Northeast Times

How many bridges, traffic lights are in Philly?

You’ve lived in the city for a long time. You’ve driv­en its streets. You know Philly, or at least you think you do.

But do you know …

• How many miles of streets cris­scross Phil­adelphia? (A) 2,500 (B) 25,000 (C) 60,000.

• How many traffic sig­nals there are in the city? (A) 100,000 (B) 40,000  (C) 30,000.

• How many ma­jor bridges? (A) 25 (B) 110 (C) 160.

•  About what per­cent­age of Phil­adelphia’s trash is re­cycled? (A) 7 per­cent (B) 20 per­cent (C) 60 per­cent.

North­east res­id­ent Dav­id Perri knows this stuff. He should. He’s the act­ing Streets De­part­ment com­mis­sion­er, and dur­ing a vis­it to the Great­er Bustleton Civic League’s May 22 meet­ing, Perri shared some of the fig­ures that he joked would help any­one score high on a Phil­adelphia trivia test.

Perri, an Arch­bish­op Ry­an grad, took over Streets re­cently when its long­time com­mis­sion­er, Clar­ena Tolson, be­came Rev­en­ue com­mis­sion­er. He’s now in charge of a de­part­ment that (check your an­swers now) over­sees 2,500 miles of city streets, 160 ma­jor bridges and the col­lec­tion of trash, of which about 20 per­cent is re­cycled.

And, Perri said, there are about 100,000 traffic lights in Phil­adelphia, a fact that promp­ted one league mem­ber to joke that he gets caught at all of them every time he tries to go some­where.

Perri gave league mem­bers a run­down of what Streets is do­ing and plans to do.

The de­part­ment is a little be­hind in re­pav­ing pro­jects, Perri said. A reg­u­la­tion that re­quires side­walk ramp con­struc­tion when streets are re­paved has slowed the work and also put a drain on budgets.

Dur­ing the next 15 years, Perri pro­jec­ted, the city will move away from the high-pres­sure so­di­um street­lights and use more LED light­ing.

A goal, he said, is to in­crease the per­cent­age of trash that is re­cycled to at least 25 per­cent. It costs the city $58 per ton to move trash to land­fills, but the city saves that money and, in­stead, brings in $25 per ton for re­fuse that is re­cycled.

“Re­cyc­ling helps keeps taxes down,” he said. “It’s throw­ing money away if [re­cyc­lables] end up in a land­fill.”

In oth­er busi­ness, mem­bers voted to sup­port Aladim Tav­ars’ zon­ing vari­ance ap­plic­a­tion to build an ad­di­tion to his home on the 9800 block of Wal­ley Ave. A zon­ing vari­ance is needed be­cause the ad­di­tion will cut in­to re­quired side-yard set­backs.

Mem­bers de­clined to sup­port Nat­a­lya Bul­gakov’s vari­ance ap­plic­a­tion, which would leg­al­ize a side-yard deck on a single-fam­ily home on the 9900 block of Alicia St. Cur­rent zon­ing doesn’t al­low decks in side yards.

The league’s pres­id­ent, Jack O’Hara, said the Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment has ap­proved vari­ances for a dent­al-im­plant busi­ness on a res­id­en­tial block of 9900 block of Hal­de­man Av­en­ue and a used-car busi­ness on the 9900 block of Bustleton Av­en­ue. The civic or­gan­iz­a­tion over­whelm­ingly op­posed both vari­ances.

The league is us­ing some of its sav­ings to ap­peal the Hal­de­man Av­en­ue de­cision to Com­mon Pleas Court.

City Coun­cil­man Bri­an O’Neill (R-10 dist.) last month gave the league a $2,000 grant, but on May 22, sug­ges­ted the group re­think how it ap­proaches zon­ing ques­tions.

ldquo;There has to be a change of strategy with zon­ing is­sues,” he said.

O’Neill said the group should try to get law­yers to rep­res­ent mem­bers at zon­ing hear­ings either by vo­lun­teer­ing or for small fees. Even when large num­bers of neigh­bors show up to op­pose a vari­ance ap­plic­a­tion, he said, they face an ap­plic­ant who has come with an at­tor­ney.

The league’s next meet­ing will be at 7 p.m. on Wed­nes­day, June 26, at the Amer­ic­an Her­it­age Fed­er­al Cred­it Uni­on on Red Li­on Road. ••

Re­port­er John Loftus can be reached at 215-354-3110 or jloftus@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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