Outside the Llama Tooth restaurant near 11th and Spring Garden, mayoral candidate Doug Oliver described the planning and environmental conversation people were having Monday night as something few people could have imagined just a decade ago in this spot. He remembered gun stores and violence from the area. He told the crowd that by choosing to live in Philadelphia and in areas like Northern Liberties, they were helping foster improvement.
“Thank you for now forcing the issue on the city of Philadelphia,” Oliver said.
Oliver was joined by mayoral candidate Anthony Williams, a spokesperson for candidate Nelson Diaz, City Council candidate Paul Steinke and other speakers as part of the “Parks, Pedals and Politics” event hosted by the Spring Garden Street Greenway. They gave brief talks to a crowd of about 50 people on bicycling, transportation, sustainability, infrastructure and other concerns geared toward making a healthier city for the future.
Here are six highlights from the event.
Anthony Williams wants a “different” Council if he’s elected
Plenty of newcomers are challenging for City Council this year, particularly in the at-large race. While addressing the crowd, Williams made it clear he wouldn’t mind a shakeup.
“Picking council is also important,” he said. “But I will tell you we’re going to pick different Council people. It’s not going to look status quo.”
Candidates continue to emphasize biking and alternative transportation as needs for all
Oliver talked about growing up in Philadelphia and not necessarily always doing things the right way, including biking. He recalled riding in the middle of the street and against traffic. Oliver wants neighborhoods outside of Center City to have the same safe infrastructure and the same ease of learning for how to bike properly.
Barry Caro, a spokesperson for Nelson Diaz, called biking and transportation a development issue, as well as an equity issue.
Introducing the “Indego Core”?
Paul Steinke called the area from between Berks and Tasker and river to river the “Indego Core.” He said this area of Philadelphia is generally doing well, and he wants to help improve the other neighborhoods.
Money shouldn’t hold up the Spring Garden Street Greenway
The cycling community has been buzzing about the Spring Garden Street Greenway for several months. This proposed path would connect Spring Garden river-to-river with a protected bike path for bicycles and people. And if it’s going to happen, said Mike Carroll from the Streets Department, money won’t be the issue. Carroll, who used to work for the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, joked that for the first time since the 1700s funding for non-motor transportation projects isn’t a problem.
He also provided an ultimatum of sorts for whoever becomes mayor after Michael Nutter while also praising Nutter. Carroll said “the next mayor will probably be at a lot of ribbon cuttings” because of the planning work of the current administration. Then he added, “It’s up to you guys to keep it going.”
Count Williams as one person who liked the Tim Tebow signing
Unsolicited, Williams gave a full endorsement of Eagles coach Chip Kelly and all his controversial roster moves. “Chip Kelly is a genius,” he said. “He really is a genius.”
Yes, the mayoral candidates also feel like they’re going to a 20 forums every day
After Williams gave his speech (and called Kelly a genius), he walked away saying to the crowd, “I have to go to my 99th forum.”