Sunday, September 28, 2008

Breaking: Photographic Evidence That Ed Snider Hates Logic, Reason, Intellect And The Capacity For Sound Judgment

Sarah and Ed chumming it up pre-debate Friday night at the godforsaken Irish Pub of all places

Not at all surprising coming from the worst owner in the history of Philadelphia sports.

That is all.

Palin Grabs a Seat at the Bar [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]

Friday, September 26, 2008

Confidential To Septa: It’s Time To Partner With Google Transit Already

A demonstration of Google’s new transit mapping feature in Grand Central Terminal (via NY Times)

Google Transit, the wonderful online mapping application that allows people to easily plan a trip via public transportation in cities across the world, has just launched in New York City.

And just listen to what public officials, transit officials, and Google directors had to say:
“Google Maps for Transit is a truly innovative marriage of information and infrastructure. It is a perfect example of how the public and private sectors can partner together to benefit us all – and it didn’t cost New York taxpayers a penny,” said Governor Paterson. “I applaud my colleagues at the MTA and Port Authority for making this a priority, and our friends at Google for continuing to make the world an easier place to navigate.”
Key points: No cost to taxpayers. Will make transit easier to use.
MTA Chairman H. Dale Hemmerdinger said: “At a time when the MTA is facing mounting fiscal challenges, we are thrilled to be able to offer this service to our customers at no cost to taxpayers. Google Transit will encourage ridership and underscores the importance of the MTA to the region’s economy and environment.”
Will encourage ridership. Saves MTA (web) resources to focus on other initiatives.
MTA Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Elliot G. Sander said: “The MTA is delighted to partner with Google to provide our customers with this cutting-edge tool for getting around our 5,000 square-mile territory. Customer service is a top priority, and this is just the latest example of how the MTA is pursuing innovative ideas to serve our riders.”
Innovative form of customer service.
New York City Deputy Mayor Edward Skyler said: “[…] One of the keys to increasing mass transit usage is making it easier for people to understand how to use the system. This partnership between Google and the MTA does exactly that. It harnesses the power of Google’s innovative search technologies to allow residents and visitors to more easily understand how mass transit will get them to where they need to go.”
Will make transit more accessible to new users, both residents and visitors.
John Hanke, Director of Google Maps & Earth, said: “We are extremely pleased to join forces with the MTA to provide information about their vast transit system in Google Maps. By being able to access station and schedule data for the largest public transit system in the United States via Google Maps, users are exposed to the availability and convenience of public transportation and are better equipped to take advantage of all that the New York metropolitan region has to offer.”
Expands reach of transit options to HUGE auxiliary audience outside of transit agency’s own website.
At no cost to the MTA, Google and the MTA collaborated on the development of Google Transit for the New York region, joining other major public transit providers who had launched similar services with Google, such as Chicago Transit Authority ( CTA ), NJ Transit, San Francisco ( BART ), Atlanta ( MARTA ), and internationally, Moscow and Tokyo.

The project involved consolidating and reworking disparate MTA schedule and station location data into a format that would enable the service for the New York region. This information will be made available to other developers to enable development of new customer-focused services in the future.

Google Transit complements existing MTA trip planning services, including Trip Planner and Trips 123, by providing another way for riders to discover the wealth of services that the MTA offers.
A true no-brainer in every sense of the word.

Not for nothing, it was two years ago next week that we first suggested Septa get on board with Google Transit when Google Transit launched in Pittsburgh in October 2006.

It is now, today, still as good an idea as it was then and Septa should be straight-up pilloried until they get over their reactionary fear of change/progress and bring Google Transit to Philadelphia.

Governor Patterson Announces Partnership Between MTA and Google To Help Customers Navigate Transit System [ Newswire ]
Google Transit Expands to New York [ City Room - New York Times ]
Google Says Its New Program May Boost Transit Ridership [ New York Sun ]

Google Transit To Solve Pennsylvania Public Transit Woes

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Breaking: City Agrees To Much Improved Design For The South Street Bridge

Remember the situation regarding the critically flawed, auto-centric design of the new South Street Bridge? Well, the work of the South Street Bridge Coalition over the past several years seems to have paid off. They have achieved a significant victory in securing a much more pedestrian-, bike- and city-friendly design for the new bridge.

