Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities Releases 5-Year Accomplishment Report

Report highlights improved infrastructure, sustainability practices, increased safety and grant money won.

Philadelphia, October 22, 2013 – The Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) released a report on the progress and accomplishments of the office during the past five years. The office, led by Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler, is charged with building a shared vision and coordinating decision-making among the energy and utility sectors as well as transportation and infrastructure sectors in order to save money and improve conditions throughout the City. Mayor Michael A. Nutter established MOTU after he assumed office in 2008.

“Because of this team’s great work during the past five years, the City has benefited from more than $90 million in grant funds to support our infrastructure. Philadelphians now have a better integrated transportation system that boasts new bridges, improved traffic signals and an expanded bike lane network,” said Mayor Nutter. “The City is a national model for green infrastructure. Philadelphia International Airport is embarking on a multi-billion expansion, and our strategic energy procurement program means that more of tax dollars are invested in City programs instead of utility bills.”

Among the highlights in the report are:
•Since 2008, five new airlines have announced service at Philadelphia International Airport and six new non-stop destinations have been added.
•In 2011, the Philadelphia Water Department and the Energy Office unveiled a 250-kilowatt, 1,000 panel solar system at the South East Water Pollution Control Plant, which provides reliable power directly to the facility.
•Traffic lights at approximately 2,400 intersections were retimed and more than 400 pedestrian countdown signals were installed since 2008. Crashes involving pedestrians are down 10 percent between 2008 and 2012.
•MOTU has helped secure more than $45 million in federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants for Philadelphia.

Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler noted, “Our office has made it safer to drive, bike and walk in Philadelphia. We have helped rewrite the guidelines for building city streets and we have forged lasting partnerships between a multitude of transportation agencies. This work can only be done because our office is set up to reach out across departments, across agendas and across constituencies. It is this coordinated vision which makes sure that the next generation of streets can manage stormwater and are safe whether you are a bicyclist, a driver or a pedestrian. It is this coordinated vision which helps invest more than $30 million dollars in traffic signals and buses to speed up transit service. And it is this coordinated vision which is helping build the airport of the future, one that will be a powerful engine of economic development.”

For five years, MOTU has improved transportation options so that Philadelphians can get wherever they are going, whether by foot, bike, car or transit. The office ensures that Philadelphia’s water, electricity and gas systems are of the highest caliber and that the City manages its energy use cost effectively. Working with partners from across government and the private and non-profit sectors, MOTU makes sure that the investments and plans that affect the city’s infrastructure are done with a shared vision of increased mobility and sustainability.

Mayor Nutter said, “The Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities is a professional, pragmatic and innovative part of City government. I could not be prouder of what the office has accomplished in the past five years and hope that MOTU has helped to pave the way for a more efficient and effective City government.

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City of Philadelphia Provides Update on Bike Sharing in Philadelphia

Philadelphia, August 22, 2013 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler announced the completion of the Philadelphia Bike Share Strategic Business Plan and the release of a Request for Expressions of Interest to host or sponsor bike share stations.

The Philadelphia Bike Share Strategic Business Plan proposes an operationally viable and self-supporting size and scope for bike sharing in Philadelphia. Bike sharing is quickly becoming an integral part of transportation networks in cities around the country and around the world.  Implementing a top-quality system is imperative as Philadelphia strives to improve its status as a city of choice.

“This past Monday, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s editorial board wrote that bike sharing is just what the city needs and I couldn’t agree more.  This is a rare opportunity where $3 million City capital budget dollars can be leveraged with millions more of state and federal transportation funds and private funds to create a new form of convenient, affordable and healthy public transportation,” said Mayor Nutter.

The program is expected to have a capital cost between $10-15 million, which will be raised from state and federal transportation grants as well as private sponsors.  This system is not anticipated to require any public operating subsidy.

In Philadelphia, the plan calls for a system of 150 to 200 bike sharing stations and 1,500 to 2,000 bikes that will serve an area that stretches from the Delaware River into West Philadelphia, from the Navy Yard through Center City to beyond Temple University’s main campus in North Philadelphia. The system is projected to generate nearly two million trips per year by residents, commuters, students and visitors.

