ABOVE PHOTO: (Photo by Adam E. Moreira)
At Thursday’s City Council Meeting, Council voted to make you think twice before you go around that stopped trolley.
By Denise Clay
Sometimes, people in a hurry will go around a SEPTA trolley as it stops to pick up and drop off passengers.
On Thursday, Council passed a resolution that hopes to get the State Legislature to make the decision to go around that stopped trolley a little more costly for motorists.
The City’s legislative body passed a resolution calling on the State Legislature to reevaluate and increase the fines and penalties to those who go around a stopped trolley by a vote of 16-0. Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez was absent from the meeting.
In 2015, 350 people lost their lives in hit and run accidents caused by motorists going around stopped trolleys, said Councilman Curtis Jones, the sponsor of the resolution. Because the current penalties for this behavior don’t appear to be stiff enough to stop it, and it also seems to have spread to other areas, it might be time to make the penalties for not yielding the right of way a little more punitive, Jones said.
“It’s not just trolleys,” Jones said. “I’ve also observed that people don’t yield the right of way to ambulances. There could be someone in there having a heart attack or bleeding out and that could lead to loss of life. When people become desensitized to things like this because there are no real penalties, something has to change.”
So Councilman Jones has reached out to State Rep. Morgan Cephas and State Sen. Vincent Hughes to set in motion the series of hearings that would have to take place to get these stiffer fines inacted.
In other council news, Councilwoman Cherelle Parker introduced a resolution calling on the United States Senate to oppose a measure that would repeal Department of Labor rules that allowed states and large cities to create retirement security plans for private-sector workers. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a resolution scrapping those rules.
Because many Philadelphians lack access to retirement accounts through their jobs and the city has a high rate of poverty, allowing cities to create these accounts is important. Council created a task force on retirement security for private sector employees in Philadelphia earlier this session.
Waiting for the federal government to solve this problem is not an option, Parker said.
“In the absence of a federal solution, states and big cities like Philadelphia and New York City must act now,” she said. “The longer we wait to address the retirement security crisis facing our cities, our states and our country, the greater the burden on governments as they wrestle with the rising cost for social services.”
Also, as part of Council’s Black History Month observation, the legislative body honored a group of journalism and broadcast entertainment legends including Old School 100.3’s Lady B, 6ABC anchor Rick Williams and sports director Ducis Rogers, CBS-3 anchor Ukee Washington and Heshimu Jaramogi, President of Jaramogi Communications, former reporter for WDAS-FM, WHYY-91FM, and Editor-in-Chief of The Neighborhood Leader.