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    • Illegal dumpers throw construction debris on a Philadelphia street in a video screen capture from a video released by the City of Philadelphia.

Philly says hidden cameras, higher fines help catch more illegal dumpers

Kelly O’Day is a retired wastewater engineer who tracks illegal dumping in Phildelphia in his spare time. There is no shortage of abandoned matresses, old tires and plastic junk for the…

    • Philadelphia's street sweeping pilot program has started, but some sweepers are unable to go down narrow streets. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

$2.73 million later, Philly realizes street sweepers are too wide for city’s narrow blocks

Philly’s street sweeping experiment has hit a sizable snag — a nine-foot-wide snag, to be exact. The 10 new street sweepers purchased for the pilot program at a cost of $2.73…

    • Neighbors of Commerce Street are working on a redesign of this public space to discourage drug use. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Redesigning an Old City green space for park use, not drug use

Adam Teterus takes a shortcut to the gym after work through a space some people in Old City prefer to avoid. The back corner of the T-shaped walkway and public plaza…

    • William Bess, 19, (center) with his mother and father on their porch in East Mt. Airy. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Temple U cops sued over alleged racial profiling incident

A black Philadelphia college student has filed a federal civil rights complaint against the Temple University Police Department over an alleged May 2017 stop-and-frisk incident. In the filing, plaintiff William Bess…

    • Anastasi Seafood in the Italian Market. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Protecting the Italian Market’s walkability is the goal of new City Council bill

Councilman Mark Squilla is stepping into a fight over a driveway that opponents say threatens the pedestrian nature of the Italian Market. The driveway in question would interrupt 9th Street south…

    • Jane's Walk participants enjoy a guided exploration of Lancaster Avenue during a 2017 walk.

This is your weekend to discover hidden black history, ‘peak songbirds’ and a middle school once associated with utopia

Urbanist darling Jane Jacob’s legacy continues as curious city lovers around the world prepare to take to the sidewalks for Jane’s Walk this weekend to honor the bespectacled activist who died…

    • 20170713 elee philadelphia city hall dilworth park fountain hot day

A park that makes money? Dilworth generated $2.5 million in 2018

When construction began last month on a second Starbucks-branded cafe in Dilworth Park outside City Hall, some Philadelphians started asking why businesses and ads were in the city-owned plaza at all.…

    • Parkside picnicking during 2018 West Park Arts Fest  (Neal Santos for PlanPhilly)
Eyes on the Street

In Common: 6 ways Philly can create more equitable, imaginative and inviting public spaces

I was lucky enough to spend 2018 writing the In Common series, exploring the ways civic spaces across Philly are changing, each aiming to build a stronger, more inclusive city. We’ll…

    • Birds circle Mount Moriah Cemetery's historic gatehouse. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Mount Moriah cemetery could become nature sanctuary

On the edge of Philadelphia, Mount Moriah cemetery sprawls over 380 acres, spreading into Delaware County and sheltering 80,000 thousand graves. But when Paulette Rhone goes there to visit her husband’s…

    • Kickball in Weccacoe Playgorund. (Neal Santos for PlanPhilly)
Eyes on the Street

In Common: Bethel Burying Ground memorial to advance in 2019, creating learning opportunity for the living at Weccacoe Playground

Our 2018 series about Philly's changing public spaces concludes in Queen Village where a new memorial is being developed to honor a historic black cemetery within a popular playground. It’s a…

    • Ontario and C streets is rated a “3” on Philadelphia’s Litter Index. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Philly’s dirtiest blocks get surveillance cameras as city steps up fight against illegal dumping

Surveillance cameras are coming to Philadelphia neighborhoods as part of a plan to make illegal dumpers pay for their trashy behavior. The Streets Department has installed 15 cameras on North Philadelphia…

    • Shyeer Johnson and Waki Perry, both 14, frequent the library after school. (Neal Santos for PlanPhilly)
Eyes on the Street

In Common: At rejuvenated Logan Library, room for the noisy joy of teenage kicks

Next up in our 2018 series about Philly's changing public spaces, Ashley Hahn checks out what’s welcoming neighborhood teens back to the century-old, recently-renovated Logan Library. Midafternoon on a cold Thursday,…

    • Ontario and C streets is rated a “3” on Philadelphia’s Litter Index. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Trash talk: Bigger fines and free neighborhood cans

Philadelphia residents are tired of construction companies —or their neighbors — dumping debris in vacant lots and public parks. And when Philadelphians get mad about something in their neighborhood, their City…

    • Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Police Commissioner rejects key Starbucks arrest report recommendation

The Philadelphia Police Department agrees that anti-racist training could help officers de-escalate conflicts without arrests but can’t commit to providing that training until the department identifies “appropriate funding,” said Commissioner Richard…

    • homeless memorial paine plaza
Eyes on the Street

With Dilworth and Love Park remade for leisure, Paine Plaza redo is a chance to save a space for protest

Thomas Paine Plaza, the public space outside the Municipal Services Building, is so unremarkable that you’d be forgiven for not knowing its name. But you might recognize it by the bronze…

    • A woman runs past a pile of litter next to a Big Belly trash can on South Broad Street.

With no cash for trash, city mulls partnerships with private groups

Fewer public trash cans result in more litter on streets and in parks. That was the conclusion of a nine-month study done by city officials working with researchers from the University…

    • The Discovery Center
Eyes on the Street

Building for Discovery

The Discovery Center, a new kind of environmental and leadership education center opening this month, is unlike anything else in Fairmount Park. Ashley Hahn dug into the center’s backstory earlier this…

    • Sandra Horsey at the reservoir | Neal Santos for PlanPhilly
Eyes on the Street

In Common: Hidden habitat reclaimed as Discovery Center opens in Fairmount Park

Next in our series about Philly's changing public spaces, Ashley Hahn explores the Discovery Center, a new environmental education center opening September 28 in East Fairmount Park. What will it take…

    • Artist Janet Echelman twirls in the mist during a public unveiling of the Pulse art installation at Dilworth Park.

The story behind the light-colored mist in Dilworth Park’s new installation

Since it opened in 2014, after a $55 million renovation by the Center City District, Dilworth Park on the western apron of Philadelphia City Hall has acted as a water park.…

    • The Rail Park, summer 2018 (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Walking the walk along Philly's new Rail Park

Pedestrians, bicyclists, and one pup named Bizzy braved the heat of the last Tuesday in August to take a customized tour of the area surrounding Philadelphia's new Rail Park. Led by…

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