May 28, 2016
ISSUE | MASS TRANSIT A safer way to travel Americans have been taking to the road more frequently thanks to low gas prices and improving economic conditions. While many would view this development as positive, it has a downside. Motor-vehicle deaths totaled 38,300 last year, an 8 percent increase from 2014 and the largest one-year percentage increase in 50 years, according to National Safety Council estimates. While motor-vehicle accidents have consistently caused more than 30,000 deaths a year, according to the council's data, public transportation has had far fewer fatalities.
September 27, 2015 |
The morning rush is over, and preliminary ridership numbers from the region's major transportation agencies indicate a bit fewer people than expected came into the city through mass transit for the papal events than was expected. "It's less than expected volume," said SEPTA General Manager Joe Casey as he observed the morning's arrivals from a command center high above Market Street at the transportation agency's headquarters. The transportation agency updated ridership numbers Saturday evening to about 40,000 passengers who used special papal passes to enter the city Saturday morning.
September 23, 2015 |
On July Fourth, as thousands packed the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, prepared to party beneath the fireworks, a high-tech medical tent was ready to treat anyone who might need help. That tent and others will be back in action this weekend for the visit of Pope Francis, with at least one big difference: Medical staff will be ready for visitors who had significant medical problems long before they got there. Wherever Francis goes - Ecuador in July, Cuba this week - he is greeted by cancer patients, people in wheelchairs, and others who seek healing through his touch.
July 27, 2015 |
A casual observer of Philadelphia's papal preparations could be forgiven for wondering whether the city is girding for a sharknado - or some other disaster as improbable as the one featured in the Syfy channel's C movies. With officials planning to close Center City and more to vehicles, dramatically restrict mass transit, and corral crowds behind 8-foot fences, it sounds as if little will be mobile besides the popemobile. Last week brought more cause for reflection, not to say prayer, when SEPTA's sale of special Regional Rail passes failed to leave the station.
June 18, 2015 |
To cope with the unprecedented crowds anticipated for Pope Francis' visit in September, SEPTA plans to double its rail and subway capacity, limit train stops, and carry only Regional Rail passengers who purchased special passes in advance. Officials of SEPTA, Amtrak, PATCO, and other agencies joined Mayor Nutter at City Hall on Tuesday to outline transportation plans for the papal visit and the World Meeting of Families. As many as two million people are expected to jam the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to see the pope at a Saturday festival and again at a Sunday Mass on Sept.
May 27, 2015
ISSUE | SCHOOLS Priorities skewed It's ironic that the School District is spending more than $1.37 million to suppress an employee's freedom of speech while one of its neighborhood schools, with which I am familiar - Emlen Elementary - has to rely on charity and volunteers to provide its students with a school library ("Blow the whistle," May 21). |Deborah Grill, Philadelphia ISSUE | NEW JAIL Different pocket Although Jim Kenney objects to building a new House of Correction because the schools need the money, the funds to build would come from the capital budget - not the operating budget, where money for school funding emanates.
September 19, 2014 |
Like cartoon thought bubbles, a series of bold, red decals will be appearing on sidewalks around Philadelphia this week. City transit planners are hoping the decals will inspire passersby to think about - and give feedback on - the potential of the 85 tagged sites as station locations for the city's long-awaited bike-share system. The stickers, designed by Mural Arts Program artist Eurhi Jones, are part of a high-tech and, according to the city, unprecedented effort to incorporate public opinion in shaping the system, which will launch in May with 600 bikes and 60 docking stations over 8.28 square miles.
March 14, 2014
When New Jersey Turnpike officials complete a massive widening project stretching from South Jersey to New Brunswick, there will be plenty of additional elbow room for motorists. In fact, the now heavily used expressway might get downright lonely at times. The same could be true of a new Delaware River bridge near Trenton, as well as additional interchanges on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. While the region's engineers once predicted substantial increases in traffic in coming years - for the Jersey artery, projections called for southbound traffic to nearly double in less than three decades - real-time reports show volumes are flat or even falling.
March 12, 2014 |
Ridership on buses, trains, and subways in 2013 was the highest in 57 years, the American Public Transportation Association said Monday. The growth in transit ridership continued a 20-year trend attributed to higher gasoline prices, a shift by young adults away from automobiles, increased use of mobile technology, and the increasing allure of urban areas. "There is a fundamental shift going on in the way we move about our communities," said APTA president Michael Melaniphy. In 2013, riders made 10.7 billion trips on U.S. public transit systems, up 1.1 percent from 2012.
February 4, 2014 |
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - By the time the fifth train from Secaucus rolled into MetLife Stadium with another thousand fans Sunday, both sides of this very Jersey Super Bowl were already defeated. By Secaucus. They slumped off the train silently, overheated, claustrophobic, transformed from upbeat football fans from out West into huddled masses of East Coast commuters, bitter and sarcastic about their long commute on NJ Transit. "Jersey sucks!" they had shouted in unison while stuck for 90 minutes in a Secaucus stairwell, some with only their Seattle Skittles to sustain them, dour demeanors in contrast to the bright sherbet colors of Bronco orange and Seahawk lime.