September 11, 2015
I TOOK A WALK in the sun a few days back with the Dynamic Duo, looking for sidewalk hazards. The Dynamic Duo are Debby Schaaf and Pamela Freyd, unpaid volunteer co-chairwomen of the 4-year-old Feet First Philly, which is sponsored by the Clean Air Council. Feet First Philly promotes the novel idea that sidewalks belong to the people who walk them. Crazy, isn't it? Feet First has done surveys (you can volunteer or chime in at www.feetfirstphilly.org ) of sidewalk obstacles.
July 11, 2015 |
Jim Kenney's famous temper was on full view the day we strolled around Center City, looking at construction sites. More specifically, we were looking at construction sites where the sidewalks had been blocked. There aren't many things that make the Democratic mayoral candidate madder than having to cross the street because of a sidewalk closure - except when contractors treat the cordoned-off space as free parking. "Tell me why that's necessary," Kenney sputtered as we reached the corner of 15th and Chestnut, where the 51-story W Hotel is going up. His face reddened, his eyes flashed.
March 28, 2015 |
By summertime, even the streets of the Gayborhood will be covered in rainbows. The crosswalks on 12th and Locust and 13th and Locust will be permanently painted over with rainbows, thanks to a partnership between the LGBT organization Philly Pride Presents and the city. While the final date for the installation hasn't been set, the sidewalks will be dedicated July 5, according to the organization's Facebook post. Philly Pride Presents executive director Franny Price said there were a few issues left to iron out with the city's Streets Department, but said the rainbow sidewalks were absolutely going forward.
June 29, 2014 |
Southeastern Pennsylvania's recreational trail network - already the envy of many other metro areas - is getting a $7.5 million infusion through a federal program aimed at providing alternatives to vehicle-based transportation. The money will fund 11 projects in all five counties, closing a gap in a Central Bucks trail, building a multiuse trail in Lansdale, putting sidewalks in Swarthmore, and adding $1.25 million to the city's bike share program, launching next spring. Completion may be several years off, but ultimately, "what this will do is help get people out of their cars and onto sidewalks and multiuse trails," said Joseph Banks, a project implementation coordinator at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.
June 21, 2014 |
More than a month later, the horror of Zachary Woods' death still sends a chill down a pedestrian's spine. The 27-year-old Wharton student was walking along Walnut Street toward the Penn campus on a bright Tuesday morning when an out-of-control motorist slammed into another car at the 30th Street intersection. Spinning like a top, the car jumped the sidewalk on the south side and sent Woods plunging over the railing into Penn Park, 38 feet below. While news reports called it a "freak accident," you can't help wondering if it was entirely unpredictable.
December 26, 2013 |
Jason R. Nathan, 84, a government official who oversaw the construction of public housing projects throughout the Northeastern United States during the 1960s, but also went out of his way to fund Society Hill's colonial-style lamp posts and brick sidewalks, died Tuesday, Dec. 17, of heart failure at a Haverford nursing home. Mr. Nathan, who spent most of his adult life in Philadelphia, was running the mid-Atlantic office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the period when cities across the country were clear-cutting old neighborhoods and replacing them with cookie-cutter housing towers.
November 5, 2013 |
YARDLEY A Halloween tradition of four decades continued Thursday in Yardley for the Bowker family. The Bowkers bought M&Ms again, and no goblins or witches or ghosts stopped by to collect them. Again. The Bowkers' house is one of the southernmost properties of a cluster surrounding North Main Street. But because traffic whooshes past and safer, walkable developments are nearby, trick-or-treaters never show up. "Our own grandchildren, who live next door, they go up to the other neighborhood," Sandy Bowker, 72, said with a laugh.
September 11, 2013 |
PHILADELPHIA Fifteen years ago, the sidewalks around Eastern State Penitentiary were uneven, with weeds growing between the cracks. The sliver of land between the concrete and the former prison's stone walls was in even worse shape. The soil "had pieces of rebar sticking out of the ground, lots of trash, and a lot of leaves. . . . It was just a mess," said Heidi Siegel, president of the Friends of Eastern State Penitentiary Park. What's more, parts of the land had been used as an informal dog run. At 11 a.m. Tuesday, thanks to hours of work by volunteers and money from the city, the Friends of Eastern State, and others, a patch of land along Corinthian Avenue from Brown Street to Fairmount Avenue will be dedicated as the city's latest community project: Corinthian Gardens, a collection of individual plots, grassy areas, picnic benches, and a stone path.
May 20, 2013 |
STUTTGART, Germany - So many people had come to witness the ceremony in front of my great-uncles' former home that they had to squeeze together on the sidewalk to stay out of the busy street. They had gathered on a recent Saturday morning to learn about five members of a family - my family - who perished 70 years ago, although the exact dates are not known. I learned more, too, not just about their ordinary lives and terrible fates, but also about this moving act of remembrance. While a teenager from my father's old high school played clarinet, Gunter Demnig set five brass plaques into the sidewalk and then hammered them into place.
May 11, 2013 |
Philadelphia didn't need Bicycling magazine to confirm that it is one of America's best biking cities (No. 17 on its 2012 list). You can see it every day on the streets: The steady stream of commuters sluicing down Center City's bike lanes. The tangle of bikes hitched to U-shaped racks and bike corrals. (More, please.) The proliferation of neighborhood bike shops. Philadelphia probably could have ranked higher in the magazine's esteem if it had a bike-sharing program, like most of the list's top 20 cities.