The city recently agreed to amend the bid package that was sent out to prospective contractors — they’ve now included an addendum of design changes to the bridge that will significantly improve the bridge ability to smartly fit into the seamless urban context of a more livable Philadelphia.

Here’s the statement from the Coalition:
We are pleased to inform you that the City of Philadelphia is releasing an addendum to the bid package for the South Street Bridge Reconstruction Project. This addendum includes many of the changes that were agreed upon by the City of Philadelphia and the South Street Bridge Coalition:
  • Vehicle Lane Design – A four-lane traffic design will replace the five-lane design.
  • Crosswalk at Schuylkill River Park – An additional crosswalk with a pedestrian activated traffic signal will be added at the ramp and stair from the Bridge down to the Schuylkill River Park. The traffic signal will be portal mounted above the roadway. The curb ramps at this crosswalk will be widened to 6-ft. on both sides of the Bridge to allow multiple bicyclists to simultaneously cross and access the bicycle lanes.
  • Speed Limit – The posted speed limit for the entire Bridge and viaduct will be reduced to 25 MPH.
  • Bicycle Lanes – Bicycle lanes have been widened as a result of the reduction in the number of vehicle lanes.
  • Advanced Bicycle Stop Bars – Bicycle stop bars will be advanced to allow bicyclists to get ahead of motorists for greater visibility and safety.
  • Lighting – Pedestrian style lights will be installed. The majority of the bridge lighting will be sidewalk mounted at the curb. All light standards will include mounting brackets for future banner placement.
  • Signal Timings – Traffic signal timings have been optimized for pedestrian movements and safety.
  • Reflective Pavement Markers – Reflective pavement markers will be installed at the curve on the east side to improve roadway visibility.
  • Sidewalk Surface – The sidewalks will be scored and tinted to resemble grey slate pavers.
  • Roadway Surface – The roadway will be tinted to resemble asphalt.
  • Guiderail – Decorative vertical elements will be added to the sidewalk side so that the railing appearance is more pedestrian friendly.
In addition to the above agreed upon changes, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) has received funding from PennDOT to undertake a traffic study to determine how traffic is dispersed during the Bridge closure.
Center City Residents Association President Vivian Seltzer called the news “a wonderful and optimistic message that projects which are initially misinformed can be transformed — with the proper leadership and spirit.”

We’d like to agree with her.

Well done to all those involved.

South Street Bridge Reconstruction Project [ ]

Confidential To Mayor Nutter: Support The Modified + Improved South Street Bridge Design
The South Street Bridge Is Not Completely Lost Yet

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Philadelphia Streets Department Continues Troubling (And Asinine) Trend Of Complete Disregard For Pedestrian Safety

Uh, don't mind the 20-ton bus barreling down behind you…

The sidewalk on the western side of 17th Street between Walnut and Sansom has recently been annexed by a construction crew, leaving pedestrians defenseless against vehicle traffic as they try to walk up and down 17th Street (above), or worse, as they wait IN THE STREET for public transportation (below).

Initially, there was a temporary sidewalk that jutted into 17th Street providing a barrior between pedestrians and vehicular traffic. However, the Streets Department made the contractor get rid of it, as it jutted into a lane of the street, causing vehicle traffic to move more slowly down 17th street. (Gasp. The horror — cars driving slowly down one of Center City’s most heavily walked streets…)

So the Streets Department forced the construction crew to remove the temporary sidewalk, restoring a second lane of vehicular traffic to 17th Street at the cost of the safety of thousands of pedestrians each day.

