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    • Emergency responders work to contain the blaze at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery on Friday June, 21.

Eliminating the PES refinery’s deadliest chemical will be a 24/7 job for weeks

The Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery has started neutralizing and eliminating a highly toxic chemical still present at the shuttering facility. The June 21 explosion and fire that led the company to…

    • New houses abut old in Northern Liberties, one of the city’s fastest gentrifying areas.

'We don't build them like we used to' — Why new houses aren’t made of brick

Nothing signifies Philadelphia’s rapid developement like the sight of a metal or vinyl-clad house rising from a sea of red brick row houses.  The new homes repopulating many of Philadelphia’s row…

    • Riders wait on a SEPTA train platform for the Regional Rail to arrive. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Climate change is messing with your commute, SEPTA says after storms halt trains

Thousands of SEPTA riders were stranded during Wednesday’s powerful thunderstorms. The storm triggered flash flooding and sent trees careening into catenary wires. Buses were diverted. Norristown High Speed Line and trolley…

    • Haydee Durán says her 1-year-old tree makes her smile when she's feeling sad.

Not in my sidewalk: Debunking Philly tree myths

Trees aren’t generally controversial. They usually look nice, they provide shade and improve the air and water quality. Scientists say they even make people happier.  But when it comes to planting…

    • 2019 08 7 k paynter gorilla treehouse 4 1

Philly's newest $100,000 house has some really hairy residents

Construction is complete for another mixed-use development in Philadelphia. The two-story structure offers little in terms of shelter, but satisfies most of the recreational amenities required by its seven tenants —…

    • Fence-line resident Silvia Bennett speaks at a first public meeting held by the city as it plans for the refinery's impending closure. (Bastiaan Slabbers for WHYY)

Who will decide the future of the South Philly refinery?

Sylvia Bennett felt her bed shake when the explosion rocked Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery in June. It wasn’t the first time the refinery, her neighbor in South Philly, touched her…

    • A fire burns at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery hours after a series of early morning explosions at the 150-year-old industrial complex at 3100 W. Passyunk Ave. (Emma Lee/WHYY)
Eyes on the Street

The 1,000 refinery workers that were laid off deserve access to green energy jobs

The massive explosion at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions oil refinery late last month will have far-reaching consequences for years to come. But for workers at the refinery, the effects were far…

    • A rendering of the final layout of the Grays Ferry Avenue Bridge. (PennDOT)

Grays Ferry Bridge is scary for cyclists and PennDOT’s rebuild won’t solve the problem

The $13.3 million reconstruction of the Grays Ferry Bridge will include a protected bike lane — but only on one half of the bridge, renderings from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation…

    • Street artist Tim Lee takes a break from spraying the walls at Graffiti Pier. Joel Wolfram/for WHYY

Can Graffiti Pier become a tourist attraction and still serve the people who put it on the map?

Jameel Kemp looked doubtful as he approached the forbidding trailhead for Graffiti Pier on a recent July evening. The “no trespassing” signs were insistent, and several layers of barricades stood in…

    • The Chestnut Street Bridge pictured in 2018. (PennDot)

Chestnut Street Bridge to close Monday for year-long makeover

Say your goodbyes to the Chestnut Street bridge.  The 62-year-old eastbound connection between West Philadelphia and Center City is scheduled to close Monday evening for a year of construction. The bridge…

    • William Toms, left, and David Silver announce plans to build a 10,000-square-foot space in Fashion District Philadelphia.

Why Fashion District will open in revamped Gallery mall with space for ‘co-creating’

The Gallery mall will reopen in Center City this fall after four years of construction, rebranded as a shopping complex called “The Fashion District.” The rebuilt mall will eventually sport new…

    • A sunflower blooms in West Mt. Airy, one of the city's healthiest neighborhoods.

Philly ‘health gap’ varies by neighborhood, city finds

New health research out of Philadelphia puts a fine point on a well-known fact: Not all of the city's neighborhoods are created equal.  “Close to Home” documents a wide…

    • 2019 07 22 e lee darryl murphy whyy ebike

E for exhilarating: PlanPhilly reviews Indego's new e-bikes

Indego’s electric bikes are pretty damn fun.  I rented one from the bike station at 25th between Spruce and Locust during the late hours, where one day transitions into another. I…

    • Smith Playground Summer Camp participants, and Boys and Girls Club members cluster around the new “MVP” Ora Washington statue. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

‘It looks like me:’ New South Philly statue meant to inspire young women and girls

Smith Playground in South Philadelphia is now home to a one-of-a-kind public sculpture, the latest in a city-owned collection dating back six decades.  Unveiled on Wednesday, ‘MVP’ is one of the…

    • philly public transit septa train 1200 1024x576

Sources: FBI investigating SEPTA over embezzlement scheme

The FBI and SEPTA’s inspector general are investigating a multi-year embezzlement scheme that may have cost the agency big bucks, PlanPhilly has learned. Fran Kelly, SEPTA’s assistant general manager, said the…

    • ap 18254464670940

Hepatitis A is spreading through poop on the streets. Philly is betting public bathrooms can stem the outbreak.

Public bathrooms will be deployed in Kensington as the city’s newest weapon in its battle against a growing Hepatitis A outbreak. The spread of the viral liver infection has been traced…

    • SEPTA regional rail | Bob Bruhin, EOTS Flickr Group

SEPTA Regional Rail paper Trailpasses will disappear starting in August

The final swipes have come for the 40,000 SEPTA Key card that will go dead on July 31. If you were one of the 39,386 early adopters who picked up a…

    • City Council member  Blondell Reynolds Brown advocates for her bill requiring universal lead checks for rental units at a June 6, 2019 press conference. (David Kim)

City Hall is uniting around a lead poisoning law hated by landlords

A law designed to strengthen the city’s safeguards against lead poisoning should soon finally get the vote backers have waited for after almost two years. The bill, which would require all…

    • septa regional rail 1024x576

SEPTA’s solar-powered train signals expected to improve safety in severe weather

SEPTA is turning to the sun to power Regional Rail. Sometime in the next year, commuters can expect to see solar panels on the rail signals along the Warminster, Doylestown, and…

    • Fairhill Apartments in North Philadelphia. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Philadelphia Housing Authority moves to demolish one of its last surviving towers

Shirley Reynolds and her neighbors’ homes may soon be destroyed, and she’s delighted. “I’m happy,” said Shirley Reynolds, a retired construction worker. Reynolds’ Fairhill apartment is on the third floor of…

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