Bike sharing helps connect residents, commuters and visitors to more of Philadelphia’s businesses, institutions and attractions and provides a clear benefit to the hosts of stations as well as the thousands of users expected each day.  Bike sharing will be another incentive to choose Philadelphia as a place to live, to work and enjoy.  It can also provide a healthy and affordable transportation alternative to a diverse group of City residents.

“We’ve seen bike sharing work amazingly well in other cities, but we know that we have to tailor our system to meet the needs of Philadelphians, which is why I’m asking everyone to take some time to think about where they’d like to see bike sharing in their neighborhoods or workplaces,” said Deputy Mayor Cutler, as she urged Philadelphians to go to www.phila.gov/bikeshare and put their preferred bike share locations on the map.

“I’ve been impressed with the seriousness with which the City is approaching launching a bike sharing system. I expect the system will be operationally self-sufficient and leverage a small City investment to have a large impact,” said Robert Victor Comcast’s Senior Vice President of Strategic and Financial Planning.

Businesses and property owners who recognize the advantages of being linked directly to this new system at their locations are urged to respond to the City’s request for letters of interest. These non-binding expressions of interest will serve a valuable function in helping the City plan for implementation and of a world class bike sharing system to Philadelphia. The City is looking for partners at several levels:

  • Station sponsors: Businesses, property owners and institutions who decide to underwrite stations on or near their property will be assured placement when the system rolls out in late summer 2014.
  • Station hosts: Property owners willing to locate bike sharing stations on or near their property will be considered for deployment in the early stages of bike sharing.

Hosts and sponsors will be indemnified from all liability by the system operator who will manage and operate the system.  The City will be releasing an RFP for a firm to perform this service in the early fall.

Many of the major real estate holders in the city have already confirmed their intention to support bike sharing stations.  According to Jerry Sweeney, CEO of Brandywine Property Trust, “Sponsoring and hosting a bike sharing stations at the Cira Centre and our other properties in Philadelphia is an obvious business decision. Property owners who are serious about providing transportation options and quality amenities to their tenants are going to support bike share.”

Bill Hankowsky, CEO of Liberty Property Trust commented, “Bike Sharing is an exciting program that is already creating a new dynamism in some of the world’s greatest cities. Many of our tenants from The Navy Yard to Comcast Center have embraced bike commuting and many more are poised to take advantage of this new transportation option.”

“For our students, faculty and staff, bikes share is sure to become an important transportation option, which is why we expect Penn to be home to several stations,” said Penn Vice President for Business Services Marie Witt.

GlaxoSmithKline enthusiastically supports efforts to bring a world-class bike sharing system to Philadelphia.  “Bike sharing is a natural fit for the city and GSK, as it is completely in line with our goal of building healthy communities everywhere we work and live,” said Michael Fleming, Head, Corporate Engagement.  “An accessible, easy-to-use bike sharing program will greatly enhance transportation choices for residents, students, workers and visitors to our area. These improvements will certainly benefit our employees, and we look forward to working with the City of Philadelphia to finalize the details of a bike sharing station installation that can support the growing, thriving healthy community at The Navy Yard.”

“A community bike sharing could transform not only how people travel in Philadelphia, but also how they exercise and stay well,” said Independence Blue Cross President and CEO, Daniel J. Hilferty. “For example, for people struggling with depression or obesity, taking active transportation — by riding a bike through a bike sharing system — could help tackle these important health challenges.”

“We believe that Bike Sharing in Philadelphia has a unique opportunity to bring an inexpensive and flexible form of transportation to the people that really need that.  More than half of all Philadelphians who live below the poverty line will live within walking distance of a bike share station. The Bicycle Coalition is committed to helping the City reach out into the communities and help make sure that nobody is left out from this great new form of transportation,” said Alex Doty, Executive Director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

Russell Meddin of Bike Share Philadelphia and member of the Bike Share Advisory Group said, “The progress made by the City and the Bike Share Advisory Group has positioned Philadelphia to truly have a chance at creating one of the most innovative bike share programs in the United States. Now is the time for Philadelphia’s businesses and institutions to partner with the City in this 21st century endeavor.”

