5TH SQUARE WEEKLY NEWSLETTER: MARCH 20, 2018

5th Square's weekly newsletter reaches over 10,000 subscribers with the news, events, and opportunities Philly urbanists need to know about each week. Support our advocacy by becoming a member


ACTION ITEMS 

5th Square is proud to endorse the Good Cause legislation pending before City Council, which was spearheaded by the Philadelphia Tenants Union. This legislation aims to prevent unjust evictions by requiring landlords to provide cause to initiate eviction proceedings. We believe this legislation is a critical first step to ensure that renters—not just homeowners—have housing security and stability in growing neighborhoods. More advocacy is needed to win the vote in City Council, however, so visit the Philadelphia Tenants Union’s campaign page to get involved.

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 be unable to vote for primary candidates. There are lots of great urbanist candidates who are running for the state legislature and party offices this year, some of whom we’ll be endorsing in just a few weeks.


EVENTS

Wednesday, March 21, 7:30 pm
Society Hill Complete Streets Meeting
Society Hill Civic Association will be presenting their "Complete Streets" report at their next general meeting on March 21st at Pennsylvania Hospital’s Zubrow Auditorium (8th and Spruce.) If you live in the area or use the Spruce and Pine bike lanes regularly (apparently one of the topics in the report), please plan to attend and voice your support for protected infrastructure.

Thursday, March 22, 6:00 pm
League of Conservation Voters - 7th Annual Green Gala
LCV is one of the best advocacy organizations in Pennsylvania, and their scorecard of state lawmakers’ environmental voting records is an essential tool for voters—more so than ever this year. RSVP for their 7th Annual Green Gala and help get them the resources they need to elect pro-environment leaders across Pennsylvania in 2018.

Monday, March 26th, 6:30 pm
Upper Northwest District Plan - Second Meeting
The Planning Commission is hosting their second public meeting about the Upper Northwest District Plan, which will make recommendations about housing, land use, transportation, preservation, and more in several Northwest neighborhoods east of the Wissahickon. “Key issues are revitalizing greater Germantown, supporting historic preservation efforts throughout the district, planning for transit-oriented development along the Chestnut Hill East and Chestnut Hill West rail lines and at Wayne Junction Station, improving the pedestrian-oriented Germantown and Chelten commercial corridors, and retrofitting an historically and architecturally significant housing stock to meet the needs of contemporary households.”

Saturday, April 14, 9:00 am
TransportationCamp PHL2018
The TransportationCamp event series is coming to Philadelphia in just a month and tickerts 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

Mayor Jim Kenney announced at this weekend’s Vision Zero conference that he will be rolling out a protected bike lane pilot on JFK Blvd and Market Street this spring. 5th Square applauds this move as a first step toward improving safety for vulnerable street users on JFK and Market. However, we recognize that this will be the second protected bike lane pilot for these streets, and are very concerned to hear this is once again being billed as a temporary move. As such, we will continue to monitor the situation and keep the pressure on Mayor Kenney and Council President Darrell Clarke to make timely and permanent changes to these particular dangerous corridors, and get to work building a legitimate comprehensive bicycle network for the downtown area.

City Council continues to use (and, seemingly, abuse) their free city car, courtesy of Philadelphia taxpayers. Philadelphia is one of three major city councils that provides a free city-owned car for business use. It should come as no surprise that one of the city's most car-obsessed councilmembers, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, clocked the most miles in 2017. Councilmember Blackwell used 1,294 gallons of gas over the last year, which was enough to travel 27,000 miles (or 74 miles per day). In the poorest big city in the country, can we really afford a perk like this? 5th Square calls on the mayor to pull this giveaway from the budget, and supply each Council member with a SEPTA Trailpass and Indego membership. Not only will this give Council a better perspective on how most people travel within the city, but it is the most fiscally responsible option for our already tight city budget.

The Delaware River Waterfront Corp. (DRWC) is looking to improve transit along the river with $200,000 from the William Penn Foundation, and are seeking a consultant to explore ways to boost existing transit options to the waterfront. The area under consideration runs from Oregon Avenue to Allegheny Avenue. SEPTA’s Route 25 bus runs on Delaware Avenue and Columbus Boulevard, and more than 10 other bus routes intersect with or come near those roads. The consultant’s review would be due in late 2018. 5th Square’s new transportation committee is in the early stages of planning a campaign for a more walkable, human-scale Delaware Avenue. If you’re interested in working on this, sign up to get involved on our volunteer sign-up page and select ‘5th Square Transportation Committee.’

While drivers often cite the loss of a car lane as a cause for more congestion on Philly’s already busy streets, it’s actually more likely that adding protected bike lanes would unclog city streets. A major traffic study released in 2014 — after New York had built more than 30 miles of protected bike lanes — found that auto travel speeds in the Central Business District, where several lanes were implemented, remained steady. Travel times even improved on two roads — Columbus Avenue and 8th Avenue, where auto lanes were narrowed to install bike lanes. The safety value is already clear: total traffic-related injuries dropped by 20 percent (2017 saw an all-time low.)



OPPORTUNITIES

5th Square is growing and looking for volunteers to serve on
five new committees: Organizing and Elections, Transportation, YIMBY, Marketing, and Development. If you're interested in getting involved, update your preferences on our sign-up page and we’ll get in touch.

This Wednesday, March 21st, is the deadline to apply for the Spring 2018 class of Citizens Planning Institute

The City is hiring a transit policy planner

Clean Air Council is hiring a policy analyst

Aetna Foundation released an RFP for a ‘Cultivating Healthy Communities” grant



5th Square is Philadelphia's urbanist political action committee.
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