This is egregiously absurd. 17th Street between Walnut and Market Streets is one of the most highly trafficked pedestrian areas in the city. And the Streets Department just moronically erased an entire sidewalk without so much as a single concern for the safety of pedestrians.

The takeaway from this is clear: the Philadelphia Streets Department is still very out of touch with 21st Century urban planning. They are still prioritizing cars far more than people — exactly the opposite of how conditions in vibrant, successful, sustainable, and highly livable 21st century cities will be.

dangerous pedestrian conditions at 17th and walnut in philadelphia
If the Streets Department had their druthers, sidewalks would be for extra parking…

Local architect and Design Advocacy Group member, George Claflen, has already documented the problem over at Plan Philly and sent a memo to the Streets Department.
The best solution to this would be restoration of the temporary pedestrian protected zone which is also consistent with how this type of situation is handled in other cities -- but whatever you do the present condition is not safe.

Additionally wouldn't it be a good idea to have the Streets Department personnel who issue permits for this type of work receive some basic training and supervision on safety, pedestrian issues, and public transportation? And isn't it appropriate to require a higher standard of traffic and pedestrian management on our most densely used streets?
You would think that, wouldn’t you?

However, Claflen's memo was sent two weeks ago and still nothing has been done. The Streets Department should be taken out back and shot.

Obviously, this stems from the problems caused by poor construction laws related to sidewalk closures, chronicled by Ms. Saffron earlier in the year. But until those regulations are fixed, the Streets Department can't simply wash their hands of pedestrian safety. They are mandated with providing both efficient traffic flow for vehicles AND safe pedestrians pathways for people.
There are close to 1.5 million people living in Philadelphia, and every one of them is a pedestrian at one time or another. Yet City Hall sometimes seems surprised to learn that people travel on two feet.

Pity Philadelphia's walking majority. Its precious sidewalks are increasingly being taken in brazen landgrabs by the city's powerful construction industry, which erects flimsy chain-link fences to mark turf, sometimes for the sole purpose of allowing contractors to park for free.
Twenty years ago, when Center City was deadsville, perhaps those lapses didn't matter as much. But since then, downtown has evolved into an archipelago of churning construction sites.

To avoid crashing into all the ad-hoc construction barriers, pedestrians now zigzag from one side of the block to the other. Unarmed and unprepared, they have no choice but to dive into the perilous stream of fast-moving vehicles before regaining the protected shore of a sidewalk. That dip into traffic defeats the point of construction barriers, which are to keep pedestrians safe.
With all those obstructions, Philadelphia's boast of having the most walkable downtown in America is going to be a harder sell. It's time, [Councilmen] Kenney argues, to make good on the claim by taking back the sidewalks for everyone who lives — and walks — in Philadelphia.
If the Streets Department continues to so heinously neglect pedestrian safety, eventually no one is ever going to drive downtown anymore because there won't be any pedestrians left.

Sidewalk at 17th and Sansom annexed by construction crews for free parking

They'll all be somewhere else, like in New York.
James F. Kenney, an at-large city councilman, had always assumed this was the way it worked in all big cities. Then he took his family on a trip to New York and discovered that not once was his trajectory interrupted on Manhattan's crowded streets, even though it has at least five times as many high-rise construction projects as Philadelphia.

Instead of battered chain link, Kenney found an orderly arrangement of sidewalk sheds that guarantee New York's sidewalks are always open for business. The structures usually involve a sturdy wooden roof held up by an allée of metal poles. If it's impossible to build over the sidewalk, contractors must carve a safe passage in the street.

The sheds do more than keep the way clear for pedestrians. They enable merchants to continue serving their customers - and stay in business - during lengthy projects. They also provide safe storage and staging room for construction crews, and help shield everyone from falling debris. Contractors must illuminate the underside of the covered walkways with a string of bulbs so they're safe at night.
Seems extremely complicated not at all difficult.

