Oh, yes, right.
Some technical problems related to a self-destructing laptop took down posting access to the blog, but they’re fixed now, and hopefully will never return. (Also: SHINY new laptop.) I hope I was able to keep those of you who follow me on Twitter informed, or at least amused in the interim.
And the blog really is returning to a Philadelphia a mini-Rip Van Winkle who slept through the last two months would only partly recognize.
- Our second-busiest Regional Rail station is now renamed for our 6th and 15th biggest employers, sparking a renewed and ongoing debate over the monetization of the public realm.
- Dilworth Plaza is now officially reborn as Dilworth Park, and the new subway entrance has a complete NPT fareline (with swipe access for existing transpasses and a booth troll taking all tokens and cash).
- Friend of the Blog Sandy Smith got what I think is the transit scoop of the year, as SEPTA’s Jeff Knueppel went on record and announced that SEPTA is planning to increase off-peak service to 30 minute headways on the Manayunk/Norristown and Chestnut Hill East Regional Rail Lines, sometime in the next few years.
And that was all just one day. (September 4th)
Since then, the hits have just kept coming, the latest being SEPTA’s declaration that its pilot program of overnight Subway and El service on weekends is a smashing success, and will be “extended indefinitely”. Late night revelers and graveyard shift workers alike have taken to the restored rail service, with average weekend ridership up 66% over the Nite Owl buses. Despite that added ridership not covering the increased cost of the service, a confident SEPTA is committing itself to being a public service, driving economic growth in Philadelphia. As of now, SEPTA cannot directly recover any of the myriad gains to the city that take the form of greater economic activity, decreased incidence of driving-while-impaired, or quality of life improvements like being able to cross 2nd Street in Northern Liberties between 2:00a and 3:00a without getting run over by a taxi. But the declaration that the public good outweighs the bottom line — from a SEPTA that is still under the stringent financial management of CFO Rich “Dr. No” Burnfield — is a demonstration of self-confidence that’s still surprising, and even staggering in the context of SEPTA’s precarious position before the passage of Act 89.
Writing this blog is going to be a lot more fun, going forward. I hope I get plenty of opportunity to do so.