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SEPTA to stop selling paper transfers beginning Aug. 1

Posted on 25 May 2018 by WestPhillyLocal.com

SEPTA is getting rid of paper transfers this summer. Paper transfers for travel on buses, subways and trolleys will stop being issued at the end of the service day on Tuesday, July 31. Starting August 1, to receive a qualifying $1 transfer, customers will need to use a SEPTA Key Card with Travel Wallet. Customers who are eligible for reduced fare travel will need to use a SEPTA Key Card with Travel Wallet to receive the half-fare $0.50 transfer.

This is the latest effort by SEPTA to encourage more customers to switch to the Key Card, which was launched in June 2016. The majority of SEPTA customers have already made the switch.

After eliminating token and magnetic stripe TransPass sales at SEPTA-operated locations earlier this spring SEPTA has recently announced that third-party retail sales of tokens and magnetic stripe passes will also end by Aug. 1.

For more information about the SEPTA Key Fare program, visit: www.septakey.org.

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School District kicks off Kindergarten Open House Week

Posted on 07 May 2018 by WestPhillyLocal.com

The School District of Philadelphia is inviting parents and guardians of prospective students to Kindergarten open houses this week. During the District’s Kindergarten Open House Week, running May 7 through 11, schools across the city open their doors so that prospective students and parents can visit and get acquainted with their neighborhood schools, ask teachers and principals questions, and even register for school.

A full list of Kindergarten Open House Week events and schedules can be found online here. Children are eligible for kindergarten for the 2018-2019 school year if they will be 5 years old on or before September 1, 2018. More information about kindergarten registration can be found here.

 

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Retailers begin selling SEPTA Key cards

Posted on 20 April 2018 by WestPhillyLocal.com

SEPTA Key Cards are now available for purchase at a number of retail locations, in addition to transit station and Bus Loop Fare Kiosks and SEPTA Sales Offices.

The initial launch of the “SEPTA Key External Retail Network” earlier this week included more than 100 locations where customers can purchase a Key Card and load/reload fares such as Weekly and Monthly TransPasses, Convenience Passes, and Travel Wallet value. The retail network will eventually grow to approximately 1,500 locations, including grocery stores, pharmacies and local convenience stores, among others, according to SEPTA.  Continue Reading

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New zoning and construction tax bills proposed in City Council aimed at increasing home ownership and affordable housing

Posted on 17 April 2018 by Mike VanHelder

A bill introduced last week at the Philadelphia City Council would levy a 1 percent tax on construction and relax some zoning codes to fund programs aimed at providing more affordable housing in the city.

The bills are a series of compromises arising from battles between progressive city council members and real estate and construction lobbying groups. Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez had been pushing for a bill that would mandate the inclusion of affordable housing units in any new development, but her proposal was almost unanimously opposed by the powerful building and real estate lobbies, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The compromise, which replaced a mandate with incentives, but which would also allow developers to pay a penalty fee in lieu of including affordable housing in their developments, has the backing of some of the previously opposed lobbying groups, like the Building Industry Association.

Current estimates are that the tax will raise $25 million a year. There is no word yet on when these proposals will be put to a vote.

Mike VanHelder

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Mussels in the Schuylkill? Local organizations to establish Aquatic Research and Restoration Center

Posted on 11 April 2018 by Mike VanHelder

Photo via fairmountwaterworks.org.

A species in decline, the once-abundant North American freshwater mussel is one of the bedrock animals of our local aquatic ecosystem. Last year, a combination art exhibit, educational facility and working mussel hatchery opened at the Fairmount Water Works. Building on the success of the hatchery, several prominent local organizations including the City of Philadelphia, Bartram’s Garden, The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Drexel University and the Independence Seaport Museum are joining forces to establish an Aquatic Research and Restoration Center (ARRC). 

The Center will be dedicated to the restoration of local aquatic ecosystems in general, and specifically the reintroduction of freshwater mussels and river shad (a kind of herring) to the Delaware Estuary, including our own Schuylkill River. Why shad? Mussels require shad and other host fish in order to breed. Though the shad don’t get anything out of it, we do: Mussels are filter-feeders, and a single mussel can filter waste out of enough drinking water for anywhere from a dozen to two dozen people a day. Considering that the source of Philadelphia’s drinking water is the Schuylkill, which is also where local sewage treatment plants dump their treated effluent, more mussels and therefore more filtration seems like a pretty good idea.

The ARRC program kicks off May 3rd at the Fairmount Water Works (640 Water Works Drive) when a memorandum for the development of the ARRC will be signed.

Mike VanHelder

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SEPTA Key Card program changes to go into effect May 4

Posted on 10 April 2018 by WestPhillyLocal.com

SEPTA recently announced some important changes to its Key Card program that will go into effect on May 4, 2018.

Here’s the summary:

• In response to customer feedback, the minimum amount to load funds onto the SEPTA Key Card Travel Wallet will be lowered from $10 to $5. The maximum per transaction will remain $250.

• The card itself will no longer be free after May 4. The $4.95 cost to buy a Key Card will go into effect.  Continue Reading

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