Dangerous conditions at 17th and Walnut [ Plan Philly ]
Changing Skyline: The city has lost control of its sidewalks [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
Video: Councilman Jim Kenney tells the Inquirer about lost sidewalks [ ]

[ Top two photos via Plan Philly; third photo via ]

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Breaking: Septa To Offer Free Train Rides This Weekend To Promote New Late Night Regional Rail Service

Septa is slowly but surely coming around. New General Manager Joseph Casey is already proving to be infinitely better than his predecessor, Faye Moore.

The latest example — not only expanding service, but also doing things to promote said service to potential new riders.
SEPTA will offer free rides to passengers on all trains scheduled to arrive and depart Center City after 6:30pm, September 19-20

In an effort to introduce their new late night regional rail service on Routes R5 Paoli/Thorndale, R6 Norristown and R7 Trenton Lines, SEPTA will offer free rides to passengers on all trains scheduled to arrive and depart Center City after 6:30pm, September 19-20.

The free ride promotion is valid for trains scheduled to arrive or depart Center City after 6:30pm ONLY. Normal fare collection procedures are in effect for all other trains arriving prior to 6:30pm.
You know, for kids.

Well done Septa. Now, we’ve been meaning to talk to you about a bar car …

New Schedules Feature the Debut of Additional Late-Night Weekend Service [ SEPTA Official Site ]
Editorial: Septa's Expansion - Keep on Rolling [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
Septa (Re-)Announces Additional Service [ SEPTA Watch ]

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Market Street Office Corridor To Get Infusion Of Much Needed Pedestrian-Scaled Retail Development

The Comcast Center Effect, already paying dividends on 16th Street…

Good news out of Philadelphia’s Central Business District, i.e. the Market Street office corridor west of City Hall.
APF Properties, a New York real estate investor that owns 1601 Market St., has fashioned a plan that has the potential to alter the retail scene in the heart of the Central Business District.

APF has plans to build a two-story glass structure around a portion of 1601 Market, a 36-story, 600,000-square-foot office building, that will add 50,000 square feet of new retail space facing Market and 16th streets. Outdoor eateries and other spaces would also be created.
They’re looking at implementing the development in two phases, with the first phase to be complete by early 2010.
The plan goes to the heart of special services organization Center City District’s stated desire to see more retail and outdoor dining establishments along the West Market Street office corridor.

The organization believes those additions would help to create a better pedestrian experience and extend activity along Market Street beyond office hours, turning it into a nighttime destination.
Make no mistake about it — this is called "progress." And Comcast Center, located just around the corner from 1601, definitely led the way, having first given people a reason to make the trek north of Chestnut Street after 5 p.m with Table 31's Plaza Cafe.
The project aims to create an environment akin to the Avenue of the Americas in New York where a mix of office towers and retailer and pedestrian plazas meet.

The new space at 1601 Market will look to lure highest-end retailers and restaurants, said Larry Steinberg, a retail broker at Michael Salove Co. who is marketing the space.

“We’re looking to make a major retail impact on Market Street,” Steinberg said. For example, he’s in discussions with a restaurateur on a unique concept that would be an attraction like the ESPN Zone in New York. He also envisions stores in the vein of a Thomas Pink, a tony men’s clothing shop, and a cutting edge health club to be attracted to the space.

The Central Business District, which mostly has coffee and sandwich shops along with staid bank branches dotting the lower levels of office buildings, is ripe for this type of retail development, Steinberg said.
Good to see at least one existing Center City office property upgrading its offerings — "the other two parts of upgrading the [1601] property includes enhancing office tenant services used and pushing them to a top-rate level and making the building as environmentally friendly as possible" — instead of the knee-jerk complaining reaction that comes standard from most office property owners every time a new office building is proposed. Dicks.

Plan adds stores, restaurants to West Market [ Philadelphia Business Journal ]

New Season of Urban Sustainability Forums Kicks Off With Auspicious Livable Streets Affair

Making Philadelphia a city that promotes people as much as it does cars

In case you were not already aware, the Urban Sustainability Forums that take place monthly at the Academy of Natural Sciences are fricking terrific.
The Urban Sustainability Forum is more than just a monthly series of presentations featuring the best local, national and international experts in many different fields.

