Old City glass (Instagram/@june_age_daydream)

RECAP: Looking back on the week that was

• City Council president won’t run again

After weeks of rumors (word is, he was undecided), Council President Darrell Clarke announced he’s not running for reelection. That opens the door not only for a new District 5 representative — two candidates have filed for the seat —  but also a new leader for the 17-member body. Jockeying has already started, with Jones, Bass, Squilla, and Johnson all expressing interest; a vote will happen after the new council is sworn in. [PHL Council/Billy Penn/WHYY]

• Worries over school route safety

The Philadelphia School District has plans to expand its “Safe Path” initiative, but so far the adults monitoring corridors before and after school are only deployed at six campuses. An evening shooting last week next to Strawberry Mansion’s Blaine School — it sent seven people to the hospital, including a 2-year-old and someone picking up their kids from after-school activities — spurred calls for more to be done. The district is actively recruiting safety officers for the 2023-24 academic year. [WHYY/NBC10/Phila SD]

• $125 million contract for KOP rail

SEPTA’s most controversial project took a major step forward. The agency approved a $125 million contract to Kansas City-based HNTB Corp to create final design documents for the King of Prussia Rail line. In total, the project extending high speed rail to KOP is expected to cost more than $2 billion — to serve an estimated 10,000 daily riders. Its main boosters are business and political leaders. [Inquirer$/SEPTA/KOP Rail/BP 2022]

• Trees are already blooming

It’s not your imagination: After a spate of 60-degree days in Philadelphia over the past two weeks, trees are budding and blooming all over the city. That’s about three weeks ahead of schedule, according to local horticulturists. What issues might that pose? A frost could zap flowers, and birds and insects could fall out of sync. [Billy Penn]

Riverwalk apartment towers along the Schuylkill River (Mark Henninger/Imagic Digital)

VISION: Looking forward to the week ahead

• Mayoral forums on gun violence and the arts

There’s a chance to hear mayoral candidates weigh in on two big issues this week. You can RSVP here for the Facebook livestream of Wednesday evening’s forum on public safety and gun violence solutions, hosted by BP, WHYY, and CeaseFirePA. Then on Thursday, City & State and the Kimmel Center host a forum on the performing arts and cultural economy at the Perelman Center. [Facebook/Billy Penn/Kimmel Center]

• Libraries finally open on weekends

It’s now easier for students and anyone who works weekdays to visit a library in Philadelphia. After three years with zero weekend hours, the Free Library is bringing back Saturday service at 10 branches across the city — one in each council district. The pilot runs from now through June, when it’ll be evaluated for continuation or expansion. [Billy Penn/Google Maps] 

• Philly Fashion Week returns

Philadelphia may not be globally recognized as a fashion hotbed, but there are plenty of designers and brands based in the region, and the industry’s annual celebration continues to grow. Philly Fashion Week has been recognized for its focus on diversity and inclusion — a model on the autism spectrum talks about his involvement — and this year it features three events in two venues from March 2-5. [BP x 3/Fashion Week/WHYY 2018/6ABC/Visit Philly]

• Mural Arts stars in ‘Abbott Elementary’

This week’s episode of “Abbott Elementary,” which airs Wednesdays and is available on Hulu after that, features Philly’s pioneering Mural Arts Program. Creator Quinta Brunson said the storyline was inspired by her own experience, when Mural Arts came to her middle school and helped create a mural that’s still there today. [Mural Arts/@quintabrunson]