing of the full 10-year tax abatement expiring, and also historically-low housing inventory over the last 2 years.  Continue reading

PA Redistricting Panel Approves Preliminary State Legislative Maps

The Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission that’s charged with redrawing the Commonwealth’s state legislative districts voted in favor of two preliminary maps on Thursday, which were presented for public view the same day. Continue reading

City Council to Shut Down 250 Streeteries at the End of 2021

(Kalaya's streetery will have to be taken down if Council doesn't act. | Photo: Metro Philly) City Council is about to pass a bill legalizing “streeteries” and critically, it would also codify the much easier pandemic-era process for creating new outdoor dining stalls moving forward, albeit in a very limited set of places. Streeteries are the outdoor eateries that many restaurants and establishments used to move their seating outside during the pandemic, which were enabled by some smart policy changes by the Mayor's office and City Council that temporarily drastically cut the permitting time for both sidewalk cafe seating and dining stalls in the parking lanes. We’ve written in the past about this permitting reform success story, and some lessons going forward.  Continue reading