City Council: Johnson Introduces SEPTA Bus Route Hearing; Squilla’s Opioid Task Force Resolution Moves Forward; NPI Resoultion Approved

Johnson Introduces SEPTA Hearing Resolution

Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson’s resolution will authorize the Committee on Transportation and Public Utilities to hold hearings “to examine the approach and expected impacts of SEPTA’s Bus Revolution service reconfiguration.”

Hall Monitor’s Lance Haver has been following this story closely, reporting that in the early rounds of public engagement on the topic, riders have expressed great concern regarding possible changes.

According to the resolution, the Bus Revolution plan would decrease the total bus routes from 125 to 99 while increasing the frequency of arterial routes. This could eliminate relied upon routes, leaving some with limited public transportation options.

Other Councilmembers echoed Johnson’s concerns. Councilmember Cindy Bass noted planned SEPTA expansions into suburban areas while reducing service in underserved neighborhoods, which she called “unacceptable.”

“I want to publicly put out there that I have asked the General Manager of SEPTA, on numerous occasions, for almost a year now, to travel with me on the Broad Street Line, just to check it out,” Bass said. “To travel in the morning rush hour and travel in the evening or after school hours.”

Bass said she has not been able to get a commitment from SEPTA regarding her invitation.

Johnson also introduced a resolution authorizing the Committee on Labor and Civil Service to hearings on payroll fraud.

The resolution describes payroll fraud as workplace misclassification, “a practice whereby employers deliberately miscategorize employees as independent contractors” to avoid paying overtime and benefits.

Johnson said he introduced the resolution as an examination of the economy of Philadelphia.

“Most importantly, (we need to see those) who are not taking advantage of our economy by not officially being part of the payroll of the contractors and developers they are actually working for,” Johnson said. “We’re looking at the issue of wage theft.”

Opioid Task Force

Councilmember Mark Squilla’s resolution creating an Opioid Task Force was approved by council.

The Task Force would be charged with making recommendations to city council regarding the $160 million in Opioid settlement funds coming to Philadelphia.

According to the resolution, the Task Force would consist of 15 members from various areas related to opioid response, including drug abuse prevention, treatment and recovery, health care, behavioral health, law enforcement and criminal justice, education, housing, transportation, job placement, childcare, and other wrap-around services.


The funds will be distributed over an 18-year period. The Task Force members will be appointed by city council, and will meet 30 days after its formal creation. It will issue a report 90 days after its first meeting.

NPI Resolution

The resolution approves the spending of $100 million in Neighborhood Preservation Initiative funds dedicated to different programs designed to keep people in their homes, build low-cost housing, and aid neighborhood small businesses.

The $100 million in funds represents the second year of the four-year, $400 million effort.

This installment of the funds will go to the following items:


Shallow Rent Assistance $360,000
Basic Systems Repair Program $18,000,000
Adaptive Modification $3,400,000
Tangled Title $1,900,000
Eviction Prevention $2,850,000
Affordable Housing Production $20,000,000
Turn the Key1 $2,500,000
Affordable Housing Preservation $33,240,000
Permanent Homeless Housing $3,800,000
Neighborhood Infrastructure $6,650,000
Neighborhood Small Business Programs $4,800,000
Administrative Costs $2,500,000
TOTAL $100,000,000

Legislation Tracker

The following bills and resolutions were passed or approved by Philadelphia City Council on Thursday, December 8th, 2022.

Resolution No. 220954

Approving the 2022-2023 Neighborhood Preservation Initiative Program Statement and Budget, which addresses the expenditure of $100 million by various agencies in the second year of the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative Program. Click here to learn more.

Resolution No. 220956

Naming the 600 block of N. 66th Street as “John Skief Way,” in honor of John Skief, the founder the Harambee Institute of Science & Technology Charter School. Click here to learn more.

Resolution No. 220957

Initiating action to continue the Roxborough Neighborhood Improvement District beyond its termination date in an area that generally includes both sides of Ridge Avenue from Main Street beginning with 5122 Ridge Avenue to 7220 Ridge Avenue and certain blocks of streets that intersect that portion of Ridge Avenue; continuing the designation of the Roxborough Development Corporation, a Pennsylvania nonprofit corporation, as the Neighborhood Improvement District Management Association for the District; approving a preliminary plan for and report concerning the District; and authorizing and directing the Committee on Rules and the Clerk of Council to take all actions that are required by the Community and Economic Improvement Act prior to enactment of an ordinance that would formally continue the District. Click here to learn more.

Resolution No. 220959

Approving the action of the Boards of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation and the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development to sell a property at 7411 Holstein avenue in the Eastwick Urban Renewal Area – Stage “A” Industrial, containing approximately Three Acres, to Olivieri and Associates, Inc., or its assignee or nominee. Click here to learn more.

Resolution No. 220960

Authorizing the creation of the Philadelphia Opioid Response Task Force. Click here to learn more.

