Two weeks ago Philadelphia regional rail commuters, a large group to which I belonged for a number of years, experienced a week from hell. On 2 July a yard inspector for Septa, the Philadelphia region’s transit agency, discovered a Silverliner V railcar tilting. For those not familiar with Septa, the Silverliner Vs have been in service for only three years and have been long touted as the future of the Philadelphia commuter rail service. After inspection Septa discovered the tilting railcar suffered from a fatigue crack on the equaliser beam, specifically where it was welded to connect to the wheel bearings. The beam forms part of the truck, which is what connects the railcar to the rails, and any failure at speed could have resulted in an accident, possibly a derailment. The transit agency then quickly inspected the remainder of its fleet of 120 Silverliner Vs. It found the same fatigue crack in a total of 115 cars. By 4 July, Septa pulled all 120 Silverliner Vs from service.
So what happened? At this point, we do not know. Septa continues tests to discover just what happened and just what can be done to repair the cars. Because, with a fleet of approximately 400 cars, the Silverliner Vs represent 1/3 of the fleet. And with fewer seats and fewer trains, commuters attempting to ride into the city, particularly from nearer-in suburbs, find trains bypassing stations because they quickly reach capacity.
Consequently, Septa has instituted a reduced service—a modification of the Saturday service—with additional service on subways and other high-speed lines. Additionally, Septa has agreed to lease additional trainsets, i.e. locomotives with passenger cars, from other regional transit agencies: Amtrak, New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit), and the Maryland Area Regional Commuter Train Service (MARC).
Last week Philadelphia became the first large US city to introduce a soda tax. (Berkeley introduced one a few years ago, but is 1/10 the size of Philly.) The Guardian has a really nice write-up on how the tax was sold not on health benefits, but of civic benefits to the education system. But the article made me wonder if somebody had published a map looking at obesity in Philadelphia. Turns out Philadelphia Magazine published an article with just such a map from another source, RTI International. (You can find the full interactive map here.)
The map has three views, one of which allows you to see areas of statistically significant clustering. North and West Philly had some bright red clusters, whereas the western suburbs, in particular along the Main Line have some very cold blues.
So last week I mentioned Pennsyltucky in my blog post about Pennsylvania’s forthcoming importance in the election. And then on Friday I shared a humourous illustrated map of Pennsylvania that led into an article on Pennsyltucky. But where exactly is it?
Luckily for you, I spent a good chunk of my weekend trying to find some data on Pennsylvania and taking a look at it. You can see and read the results over on a separate page of mine.
You may remember my post from Wednesday talking about the likely importance of Pennsylvania in the forthcoming election. I referenced an article from Philadelphia Magazine, which opened with a great map of Pennsylvania. I find the map very much worth sharing, especially on a Friday. I love the island life.
Take note of the other island off to the east, it is another good one on which I have spent many a years of my life. But, yes, anything generally west of the straits is a very, very different experience.
For those not from Philadelphia, you might not know the Pope is visiting the city in September for a global conference of sorts. While that is great news for the followers and believers, it means absolute hell for the other residents of the city. So finally the security map has been published, detailing just where vehicles can go and where inspections will be held.
But the best—or worst—part was that for several weeks there was no public knowledge of just what would happen. And that meant maps like the one below were produced. Personally, I think this one would be a lot more fun.
Credit for the real one goes to the graphics department of philly.com.
Credit for the more awesomer one goes to B. Wrenn.
Happy Friday, everyone. To help you waste some of your time today, here is a link to a set of maps of various cities. The twist? They are judgmental. So here is the map of Philadelphia. Though, to judge this piece, it looks more like it is a map of Jersey than Philly.
Today’s interactive piece comes from Axis Philly and it looks at the total amount of rainfall in Philadelphia (1990–2013) to find both which months and what time of day receive the most rainfall.
As it turns out, evenings in the summer months receive the most rainfall. And since 1990, the most rain has fallen between 19.00 and 20.00 in July. A nice complementary piece would have been a small graphic showing total distribution of rain over the months, without segregating the data into hourly chunks. But again, that would have been a nice complement to the piece as it is far from necessary.
Credit for the piece goes to Jeff Frankl, Casey Thomas, and Julia Bergman.
Once when I worked at the Jersey shore as a kid a woman purchased her books and then asked me the location of the nearest ATM. I replied “Wawa”. She looked at me as if what I said was gobbledy-gook. She asked again. I replied “Wawa” again but with probably a look of confusion upon my face. It turned out she was from California and she thought I was mentally ill. I did not understand how anyone did not or could not know about the awesomeness of Wawa.
But for all of my upbringing in the Philadelphia suburbs/South Jersey loyalty to Wawa, I must confess to an unfortunate divide in Pennsylvania between we civilised folks near Philly and, well, the rest of the state. We in the Philadelphia metropolitan area are loyal to Wawa. The rest of the state swears allegiance to Sheetz. But how stark is this geographic loyalty? The New York Times mapped store locations with Wawa in blue and Sheetz in red to accompany an article about the “tribal loyalties” to the two chains.
For those more curious about this author’s loyalties, the author of the article, Trip Gabriel, included photos by Mark Makela of one of my local Wawas (the one near Malvern at 202 and 29 for my hometown readers) as the main image for the article along with photos of interiors in West Chester. And of course the Wawas where I grew up: