5TH SQUARE WEEKLY NEWSLETTER: April 3, 2018

Spruce and Pine Bike Lane Meetings, Call Council for Good Cause, TransportationCamp

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ACTION ITEMS 

Mayor Jim Kenney’s transportation team is hosting TWO public meetings about safety changes on Spruce and Pine on April 4th and 5th. Streets and OTIS are considering safety improvements to the city’s most popular bike routes as part of repaving this year, like moving the bike lane to the left-hand side, but they aren’t considering any new protected bike infrastructure—despite having federal funding in-hand for protected bike lanes. RSVP and demand that Mayor Kenney install protected bike lanes THIS YEAR as part of this repaving project!

The May 15th primary is approaching fast, and there’s less than a month left to update your voter registration. Make sure to register with a party before the deadline. If you do not, you will not be to vote for any primary candidates. There are lots of great urbanist candidates who are running for office this year, some of whom we’ll be endorsing in just a few weeks.


EVENTS

Tuesday, April 3, 9:00 am
Call to action: Call City Council in support of Good Cause!
Over three thousand eviction filings have been made in Philly since the beginning of 2018, and 70% of evictions are of women of color. We are facing an eviction crisis, and we need your help to stop it! Bill no. 170854, "Good Cause", would prevent evictions without a legitimate reason, and we need to swarm City Council with calls to let them know: Philadelphia needs Good Cause Eviction Legislation! Councilmembers to call and a call script are provided on this Facebook event.

Wednesday, April 4, 5:30 pm
Spruce Street Human-Protected Bike Line
The Kenney administration is hosting two public meetings about Spruce and Pine safety improvements, and a few 5th Square volunteers are organizing a “human protected bike lane” outside the event to draw attention to the need for protected lanes. It’s time for the Kenney administration to take their own "safety first" rhetoric on Vision Zero seriously and prioritize safety for all over double-parking privileges for a few.

Thursday April 12, 6:00pm
Reviving Vine: Improving Multimodal Connection on Vine Street
Join DVRPC, PCDC, and Philadelphia OTIS at an Open House to shape the future of Vine Street Local. Reviving Vine will evaluate options to increase neighborhood connections through multimodal, inclusive mobility improvements in and along the Vine Street corridor. This open house is an informal way for residents and visitors to engage with the planning team and provide input into future bicycle, pedestrian and roadway improvements. A children's activity will be available.

Saturday, April 14, 9:00 am
TransportationCamp PHL 2018
The TransportationCamp series is coming to Philadelphia in just a month and tickets are going fast. TransportationCamp follows an “unconference” format of participant-created sessions, which leads to a more participatory and active event. Whether you work in transportation or simply have an interest, come prepared for an exciting day of ideas situated at the intersection of transportation, technology, and urbanism.


NEWS

SEPTA officials released an economic impact study that frames the transit agency as a critical cog in the region’s economy. The study, prepared by Econsult Solutions, argues that Southeastern Pennsylvania is the Commonwealth’s economic engine. Nearly a third of the state’s population lives in the region, generating 41 percent of Pennsylvania’s economic activity on just five percent of its land. And without SEPTA, the report asserts, that engine would grind to a halt. SEPTA faces two major funding challenges in the coming years: maintaining the existing system and expanding it to meet future needs. The passage of Act 89 in 2013 raised Pennsylvania fuel taxes to pay for increased infrastructure spending, boosting SEPTA's annual capital funds and helping SEPTA make necessary improvements. Even if SEPTA manages to maintain its capital budget though, the transit agency won’t be able to maintain increasing rail ridership trends without money to expand service. While bus ridership has declined significantly in recent years, ridership on SEPTA’s trains and trolleys has gone up.

The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board calls on elected officials to get serious about managing our streets, backing up recent report about congestion by Center City District. That report provided a concise guide to the issues contributing to congestion, all of which stem from fragmented decision-making, and a failure on the part of electeds to prioritize space for anything that isn't single-occupancy vehicles. As the editorial board points out, these obstacles also slow down bus trips to the point that people are driven off the buses as a main mode of transport—a likely contributor to our falling bus ridership. 

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University and other institutions who studied Stockholm’s congestion-pricing scheme found that the policy cut air pollution in the city center and reduced childhood asthma cases by nearly 50 percent. The study — which according to the authors is the first to investigate a possible link between congestion pricing and health — comes as more jurisdictions in the United States are exploring similar strategies to reduce traffic in city centers or on commuter highways. Sweden’s plan to tax vehicles heading into the city center generated outrage — at first anyway, Streetsblog.org has reported. The city first conducted a seven-month experiment with congestion pricing from January to July 2006; in August 2007, the tax became permanent. The city began charging vehicles $2.60 to drive downtown during the regular workweek. As traffic declined, so did air pollution. The amount of nitrogen dioxide in the air declined by nearly 8 percent; the amount of soot and other particulate matter declined by about 15 percent, the study says.



OPPORTUNITIES

CultureWorks is looking for a director for their Consulting program

Philadelphia Parks Alliance is hiring a community outreach manager

Next City Vanguard applications are open

Fairmount Park Conservancy is hiring a Director of Capital Projects

The Central Philadelphia Development Corporation (affiliated with Center City District) is hiring a Marketing Coordinator, responsible for “coordinating marketing and events in CCD-managed parks and public spaces” like Cret Park, Sister Cities Park. Collins Park and Dilworth Park



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