Driving Equality Bill Championed by Councilmember Thomas Passes
City Council passed Councilmember Isaiah Thomas’s driving equality bill with a 14-2 vote, which will prohibit Philadelphia police from stopping vehicles for certain low-level driving code infractions. Thomas says the bill will reduce discrimination by police and allow them to focus on keeping neighborhoods safe. After the bill is signed by Mayor Kenney, the police will have 120 days to train officers on new procedures before the bill takes effect. Concurrently, Council passed a bill creating a searchable online database for traffic stops in the city, aimed at increasing policing transparency.
Councilmember Gauthier Protests Potential Decrease in Affordable Housing in City
Councilmember Jamie Gauthier joined West Philadelphians in protesting the potential displacement of residents in her district that are living in affordable housing. Gauthier highlighted a bill she wrote — currently being reviewed by City Council and that would offer affordable housing residents greater protections — as a key step in preventing future displacements.
School District Approves of $60 Million in “Green Bonds” to Support Facility Upgrades
The Philadelphia Board of Education approved the issuance of $60 million in bonds last week, earmarked for facility improvements such as HVAC overhauls, lighting improvements, and external overhauls. The bond issuance was applauded by Councilmember Derek Green and the Philadelphia Energy Association President as a crucial step to improve the conditions of Philadelphia’s schools.
Hiring of Traffic Cops to Start This Month
City officials say they will begin the hiring process this month to onboard new traffic cops by January 2022. These new traffic cops will be unarmed and unsworn, and they will be responsible for enforcing some traffic laws. Traffic cops were first proposed in 2019 as a solution to downtown traffic jams.
Delaware River Trail Set to Open in Spring of 2022
The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation says large parts of the Delaware River Trail will be ready to open in the spring of next year following delays related to “unexpected structural and underground utility issues.” The trail will have two paths—one for those on foot and one for those on bikes.
Council’s Week Ahead: Hearing Roundup
Monday, October 25 at 9:00 a.m.: The Committee on Commerce & Economic Development will meet to discuss amending the city’s Economic Opportunity Plan related to Minority, Women, and/or Disabled Business Enterprise (MWBE) participation, review legislation related to “tangled titles,” and hold a hearing on the impact of the film industry in Philadelphia.
Tuesday, October 26 at 10:00 a.m.: The Committee on Rules will hold a hearing on a number of proposed zoning changes.
Friday, October 29 at 9:00am: The Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development and The Homeless will hold a hearing on “permanently preserving community gardens and open spaces in the City of Philadelphia.”