Archive: June, 2012
In the Netherlands, everyone rides a bike, even Queen Beatrix. The Dutch enjoy riding around on two wheels so much that they even invented the beer bike, which is pretty much what it sounds like – a mobile keg party.
Given that expertise, it was only natural that Philadelphia turned to the Dutch to do a little brainstorming about how to improve cycling here. Representatives from the Netherlands group, Interface for Cycling Expertise, or I-CE, were in Philadelphia last week to encourage more two-wheeled transportation.
Beer bikes were not among the ideas discussed during a presentation Tuesday at Temple University. Instead, participants, including city transportation and planning employees, members of the Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition and others presented a vision of a Philadelphia where people can share bikes a la Philly CarShare and ride more safely, perhaps in lanes separated from traffic by parked cars or small traffic islands. One focus was the area around City Hall, which can feel like the Indianapolis 500, regardless of whether you are walking, driving or cycling.
Trying to get a handle on how many of Philadelphia voters may need help with the state’s new voter-ID requirements, city commission chair Stephanie Singer made arrangements last week for a telephone conversation with the state transportation secretary, Barry J. Schoch.
The subject was to be PennDOT’s data on driver’s licenses and non-driver photo ID. Singer said she wanted to compare Philadelphia’s list of registered voters with PennDOT’s lists – to figure out how many people should already have the picture IDs they need to vote next November, and identify those who do not.
Short of obtaining PennDOT’s data so she could run the comparison herself, Singer said she wanted to discuss PennDOT’s methodology for a similar comparison, now underway, a joint effort by PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Department of State.
The city’s Republican party is now operating on two separate tracks, one reporting to longtime chairman Vito Canuso Jr., whose disputed 2010 re-election was voided by Republican State Committee, and the other lined up behind financial consultant Rick Hellberg, who was picked last month by a group of 20 dissident ward leaders to take Canuso’s place.
The GOP State Committee meets weekend after next in Hershey, where the Philadelphia leadership dispute could come to a head. The party chairman in Philadelphia, whoever he is, gets an automatic seat.
But Canuso said he isn’t going and doesn’t care what happens. “The next important vote at State Committee will be six years from now, when they endorse a new candidate for governor,” Canuso said. “Let [Hellberg] go up there. It saves me money.”
Over the objections of environmental groups, City Council unanimously passes legislation that sends city trash to be turned into pellets and burned.
The bill caused controversy because environmental groups were stunned that the city would sign a contract that increases incineration instead of recycling and reducing waste. Philadelphia's Streets Commissioner, Clarena Tolson, said the new plan would save the city $69 million over seven years.
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