Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Get that trolley moving!

A Daily News letter-writer chastizes Philadelphia's leaders for the scandal of the Girard trolley (investments made, ready to go, held up by a Ward leader's concern about parking on her block (and her Council rep.'s unwillingness to override her); see previous note here).
If Carol Campbell and Michael Nutter believe that this city can afford to flush an $82 million investment down the toilet, they don't deserve to be in City Council, or to consider a run for mayor, because they obviously have no respect for other people's money or how to handle investments.
You tell 'em!! It's hard enough to get money out of Harrisburg without giving them evidence that we squander whatever we get . . .

  1. A description of the project, including cute pictures of the restored historic trolley cars.
  2. A City Paper description of the problems that halted it just as it was about to go live last fall.
  3. Hallwatch is hosting a petition to get the project back on track. (unsure whether this is continuing)


Blogger Dumplingeater said...

I posted a comment on Young Philly on this issue, and didn't get any clarification -- so I'll try here too. How do we know that Campbell was respresenting her own personal interests, rather than those of her constituancy in a legitimate way for a Ward representative? The DN article doesn't provide any evidence either. It seems like an obvious assumption that she didn't want the trolley because she wants a place to park her car, but if the majority of her neighbors feel the same way, it would be her role to advocate for their interests. In that case, it would be Nutter's responsibility to weigh the interests of those neighbors against the interests of the larger community. The speculation about why he failed to do so is interestng.

11:18 AM  
Blogger ACM said...

I don't know more about it than you do -- things ground to a halt before my radar was really tuned. The City Paper article makes neighborhood opposition seem fairly unanimous, and even implies that SEPTA folks retroactively agree that it's a problem. Not sure what other options might be available, such as extending the track to turn someplace else (see the route map here: ). Was this track already there, or did some planner just plunk it down without considering the local impact? Is there enough general benefit to the whole line (which seems to be central to a Gerard revitalization effort) that it's worth inconveniencing a dozen people at one end? (Is there enough political will to make decisions that piss off a dozen people?) Could a better turn spot be created de novo, or some additional neighborhood parking engineered? Just mothballing the trolly cars *can't* be the best solution...

11:32 AM  
Blogger ACM said...

Ok, Marc Stier had an article in Chestnut Hill about these things -- sounds like it's Campbell in part, and bad community relations with SEPTA workers in part. From his piece:

When the trolley closed, people on these blocks took advantage of its absence to park on both sides of the street. Now they don’t want to give up these parking spaces. In order to run the trolley down these three blocks, either the parking spaces have to be removed or the street has to become one way. Another possibility is that SEPTA could spend over a half million dollars to move the trolley tracks into the middle of the street and a city ordinance could be passed that would allow a two-way street and two parking lanes on a slightly narrower street.

SEPTA is willing to accommodate the neighbors. But so far, Campbell has been unwilling to negotiate with SEPTA. There are a number of serious issues this community has had with SEPTA. SEPTA acknowledges that the Callowhill Depot has been a problem for neighbors for many years, not least because SEPTA workers take parking spots on residential streets. However, SEPTA has tried a number of ways to reach out to the neighbors and Campbell to discuss these difficulties and find a way to overcome them. I also tried to contact her on behalf of the Pennsylvania Transit Coalition, with the hopes that our organization could help work out the problems between the neighborhood and SEPTA. But, so far, Ms. Campbell has been unwilling to discuss these issues with SEPTA or the PTC. And no city leader — including Councilman Michael Nutter, whose district includes the Fourth Ward, or Mayor Street — has been willing or able to bring any resolution to this issue.

So, there are many people at fault, but Campbell is pretty much a lone obstacle to progress at this point.

(the article quotes is partway down the page here: ).

9:13 AM  
Blogger Dumplingeater said...

Thanks. Campbell's not being willing to negotiate is clearly a failure to carry out her leadership responsibilities. On the other hand, it does seem that her opposition to the trolley is representative of her constituancy, and perhaps not simply a reflection of her desire to maintain her parking space -- as has been suggested. The situation also seems to reflect poorly on Nutter for failing to bring her to the negotiating table? Is it because of his political aspirations?

8:26 PM  

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