Two new towers could be soon rising in West Philadelphia. Post Brothers, the developer behind the lux residential conversion of Callowhill’s Goldtex building, is planning a pair of high-rise additions for the Garden Court Plaza building at 4701 Pine Street, according to Naked Philly. The Pestronk Brother’s latest proposal envisions building 243 new units on top of an existing garage as well as a new pool and courtyard. The expansion would more than double the historic brick landmark’s residential capacity and continue a chain of upgrades made by Post Brothers since buying the landmark residence in 2015. Residents can weigh in on the proposal at Garden Court Plaza’s upcoming community meeting on January 18th.
The numbers are in and it looks like cyclists are no worse at obeying traffic laws than drivers. A new study from the Florida Department of Transportation “undermines a narrative common among many drivers that cyclists are serial scofflaws,” Jim Saksa reports. The study’s authors conclude that more education and better traffic engineering could save lives and recommend an intervention that many in Philadelphia say could have prevented the recent death of 24-year-old cyclist Emily Fredricks.
Passersby may not look twice at the “deceptively simple” façade just south of 10th and Market Streets, home to Elaine Nails. Hidden City blogger GrojLart reveals that the building at 10 S. 10th Street was designed and built by none other than celebrity contractor Charles McCaul, whose portfolio included the Philadelphia Mint, (now Community College of Philadelphia), the Land Title Building, and Drexel Institute. GrojLart traces the lineage of tenants since 1896, including a railway supplies dealer, a theatrical costume maker (and his saucy death), and an importer of Mahjong sets, then a fad in America.
What happens when property lines don’t align with the building’s physical dimensions? Property owners can grant an easement that allows that part of their property to become a walkway while reserving the right to build out later. 99% Invisible recaps our own Jim Saksa’s explainer of Philly’s unique sidewalk plaques.
The Brookings Institution has selected Philadelphia as one of four cities as part of a pilot “global identity project,” the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Kenneth Hilario reports. Led by the city and the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, the project team including Select Greater Philadelphia Council, PIDC, and Campus Philly, will look at Philadelphia’s economic assets and competitive strengths to craft a new cohesive brand for the region. The city put itself through an initial identity exercise for the Amazon HQ2 bid, which Jim Saksa broke apart thoroughly in 2017.
Environmentalists are not too impressed with Pittsburgh’s ambitious new climate action plan, CityLab reports. Critics described the plan as “a list of goals and a survey of possible actions” and called for more specificity for execution. In Philadelphia, the tenor of the city’s environmental efforts in 2017 was more hopeful. The city set a goal for 100 percent clean energy by 2030 and following the federal departure from the Paris Climate Agreement, Mayor Kenney signed on to the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign.
Back in Philly, the cold weather didn’t stop spirited Philadelphians from riding transit in their underpants during the annual No Pants Subway Ride Sunday, PMN’s Juliana Feliciano Reyes reports. Event organizer Ray Wall, founder of the social impact laundry service Got Laundry? says the cold weather celebration also aims to raise awareness about homelessness. In addition to the dancing, costumes, and fun starting at 15th and Market to a dance party in Old City featuring “underwear- and laundry-themed cocktails,” participants were asked to donate socks that Got Laundry? will donate to the homeless.