It is, beyond that, a place where people gather, exchange information, and network — all with the goal of making Philadelphia the greenest, most livable and most sustainable city in America.

And now, after a brief summer hiatus, the forum series returns this month without missing a beat.

They’re kicking off the 2008/09 season with a doozy — a forum about bringing truly livable streets to Philadelphia.
Taking Back Our Streets: Cars, People and Pavement

Please join us for the first Urban Sustainability Forum of the 2008/2009 season, as we rethink the way land is used in the city.

This month’s speakers will explore how to better utilize the large amounts of urban space now dedicated to automobiles and how to turn cities into places that promote people as much as they do cars.

Sounds downright logical.

Especially since this is something that Mayor Nutter and Deputy Mayor For Transportation Rina Cutler have professed a commitment to. It's time they start doing something about it.
Featured speakers will be:

Pamela H. Zimmerman, AIA, LEED-AP- Brawer & Hauptman, Architects and organizer of Park(ing) Day Philadelphia
Robert Allen - Philadelphia City Planning Commission
Gary Toth - Senior Director, Transportation Initiatives with the Project for Public Spaces (PPS).
You can RSVP to attend here.

Oh. And it's timed conveniently on the eve of PARK(ing) Day.
The September forum takes place the evening before National PARK(ing) Day, when activists, artists, architects, and other citizens will transform metered parking spaces into public parks for the day.

This annual, nationwide event celebrates the value of city parks and promotes the need for more pedestrian-friendly spaces.
PARK(ing) Day, as you may have heard, is going to be a great time.

Urban Sustainability Forum Presents: Taking Back Our Streets—Cars, People, and Pavement [ Pennsylvania Environmental Council ]
Town Square Forums at the Academy of Natural Sciences [ Official Site ]
Streets as Places Initiative [ Project for Public Spaces ]

PARK(ing) Day Coming To Philadelphia, September 18, 2008

[ Images via Plan Philly ]

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Third Kimpton Hotel En Route To Philadelphia, To Anchor Mixed-Use Boyd Theater Redevelopment Project

Nice to see ARCWheeler showing some balls…
ARCWheeler, a Philadelphia real estate investor and developer, has announced that they intend to purchase the Boyd Theatre from Live Nation.

The project will entail a historic rehabilitation of the theatre, development of a 250-room Kimpton Monaco Hotel, and development of two restaurants located on different levels of the building. ARCWheeler plans to enter into a booking agreement with Live Nation to provide live entertainment at the famed theatre.
Fo. Sheezy.
The key component is a 250-room, 30-story hotel, which would be built on the surface lot to the west of the Boyd and operate under Kimpton's Monaco flag. While the Monaco Hotel would offer only a fraction of the Borgata's room capacity, Wheeler said it would give him the ability to market the Boyd as a deluxe performance venue, especially to tourists and conventioneers.
Wheeler said he realized that the parking lot would be better used for a hotel that would complement the theater. The hotel makes it an attractive venue for weddings, bar mitzvahs and corporate events. It could also serve as a base for an enlarged Philadelphia film festival.
For those keeping score at home, that makes three Kimpton hotels announced for Philadelphia in less than a year. Work on the first, Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Philadelphia at 17th and Sansom, is progressing nicely. It’s set to open in 09. Preliminary work is being done on a second Philly Kimpton, which will occupy the Robert Morris Building at 17th and Arch. That could open in 09 as well. And this just announced Hotel Monaco Philadelphia being the third.

So, contrary to what you may have heard, it would appear that Kimpton feels Philadelphia’s hotel market is still plenty ripe for the right kind of property. As they should. Upon opening, occupancy rates at these new, boutique-like hotel properties are going to be comfortably above 90%.

Just watch.