Information on how to recommend a bike sharing site for your neighborhood, and how to become a station host or sponsor for a bike sharing station can be found at the City of Philadelphia’s website www.phila.gov/bikeshare, which will be the home for all official information on bike sharing in Philadelphia.

The Business Plan was completed by Toole Design and Four Square Integrated Transportation Planning in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and a business advisory group from the private sector including representatives from Comcast, Glaxo Smith Klein, Independence Blue Cross, Liberty Properties Trust and the University of Pennsylvania.  Funding for this effort was provided by the William Penn Foundation.

Philadelphia Named America’s Most Bikable Large City

Philadelphia, December 21, 2012 – The website www.walkscore.com, in collaboration with researchers at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia, announced this week that Philadelphia ranks as the ninth most bikeable city United States and the best city for biking with a population more than one million. The rankings are based on four factors: bike lanes; hills; destinations and road connectivity; and bike commuting mode share.

 

“I am pleased to see Philadelphia recognized as among the nation’s most bikable cities,” said Michael A. Nutter.  “The work of the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities to coordinate agencies across City government has led to major strides in making biking a safe and convenient option for traveling around Philadelphia,” Nutter continued.

 

More than two percent of Philadelphians bike to work according to the 2011 Census Bureau’s American Communities Survey, this is a full percentage point higher than the next American City with a population more than one million; Chicago.  The Census Bureau data also ranks Center City Philadelphia and South Philadelphia as among the top twenty five biking neighborhoods in the United States.

 

In the past five years the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities and Streets Department efforts have significantly expanded bike infrastructure in high demand and key employment areas including Center City, University City and around Temple University. In 2010, the City was awarded a $17.2 million US Department of Transportation TIGER Grant to fill critical gaps in the regions biking and walking trail network. By the end of 2013, nearly five and half miles will be added to the trail network knitting together a more that 50 mile network of cycling and walking trails, with a focus on the ability of the trails to be used for transportation.  By the end of 2014, the City expects to complete another five trail projects creating more than ten miles of new trail that leverage the existing network.

“We have been working hard for five years to make Philadelphia easier to get around, however you travel. The latest survey shows that our efforts are working. Perhaps most importantly, our streets and trails have never been safer for cycling, with bike commuting up by 150 percent since the year 2000 and the number of accidents involving cyclists down 50 percent,” said Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler.

ship in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, and it was a pilot site for a city-wide effort to employ more women and minority contractors in public projects.  Site-specific artwork was commissioned for inclusion in the PJJSC as part of the City’s ‘Percent for Art’ program.  Two Philadelphia-based painters were chosen to decorate the lobby, the community room and the second-floor waiting area.  A documentary by Greenhouse Media featuring the artists’ creative process will be displayed in the building.

 

 

More than 15 City departments, agencies and programs are affiliated with the PJJSC, and major tenants of the facility will include the Department of Human Services, the Juvenile Justice Division, Family Court, the School District of Philadelphia, the District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender Association, and the Department of Public Property Facilities Division.

Philadelphia Streets Department Recognized for Innovative Practices

Philadelphia, April 18, 2012 – The City of Philadelphia Streets Department has been recognized for “innovative community and government initiatives” by the Corbett Administration for the implementation of BigBelly Solar compacting litter baskets and recycling containers. The baskets have saved the City a million dollars in annual costs by reducing the trash collection rate per trash can from an average 17 times per week to 2.5 times per week. The award was part of the 16th Annual Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence, which were presented on April 17th, 2012.

“I commend the Streets Department on the installation of BigBelly Solar litter baskets, which have been both an economic and sustainable benefit to Philadelphia,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “I congratulate Commissioner Clarena I.W. Tolson, Deputy Commissioner Carlton Williams and the rest of the department on this great recognition.”

Beginning in April of 2009, the Streets Department replaced litter baskets with nearly 900 BigBelly solar-powered compacting litter baskets and more than 400 public recycling containers. The new technology has allowed for a dramatic increase in collection efficiency. The recycling containers mark the first time that Philadelphia has on-street public recycling, keeping approximately 23.5 tons per month of recyclable materials out of the trash stream.

