Instead of celebrating innovative projects from across Pennsylvania, the 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania selected three extraordinary Philadelphia institutions as recipients of their annual Commonwealth Awards: Drexel University, the Philadelphia Water Department and SEPTA. Together, these three organizations are responsible for game-changing smart growth initiatives that make the City of Philadelphia more walkable, sustainable, healthy and equitable.
The Commonwealth Awards are Pennsylvania’s only statewide smart growth awards program, and they reflect 10,000 Friends’ commitment to fostering innovation, creating opportunity and transforming communities. As a recognized authority on responsible land use, 10,000 Friends advocates for policies and investments that create vibrant communities and enhance the quality of life of all Pennsylvanians.
SEPTA received the Community Transportation Excellence Award which honors institutions and projects that promote sustainable communities by increasing transportation options for all and enhancing access to jobs, services, shops, and schools. Community transportation is the strategic linkage between transportation investments and property decisions that facilitate place-based community and economic development. Last year the award was given to the Lancaster County Planning Commission.
SEPTA was honored for public transportation excellence initiatives – including comprehensive infrastructure renewal and capacity enhancement projects, innovative business strategies that emphasize sustainability, and industry-leading safety efforts – that underscore the value and role of community transportation. Joining forces with 10,000 Friends, SEPTA and other statewide transportation partners advocated for passage of Act 89, Pennsylvania’s transformative transportation bill. With dedicated capital funding in place, the Authority can now invest hundreds of millions of dollars annually in tracks, bridges, power substations, safety systems and vehicles.Among their accomplishments under the leadership of General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel.
In addition to preserving and improving existing service, the Authority is committed to smart growth and community transportation long-range planning efforts. SEPTA is collaborating with partners and stakeholders to advance a number regional planning initiatives, like Schuylkill Yards and other key projects, including the King of Prussia Rail project, which will create a rail connection to the region’s third-largest employment center, a proposed extension of the Broad Street Line to the Philadelphia Navy Yard and enhanced bus service on Roosevelt Boulevard as part of the City’s “Route for Change” Program.
Founded by Joanne Denworth, 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania is an organization dedicated to revitalizing cities and towns, reducing sprawl and conserving natural, historic and recreational resources. Rallying other like-minded civic and cultural leaders, 10,000 Friends is a statewide alliance of organizations committed to this importantcause.