Boyd Theater developer envisions entertainment complex [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
High hopes for grand old Boyd [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
ARCWheeler Announces Plans to Purchase Iconic Boyd Theatre from Live Nation
[ Business Wire ]

Aloft Philadelphia Hotel To Throw Welcome Home Party For Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer Brendan Hansen

Because, you know, the Philly airport area is such a hotbed for swimmers…
aloft(SM) hotels Congratulates Hometown Olympic Swimmer and Gold Medalist Brendan Hansen Friday, September 12, 2008

Special Event to Benefit the Cancer Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Hansen, of course, swam the breaststroke leg of the 4 x 100 medley relay, the race in which Michael Phelps won the eighth of his record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympic Games. So he’s got that going for him.
The aloft Philadelphia Airport Hotel is honored to host this congratulatory event for Brendan Hansen. Emphasizing its national and local pride as well as its commitment to local charitable efforts, proceeds from the event will directly benefit the Cancer Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

The event on Friday night will be a culmination of a day-long visit to the renowned hospital by Brendan Hansen. Nina Timani, Director of Sales and Marketing, aloft, said, "When we learned of Brendan Hansen's visit to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on September 12th, we decided to host an event in his honor and continue to support the hospital through the proceeds. Also, aloft wanted to be the first in Philadelphia to welcome home and congratulate Brendan for this amazing athletic achievement."
Ok, how precious is it that Aloft corporate lowercases not only the “a” in aloft, but also the “h” in hotels whenever they appear together at the start of a sentence, even in their press release headlines? So freaking hip.
The city of Philadelphia will also be acknowledging the Olympic Gold Medalist, along with aloft on September 12th. Margaret Hughes, Deputy City Representative, will be presenting Hansen with a special award during the event on Friday night, to honor his accomplishment and local Philadelphia ties.

However, so far there is no word on whether or not Hansen will be wielding the same kung fu grip as his famous teammate Michael Phelps.

aloft(SM) hotels Congratulates Hometown Olympic Swimmer and Gold Medalist Brendan Hansen Friday, September 12, 2008 [ PR Newswire ]
Aloft Philadelphia Hotel [ Official Site ]

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Breaking: Eagles And Lincoln Financial Field Now Running 100% On Wind Power

wind power powers the philadelphia eagles
Eagles front office, however, still powered exclusively by hot air…

Christina Weiss Lurie just keeps on keepin’ on.
The Philadelphia Eagles announced a significant accomplishment with the team's "Go Green" environmental program with the purchase of 100 percent wind energy, making them the first NFL team to run completely on sustainable energy.

"Since 2003, when we launched 'Go Green,' the Eagles have made it a very, very top priority of our organization, and our football team ... to lead the way as best we can, set a good example — in the corporate world and in the sports world — of what you can do to be responsible with the environment," Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie said.

Beginning in 2003, "Go Green" set out to make the Eagles an energy-efficient organization. Since then, the team has worked toward being "off the grid" and use only sustainable forms of energy. Their latest purchase of 14 million Kilowatt hours of wind power through Native Energy and McEnergy allows them to achieve their goal of running the NovaCare Complex training facility and Lincoln Financial Field on 100 percent clean energy all year long.
The Eagles' wind energy purchase would not have been possible without simultaneously pursuing strict conservation programs. Since 2004, at Lincoln Financial Field alone, they were able to reduce their energy consumption by 7,500,000 kwh, nearly a 30 percent reduction.
"Go Green" has not only drawn attention to the Eagles organization, but also to Christina Lurie. Recognized in the media for her innovative environmental business practices, Lurie has now been honored by being appointed by Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter to the city's Sustainability Advisory Board.
And how.

Never one to pass on a photo op, Fast Eddie was more than happy to offer a sound bite.
"We're going all the way. We're going to win the Super Bowl. And I say that with some degree of confidence," Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell said. "But I can say with absolute confidence, with today's announcement, the Eagles are by far the greenest team in the NFL."

