Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dilworth Park monitored Day of Skateboarding intended to 'get it out of the system'

Though not a cloud in the sky, the sun-soaked gray New Hampshire granite in new Dilwoth Park was damp. Not from an earlier passing shower. Not from the popular dancing fountains. Not from a spilled beverage purchased from busy Rosa Blanca Cafe. No, this was from a small group of mesmerized skateboarders drooling uncontrollably with anticipation and excitement...oh, and staring...intently. "I come here everyday and just stare," said Dylan Eversby, 16, a Pennsport native with skateboard in hand. "It would be pretty rad to skate these glass bastards." The young skater was referring to the swooping glass transit head houses in the park which frame the iconic City Hall to the east. Though skateboarding is against the rules in Dilworth Park, a skateboarder hopping the stainless steel railing barrier and tackling the halfpipe-esque transit entrances seemed inevitable. For this reason, the park decided to hold a "Day of Skating." The goal, according to park officials, was to offer a controlled, supervised one-day-only of skating the five-layer glass to "scratch the itch and put the urge to bed." All participating skaters--there were hundreds--said the event more than satisfied the desire that started with the park's opening in September. "It was awesome, what a day, but I totally get it was a onetime deal...I respect that," said one skater.

Police: Frein played paintball at popular, crowded Pocono course several times during 48-day manhunt

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Capella University to shelf new online music school: A Capella University

The world's first online a cappella music school will be shut down at the conclusion of the fall semester. Low enrollment and complaints of "jam sessions feeling way too distant" are behind the closure.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ba-Bye week: NFL to move bye week to the off-season

"[The NFL is] not getting rid of the bye week," said one league source. "We're just moving it to April or May... which will be much better for television networks. This will go a long way in preventing head injuries to the network execs banging their heads against their desks over ratings concerns."

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Schuylkill River Boardwalk: By the Numbers

The Schuylkill River Boardwalk opened on Thursday, stretching north from the South Street Bridge to Locust Street. The impressive, nearly two-fifths-mile long walkway is the latest segment of the Schuylkill River Trail, part of the region's rapidly growing trail network. Below is a look at the $18M "floating multi-use trail" by the numbers:

--5 inches: The depth of river water covering the new walkway at each high tide--a design element intended to "help clean the decking daily."

--1,794 ft: The height--due to gentle turns--of the 2,000 ft-long boardwalk if stood on its end vertically.

--8: The number of construction workers experiencing sharp abdominal pain after surfacing from spending hours deep below the river waterline in the foundation caissons. The inexplicable agony would later be named caissons disease, or, the bends. The project manager, who also experienced severe discomfort, oversaw much of the construction from a top-floor apartment in Locust on the Park, which overlooks the boardwalk site.

--27,349,112: The number of scores over the length of the concrete surface...made using the end of a half-inch diameter oak tree branch found along the banks of the river.

--9 minutes: Time required for the trail solar-powered drawbridge to fully open giving boaters access to the portion of the river cut off by the boardwalk. Watercraft up to fifteen feet wide can pass through the opening.

--17: Hardhats washed away during a major May 2014 flood.

--16: Hardhats washed ashore Cape May, NJ, beaches.

--1: Hardhat washed ashore Stone Harbor, NJ beach.

--857 ft: The length of the moving sidewalk portion of the boardwalk. Recycled from PHL International Airport, the moving sidewalk--which will change direction every ten minutes--catapults runners, walkers, and cyclists past those on the adjacent static concrete.

--11 inches: Maximum depth of ice covering the tidal Schuylkill River during the harsh 2014 winter. The ice acted as a staging area, supporting cranes, cement trucks, and concrete construction supplies through early April.

--0 seconds: Time required to water the flora in each of the stainless steel hanging planters mounted on the non-trail side of the galvanized metal railings.

--45 degrees: Thirteen degrees above freezing. Also, the slope of the South Street Bridge access ramp.

--450,000 psi: Pressure each overlook bench is designed to withstand.

--2: number of CSX-controlled access gates at opposite ends of the boardwalk. The gates will automatically close "whenever a train is within fifty miles" or "whenever CSX feels like it."

Monday, October 6, 2014

Jefferson Station: An emotional renaming

On September 4, 2014, Market East Station officially became Jefferson Station, named for the hospital a few blocks to the south. Below are a few reactions by local residents to the renaming:

--"Well, in addition to being a prominent colonial-era physician, [Thomas Jefferson] was a huge rail enthusiast--so it makes a lot of sense."

--"Seriously, get the &*$# out of here? No more Market East? Well I'll be damned!"

--"I'm not much of a transit person. I thought you needed directions somewhere."

--"They're really going to spend all that money changing all the signs, maps, and getting the conductors to say, 'Next stop, Jefferson Station?' I don't know."

--"[Thomas] Jefferson gave a lot of speeches from the caboose of trains. I think the renaming is a great thing and a great honor. Oh, and please bring back the caboose, SEPTA. I want to stare at your caboose, SEPTA."

--"Just when I thought SEPTA couldn't do anything dumber and idiotic, they go and pull a stunt like this...And totally redeem themselves."

--"It's a mistake. Total mistake. Jefferson was the guy behind the North and South having different rail gauges. He masterminded the whole thing."

--"He was the third president, and Market East is the third downtown station when headed east. So..."

--"I always knew something like this would happen."

--"Instead of a Quiet Car, there should be a Flu Shot Car. Oh, yes, I said that."