“The Streets Department is proud to be using this innovative technology and to embrace ideas like Big Belly, ideas that save money and natural resources,” said Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson. “We would like to thank Governor Corbett and the Department of Community and Economic Development for recognizing our ongoing measures to support Mayor Nutter’s commitment to advancing recycling and sustainability. The use of Big Bellies allowed for the introduction of public space recycling to the City for the very first time. This is one more important step towards achieving the City’s sustainability goals.”

Since December 2009, the Streets Department has installed BigBelly units with recyclers outside of Center City. Most of these have been installed in 12 commercial corridors throughout Philadelphia. Funding for BigBelly Solar baskets has come from Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development, the City of Philadelphia Commerce Department, Cleaning and Streetscape project grants and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-EECGB grants. # # #

Mayor Nutter Announces Completion of Manayunk Canal Towpath Renovation Project

Philadelphia, February 23, 2012 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced the completion of $645,000 in renovations to the Manayunk Canal Towpath. The project was funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the City of Philadelphia. The Manayunk Canal Towpath is a key linkage in Fairmount Park’s multi-use recreational trail system. It is also part of the larger Schuylkill River Trail, which will ultimately connect Philadelphia to Pottsville in Schuylkill County via a multi-use trail extending the entire length of the river—a distance of approximately 130 miles.

“The improvement and beautification of our trails and natural lands are vital to the livability of the city” said Mayor Nutter. “The renovated Manayunk Canal Towpath will benefit thousands of cyclists, joggers, runners and pedestrians who rely on a safe and functional recreational trail network. I would like to thank the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for their support of this project.”

The project includes restoration of 2.2 miles of trail with crushed stone on path, improvements to drainage, gateways, re-decking/repairing four bridges, fencing for safety of trail users, paving approaches to bridges and boardwalks with porous paving for stormwater management, bollards and gates, new retaining wall construction at the Leverington Avenue parking lot and tree removal.

“The trail helps keep children and youth safe, active, and healthy by connecting them to the park and the natural world along the Manayunk Canal and the Schuylkill River” said Michael DiBerardinis, Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources. “The collaborative approach used on this project represents a new way of working at Parks & Recreation; leveraging partnerships and community engagement to create and accomplish bold and innovative projects”

“I can’t emphasize enough the importance of the partnerships that led to the completion of this project,” said DCNR Deputy Secretary John Giordano. “Like many of our projects across Philadelphia, the teaming together of the city, the state and regional organizations are what made this project possible.”

The Manayunk Canal Towpath is one of several capital projects underway in Manayunk:

  • The Philadelphia Water Department’s Lower Venice Island project, which will include a brand new multi-million dollar performing arts center to be managed by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.
  • A joint project between Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Philadelphia Water Department, which will restore flow to the Manayunk Canal.
  • A federally funded (TIGER) trail project, sponsored by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, constructing a new portion of Schuylkill River Trail from Shawmont Avenue to Port Royal Avenue and widening the existing trail from Port Royal Avenue to the Montgomery County line.

Mayor Nutter, U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announce $10 Million TIGER Grant for Philadelphia

Philadelphia, December 15, 2011 –Mayor Michael A. Nutter, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler announced that Philadelphia will receive a $10 million TIGER grant. This money will be used for the IMPaCT Philadelphia Project—Improving Mobility for Pedestrians, Cars and Transit. The project’s goals are to reduce congestion for transit and cars as well as improve reliability along capacity constrained arterials in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. It will also provide benefits in the form of reduced vehicle emissions and reduced fuel consumption.

“I am excited and thankful that the Secretary LaHood and the Obama Administration have granted Philadelphia $10 million to invest in its neighborhoods,” said Mayor Nutter. “The money for these upgrades will improve the commutes for 92,000 drivers, transit riders and pedestrians. Reinvesting in and maintaining our infrastructure is key to improving Philadelphia. The Administration understands that cities and municipalities cannot wait for Congress to get the job done.”

Secretary LaHood said, “The overwhelming demand for these grants clearly shows that communities across the country can’t afford to wait any longer for Congress to put Americans to work building the transportation projects that are critical to our economic future. That’s why we’ve taken action to get these grants out the door quickly, and that is why we will continue to ask Congress to make the targeted investments we need to create jobs, repair our nation’s transportation systems, better serve the traveling public and our nation’s businesses, factories and farms, and make sure our economy continues to grow.”