"Go Green" Makes Historic Announcement [ Philadelphia Eagles Official Site ]
Philadelphia Eagles Go Green [ Official Site ]

Monday, September 08, 2008

Breaking: PARK(ing) Day Coming To Philadelphia, September 18, 2008

PARK(ing) Day PhiladelphiaIdeally, our plans for (PARK)ing day will include playing putt-putt on Walnut Street and turning Jefferson's horrid parking garage into a vertical farm.

PARK(ing) Day Philadelphia
September 19, 2008

PARK(ing) Day Philadelphia [ Official Site ]
PARK(ing) Day [ National Site ]

croquet during PARK(ing) day
Of course, croquet will do as well…

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Confidential To Philadelphia Commuters: Ditching Your Car Can Save You More Than $11,000 A Year

To say nothing of time and peace of mind
Oh, it’s true.
Commuters in Philadelphia can save more than $11,000 annually by taking public transportation instead of driving when gasoline prices and parking rates are factored in, according to a report released Thursday.

Philadelphia ranked fifth of the top 20 cities with the highest public transportation ridership for its transit savings ($946 per month and $11,346 per year), according to the Transit Savings Report, a monthly analysis by the American Public Transportation Association.

The analysis factors in the cost of automobile insurance, depreciation, finance charges and driving 15,000 miles annually, and the savings figure assumes a household gives up a car.
Believe it.

What would you do with an extra 10 grand in your pocket?

Report: Giving up car for public transit could save $11,000 a year [ Philadelphia Business Journal ]

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Peco Finds Conscience, Unveils Massive Green Roof On Its Philadelphia Headquarters

peco green roof philadelphiaGreen-diggity.
What’s more than 45,000 square feet, can reduce the summertime temperature of a dark roof by 60 to 80 degrees, saves on heating and cooling costs, and grows without conventional soil?

Simple, PECO’s soon-to-be planted green roof.
Go on.
PECO [recently] unveiled the first phase of a five year major environmental initiative aimed to make the company more environmentally friendly through energy efficiency and other cutting edge efforts.

The comprehensive program – totaling more than $15.3 million of work – includes the opening of PECO’s first ‘green building’ in West Chester, the installation of a green roof and a new Crown Lights system at the company’s Center City headquarters, work to secure Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for many company work sites, and environmental and energy efficiency community and customer support.
Wow. An energy company actually putting its money where its mouth is.
Most of the Peco roof garden will be covered with a four-inch thick lawn, planted with delightfully named vegetation, including sedum sexangulare and sedum album coral carpet.

Native grasses and perennials, including asters, will cover an eight-inch thick, 2,000-square-foot section of the roof.

One plant is echinacea, but the company isn't saying whether it will include teas from the plant in an employee benefit package to help with minor colds.

The company touts all sorts of advantages to the roof.

One is a lowering of the hot rooftop temperatures, which Peco says can reach 150 degrees, contributing to smog formation. The new roof will be 60 to 80 degrees cooler.

The vegetation will delay roof replacement and maintenance costs because it will protect it from stresses caused by the sun.

Besides absorbing pollutants, the vegetation can absorb up to 85 percent of the 1.5 million gallons of rainwater that fall on Peco's roof. During intense storms, peak runoff into the city's drainage system will be reduced by 50 percent.
The roof is to be completed by the end of the year.

peco green roof philadelphiaBonus round: PECO also just donated 50 large to the Free Library so they could get Moshe Safdie to put a green roof on the already amazing rooftop terrace of the Parkway Central branch. (Safdie, you may recall, is designing the central branch expansion.)

An underutilized space if there ever was one, we hope this greening — to be finished by October 2008 — helps the rooftop terrace once again become the vibrant public space it should be.

PECO To Build Largest Green Roof On An Existing Urban Building in Pennsylvania; Company to donate $50,000 to Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation green roof project [ PECO – Official Site ]
PECO to boost curb appeal with rooftop garden [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
Parkway Central Goes Green [ Free Library Blog ]