• Learn about the conditions that led to Frank Furness' most incredible masterworks, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts seen here, on Wednesday.
      Learn about the conditions that led to Frank Furness' most incredible masterworks, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts seen here, on Wednesday.

Costly tax exemptions | More cyclists, less accidents | Walnut Street Bridge update | St. Peter's: Raise the Roof | Dickinson Square clarifier | 21st and Bainbridge pit gone

  • The redesigned Walnut Street Bridge has wider sidewalks, better pedestrian lighting, and (soon) a buffered bike lane. Construction will be finished this week.


Philly relies too much on revenue from wage and business taxes and not enough on immovable assets like property, but resetting that tax mix is complicated because there are so many tax-exempt properties in the city. As Patrick Kerkstra reports for PlanPhilly/Inquirer, Philly has 41,074 tax-exempt properties, either owned by nonprofits or in a temporary tax-abatement period. Sure our city’s big nonprofits drive the city economy and the 10-year tax abatement helped stimulate development, but they’re a mixed blessing that cost the city $528 million in lost revenue this year. This is a must-read.

Bike-car accidents have decreased as more cyclists take to Philly streets, reports the Inquirer. "Where cars expect to find bicyclists and pedestrians, drivers are more cognizant of cyclists and pedestrians," explained Alex Doty, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. The “safety in numbers” correlation has been documented in other cities and in the medical journal Injury Prevention. As Paul Nussbaum writes, “If more biking means safer biking, safer biking is likely to produce more biking.”

PlanPhilly’s Christine Fisher reports that construction on the Walnut Street Bridge will be complete this week. The bridge redesign removed one auto lane in exchange for a buffered bike lane and wider sidewalks with pedestrian scale lighting.

St. Peter’s Church in Society Hill has managed to raise $1.1 million already toward its massive, structural roof repair project, reports the Inquirer. The 250-year-old church was forced to close in May after a preservation engineering firm’s inspection that revealed deteriorating roof trusses. The project’s estimated cost is $1.8 million.

Friends of Dickinson Square Park, a park volunteer group in Pennsport, is not Friends of Dickinson Square, a formerly active neighborhood group whose former leadership is named in a federal indictment for misusing state grants. The Daily News explains that despite the similar names, the groups are not connected.

The intersection of 21st and Bainbridge streets is still closed, but the huge hole left after the water main break in July is now filled in, reports Naked Philly. Right on, Water Department.

 

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