IMPaCT Philadelphia is a cooperative effort between the City of Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, Philadelphia Streets Department, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. Improvements will take place along transit corridors in Northeast Philadelphia and West Philadelphia.

“We have a fabulous team of partners who over the past few years has successfully brought tens of millions of dollars of competitive grant funds to Philadelphia. Today is one more win for Philly.”

The project will upgrade nearly 100 existing traffic controllers to solid state controllers and connect them through fiber-optic cable. It will also provide infrastructure for the transit signal prioritization, which will extend the green light when a bus or trolley is detected. Other intersection improvements include ADA ramp upgrades, pedestrian countdown signals and improvements in safety and access for pedestrians and people with disabilities.

TIGER grants are awarded to transportation projects that have a significant national or regional impact. Projects are chosen for their ability to contribute to the long-term economic competitiveness of the nation, improve the condition of existing transportation facilities and systems, increase energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improve the safety of U.S. transportation facilities and enhance the quality of living and working environments of communities through increased transportation choices and connections. The Department also gives priority to projects that are expected to create and preserve jobs quickly and stimulate increases in economic activity.

The continuing demand for TIGER grants highlights the need for further investment in the nation’s transportation infrastructure that could be provided by President Obama’s American Jobs Act. The American Jobs Act would provide $50 billion to improve 150,000 miles of road, replace 4,000 miles of track, and restore 150 miles of runways, creating jobs for American workers and building a safer, more efficient transportation network. It would also provide $10 billion for the creation of a bipartisan National Infrastructure bank.

Rina Cutler Named 2011 Public Works Leader of the Year by American City and County Magazine

Philadelphia, September 15, 2011 – Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Public Utilities Rina Cutler has been named the 2011 Public Works Leader of the Year by Penton’s American City and County Magazine. This award is given annually to those who demonstrate outstanding leadership in public works. Deputy Mayor Cutler has been instrumental in the completion of the South Street Bridge, the expansion of Philadelphia’s green infrastructure, the addition of bike lanes, and the increase in recycling rates, according to the magazine’s release.

“I could not be more proud of Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “The City is lucky to have such a knowledgeable, visionary and passionate individual leading Philadelphia’s transportation, infrastructure and greening efforts. Deputy Mayor Cutler understands how to get things done. She has helped transform Philadelphia into a more beautiful city while reducing costs and improving efficiency in her departments.”

Deputy Mayor Cutler added, “I am honored to be recognized as the Public Works Leader of the year by American City and County Magazine. The work we are doing to make Philadelphia a more livable, sustainable and economically dynamic city would not be possible without the leadership of Mayor Nutter, our Streets and Water commissioners, our Airport CEO and the tireless work of thousands of City employees. We have done some amazing work in the last several years including the South Street Bridge, a strong focus on green infrastructure, expanding the bike lane network, launching an airport capacity enhancement program and a spectacular gateway mural at the Philadelphia International Airport. We will continue to work hard at being innovative and meeting the needs of Philadelphians.”

Deputy Mayor Cutler was appointed to the job by Mayor Michael Nutter in March, 2008. She is responsible for the coordination and oversight of all transportation functions in the City of Philadelphia. In addition, Ms. Cutler oversees the operations of a variety of City agencies including the Streets Department, the Philadelphia Water Department, the Philadelphia International Airport, and the City’s interests with a variety of transportation agencies including SEPTA, the Philadelphia Parking Authority, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority.

Prior to returning to Philadelphia, Ms. Cutler was the Deputy Secretary for Administration at PennDOT since 2003. In addition, Ms. Cutler served for almost 2 years as the Acting District Executive at PennDOT for the 5 county Philadelphia region. Her prior experience includes Transportation Commissioner for the City of Boston, the Director of Parking and Traffic for the City of San Francisco and the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

The subscribers of American City & County submit nominations for the Public Works Leader of the Year Award. The magazine’s editorial staff selects the award’s recipient each year.

American City & County has been the voice of state and local governments since 1909. The magazine serves a nationwide audience of city, county and state officials who are charged with developing and implementing local government policy, programs, and projects. American City & County is published monthly by Penton. For more information about the magazine, visit http://www.americancityandcounty.com