5TH SQUARE WEEKLY NEWSLETTER: JANUARY 30, 2018

ACTION ITEMS 

Run for committeeperson! Want more influence over urbanist issues in your neighborhood, like zoning or public space or safer streets for bikers and pedestrians? Then you should consider running for a committeeperson seat this year. Every four years, the Democratic and Republican Parties hold their party elections, electing two people (committeepeople) to represent each party in each voting division. It takes only 10 signatures to get on the ballot for these positions, and the elections are rarely competitive. But they matter a lot, since the winners will vote on candidate endorsements for state and local offices over the next four-year term, and they have the ear of elected officials on neighborhood issues. Petitions to get on the ballot are coming up on February 13th, so sign up to get involved and we'll reach out with more information about what to do next.

The new Women Led Cities Initiative is coming to Philly on March 23-24 to bring together women from a variety of urban policy fields to establish goals, share information and experiences, and start the conversation about what a women-led Philly could be. Even with recent gains in female representation in fields like architecture and city government, the city has been designed and shaped primarily by men. By bringing women’s voices to the forefront of the urban discussion, the Women Led Cities Initiative aims to achieve a greater level of equity in urban planning and design, and start conversations about developing feminist city policy. This is a mostly volunteer effort, and WLC is looking for organizations and individuals to help sponsor the first conference.

Nominations for 2018 Clean Air Commuter of the Year are now open. Nominate yourself or someone else through March 22nd. The Clean Air Commuter of the Year is an individual who shows the greatest commitment to getting to work sustainably, including regular SEPTA users, bicyclists who brave the icy tundra, carpoolers, and employees who advocate for their companies to become Clean Air Commute Employers. Nominate a Clean Air Commuter today.


EVENTS

Tuesday, January 30th, 7:00 pm
Fair District PA & Committee of 70 on Redistricting
A timely discussion on the current state of Pennsylvania's Congressional districts with Fair Districts PA - Philadelphia and Committee of Seventy following the PA Supreme Court’s decision striking down PA’s map last week.

Thursday, February 1st, 8:00 am
Commerce and PIDC talk Amazon HQ2 at Design Advocacy Group
Design Advocacy Group’s February meeting features an off-the-record discussion with Sylvie Gallier Howard, chief of staff at the Commerce Department, and Anne Nevins of PIDC, two key players behind the City of Philadelphia’s Amazon HQ2 bid.

Thursday, February 15, 6:30 pm
How to run for a committeeperson seat in Philadelphia
Help build power for urbanist causes in your neighborhood by running for committeeperson this year. This is one of the best and easiest ways to have a direct role in influencing the shape of Philadelphia's government, and what candidates your neighborhood endorses in state and local elections. This free training will break down Philly's ward system, walk through what a committeeperson does, how they influence local government, and how to win one of these elections in your neighborhood.

Thursday, March 1, 6:30 pm
Edmund N. Bacon Awards: Honoring Enrique Peñalosa
This event will honor Enrique Peñalosa for his legacy as Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, where he used his position to invest in the City’s marginalized communities; building and reconstructing hundreds of kilometers of sidewalks, bicycle paths, pedestrian streets, greenways, and more than 1,200 parks. Winners of this year’s 2018 Better Philadelphia Challenge will be honored at the ceremony.


NEWS

City Council will consider creating civilian traffic enforcement officers to address the worsening epidemic of pedestrian injuries and fatalities on our streets. Council President Darrell Clarke plans to introduce a resolution Thursday morning that will call for hearings exploring the possibility of creating a new unarmed civilian force as part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative to eliminate pedestrian fatalities and injuries. The civilian officers could issue traffic citations, but would not carry firearms or have the ability to make arrests, allowing the city to address badly-needed traffic enforcement without diverting sworn officers from criminal investigations and enforcement. Council will have to act over the objections of the Fraternal Order of Police, who are already trying to quash the proposal. 5th Square strongly supports this proposal and we’re asking our members to call their Councilmembers to voice their approval.

Council President Darrell Clarke wants to consolidate City Council’s already excessive power over the Philadelphia Land Bank with a new ballot initiative this November. If approved by voters, the changes would allow the Land Bank to more easily acquire vacant, tax-delinquent properties headed for Sheriff’s sale. The Kenney administration is pushing back on Clarke’s bill arguing that the move would reduce city revenues just as the city is staring down a very difficult budget year. The administration also argues that land acquisition isn’t the primary challenge facing the Land Bank, but rather staffing and leadership issues, as well as union negotiations and a slow hiring process that have left the new agency handicapped over much of its first four years.

Councilmembers Jannie Blackwell and Maria Quinones-Sanchez are the first two members to use the new Transit-Oriented Development overlays that Council passed over the summer. The TOD overlay increases allowable density and reduces parking requirements by half, among other things, within 500 feet of a designated transit station, as-of-right, with the goal of increasing transit-accessible housing. IIn an op-ed this week, Sanchez pointed to expanded TOD zoning as one of the tools Philly needs to utilize as part of a more comprehensive housing plan. Blackwell would designate the area around the 46th and Market El station (conveniently encompassing the taxpayer-renovated Provident Mutual Life Insurance Building that was supposed to be the new police HQ), and Sanchez’s bill designates four El station areas in Fishtown and Kensington: Berks, York-Dauphin, Allegheny, and Erie-Torresdale.


OPPORTUNITIES
 
The Lindy Institute at Drexel is hiring a program manager

Montgomery County is hiring a senior transportation planner

Pedestrian advocacy group Feet First Philly is looking for steering committee members

The Trust of Public Land is hiring a Philadelphia program manager

Philadelphia Parks Alliance is hiring a development manager

Drexel's Master of Science in Urban Strategy program is accepting fall applications


5th Square is Philadelphia's urbanist political action committee. We're an all-volunteer grassroots organization advocating for safe and affordable transportation, abundant housing, and more and better public spaces. You’re receiving this email if you signed up via our website, attended one of our events, or supported one of our advocacy campaigns. Our work is made possible by generous, passionate people like you. Support our advocacy with a $5 monthly contribution. 

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