Neighborhood Slow Zones, Meet-and-Greet with Councilwoman Helen Gym, Vision Zero One Year In

5th Square's weekly newsletter reaches nearly 12,000 subscribers with the news, events, action alerts, and opportunities Philly urbanists need to know about each week. Become a member to vote on our 2019 Council endorsements, volunteer on one of our committees, or make a donation to support our advocacy.


What should we ask the 2019 City Council candidates about urban planning issues? 
We're putting together our 2019 Council candidate questionnaire, and we're looking for question ideas from our newsletter subscribers about your top priorities for transit, safer streets for walking and biking, housing and zoning reform, public space, and more. Fill out this short form with your question ideas, and tell us a few of your issue priorities for 2019.

Ask your neighborhood association to apply for a Neighborhood Slow Zone. 
Look up your neighborhood association and tell them you want them to apply for one of the Neighborhood Slow Zones the City will be creating as part of Mayor Kenney's Vision Zero initiative. The Slow Zones will involve a number of traffic calming improvements in a square half-mile of selected neighborhoods. Applications are due by January 18th. Download the application, and email us at [email protected] if you want help applying or organizing support.


Tuesday, October 23rd, 9:30 am
Support 1 Dock Street at the Zoning Board
We need a few volunteers to attend a Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing downtown this morning
and speak in opposition to Society Hill Civic Association's appeal of 1 Dock Street. This is an already-permitted by-right project that would add 273 apartments to one of the city's wealthiest and most notoriously change-resistant neighborhoods. The zoning permit was not issued incorrectly, contra the appeal, and the project is clearly allowed. But some homeowners are pulling out all the stops to try and scare off the applicant, filing an appeal with no legal basis.

Tuesday, October 23rd, 7:00 pm
Cedar Park Zoning Meeting for 51st and Baltimore
Cedar Park Neighbors are hearing a proposal for a 10-unit mixed-use project with a day-care center and a group practitioner as retail tenants. The project comes from Spak Group, who have done a number of other affordable and adaptive reuse projects in West Philly. 

Wednesday, October 24th, 6:30 pm
5th Square General Meeting with Councilwoman Helen Gym
Come to our October General Meeting featuring a special meet-and-greet with Councilwoman Helen Gym! We'll hear from the Councilwoman about her work to date on some of 5th Square's issue priorities like Vision Zero and safer streets for walking and biking, and where she sees opportunities to align with some of our upcoming advocacy priorities this year, particularly on transit.


Get our limited run artist series t-shirt, featuring an original illustration by Kate Otte. 
Proceeds from sales will go to fund our 2019 political activities for City Council races. You can get a shirt at half price ($10 instead of $20) if you become a member, and sign up for a $5 recurring monthly donation



The new Connect transportation plan by oTIS is the first long-range transportation plan by the agency in its existence. For the first time, a set of priorities has been laid out through the next two and seven years in the areas of Vision Zero, transit, complete streets, congestion, and municipal government. While the level of aspiration and scope is measured in light of existing funding levels, it is unknown whether the city will even be able to commit to the longer-term items, after the Kenney administration will long be out of office. A detailed formal response is being drafted by 5th Square, and we'll be looking for opportunities to align with oTIS on our existing advocacy priorities like free transfers and fare reform, a permit parking overhaul, and the bus network redesign and trolley modernization projects. 

The Kenney administration rolled out their one-year report on Vision Zero, the City's campaign to eliminate serious injuries and deaths on city streets. 5th Square praised the administration's continued efforts in this area in the Inquirer, while expressing our impatience with the Mayor's reluctance to spend any political capital on it when the going gets tough. "For his entire term, shovel-ready funded projects have been waiting for the mayor's green light. Time and again — on South Street and Lombard, Pine and Spruce, on 22nd, 10th, and 13th Streets — the mayor has deferred to neighborhood politics, or simply ignored the issues."

We should make SEPTA free for kids 12-and-under, writes 5th Square leader Dena Driscoll, as part of an Inquirer series on radical ideas for improving transportation in Philadelphia. The current fare system makes transit unaffordable for families, and free transit for kids is a necessary step toward reducing sagging ridership. "A family of four traveling round trip using just one bus would be charged upward of $20, $16 if they have the SEPTA Key card. If they need to transfer, it costs an additional $1 on the Key per person. Not to mention the cost of each individual Key card is $4.95 and families cannot use one card to swipe multiple times."

Philadelphia just won a $2 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to support the City's efforts to reduce our contribution to climate change. We hope to see transit expansion become a major focus of this work, as it is one of our best local levers for slashing greenhouse gas emissions. 

As part of CONNECT, the City’s new strategic transportation plan, the City is rolling out a traffic management pilot at 30th Street Station aimed at reducing box-blocking and other bad motorist behaviors. 

The City released a new business plan for Indego bike share

There's a new push for a 9th Street/Italian Market BID, and the organization behind it is asking neighbors to sign up to support the effort

State lawmakers quietly killed a state Constitutional amendment that would have allowed Philadelphia to tax commercial property at a higher rate, and make corresponding cuts to wage and business taxes

The Planning Commission is hiring a City Planner

Azavea is hiring a Project Manager for their Urban Applications Team, and an Urban Forestry Research Assistant

WHYY is hiring a Data Reporter

Ready Willing & Able is hiring an Executive Director

Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is hiring a Marketing and Communications Specialist

SEPTA is having a career fair on Saturday, October 27th
Habitat for Humanity is hiring a Director of Finance

Exit Design and J2 are hiring for several positions including a Creative Director and Business Development professional

Delaware River Waterfront is hiring a Cherry Street Pier Supervisior (seasonal)

Tiny WPA is hiring a Program Manager

America Walks is accepting applicants for Community Change Grants for up to $1,500, due November 2nd

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. Support our advocacy with a recurring monthly contribution of $5.