Resolution No. 220961

Approving the First Amendment to Second Amended and Restated Parking Garage Development Agreement and Lease and Estoppel of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the Market Street East Urban Renewal Area, located generally on the east and west sides of Eleventh street from Arch to Filbert streets, but excluding certain air rights; authorizing the Redevelopment Authority to execute the development contract and lease and estoppel with Parametric Garage Associates and to take such action as may be necessary to effectuate the development contract and lease and estoppel. Click here to learn more.

Bill No. 220742

Authorizing an increase in the non-electoral indebtedness of the City within the Pennsylvania constitutional limit; authorizing the Bond Committee to sell bonds at public or private negotiated sale, to provide funds toward various capital municipal purposes; providing for appropriations to the Sinking Fund Commission for the payment of such bonds; and authorizing agreements to provide credit or payment or liquidity sources for the bonds in connection with issuance of the bonds, and certain other actions. Click here to learn more.

Bill No. 220638

Amending Title 4 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “The Philadelphia Building Construction and Occupancy Code,” by adopting the 2018 edition of the “International Residential Code” as published by the International Code Council, including maintenance of previously adopted amendments to the 2015 International Residential Code, as adopted under the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code Act, all under certain terms and conditions. Click here to learn more.

Bill No. 220666

Amending Chapter 9-3300 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “Use and Inspection of Tower and Mobile Cranes in Construction,” to require breaks for operators, all under certain terms and conditions. Click here to learn more.

This Week’s Hearings and Meetings

The week of December 5th has been eventful regarding city council hearings.

The Finance Committee heard one bill which, while not having anything overtly to do with the proposed basketball arena in Chinatown, caused concern among residents.

Finance

A hearing on Bill No. 220938, ostensibly about a parking garage built in 1982 in Chinatown, became contentious when residents from the neighborhood objected to a provision in the legislation they deemed indicative of plans to build the new 76ers basketball arena in their neighborhood.

The contentious section of the legislation, removed by amendment, allowed for the potential striking of Filbert Street between 10th and 11th Streets. Many who testified felt this was the first step towards approving the arena, and lamented the lack of community input regarding the project.

Squilla said the legislation did not call for the striking of the area in question at this time, but could allow for it at a later date if there was a compelling reason to do so. An amended version of the bill, removing this section of the bill, was approved by the committee and will be heard at the next session of council.

Streets and Services

The Committee on Streets and Services Favorably Recommended the following bills:

Bill No. 220118

An Ordinance authorizing an encroachment upon East Passyunk Avenue and Moore Street in the vicinity of 1801 East Passyunk Avenue Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148, under certain terms and conditions.

Bill No. 220639

An Ordinance authorizing the revision of lines and grades on a portion of City Plan No. 27-S by striking from the City Plan the easterly twenty feet wide portion of Swanson Street from Wolf Street to Snyder Avenue, striking from the City Plan and vacating the legally open portion of Vandalia Street from Wolf Street to Weccacoe Avenue, and reserving and placing on the City Plan a right-of-way for sewer and drainage purposes within the portion of Swanson Street being stricken and authorizing acceptance of the grant to the City of the said right-of-way, all under certain terms and conditions, including the dedication to the City of the beds of the remaining unopened portions of Swanson Street from Wolf Street to Jackson Street and from Jackson Street to Snyder Avenue.

Bill No. 220775

An Ordinance authorizing the revision of lines and grades on a portion of City Plan No. 291 by striking from the City Plan and vacating the legally open portion of Shelmire Avenue from State Road to the centerline of the Philadelphia and Trenton Railroad, under certain terms and conditions.

Bill No. 220832

An Ordinance authorizing the installation of all-way stop signs at the intersection of Larkspur Street and Gifford Street.

Bill No. 220844

An Ordinance establishing a no truck parking regulation on both sides of Haverford Avenue between N. 67th Street and N. 68th Street.

Bill No. 220870

An Ordinance establishing a no truck parking regulation on both sides of Malvern Avenue between 63rd Street and Wynnewood Road.

Bill No. 220871

An Ordinance authorizing the installation, ownership, and maintenance of various encroachments in the vicinity of 435 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123, under certain terms and conditions.

Bill No. 220904

An Ordinance authorizing the installation, ownership, replacement, and maintenance of various encroachments in the vicinity of 1700-1720 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103, under certain terms and conditions.

Bill No. 220920

An Ordinance authorizing and directing the changing of the name of Langley Avenue, from South 26th Street to South Broad Street, to League Island Boulevard, under certain terms and conditions.

Bill No. 220922

An Ordinance amending Section 12-919 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “On-Street Parking of Boats, Motor Homes, Truck Campers, Semitrailers, Truck Tractors, and Vending Carts,” to provide prohibitions on semitrailer and truck tractor parking in the Sixth District of Council, all under certain terms and conditions.

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