5TH SQUARE WEEKLY NEWSLETTER: October 2, 2018

Petition for Free Election Day SEPTA, Roosevelt Blvd speed cams pass, Delaware Waterfront Transit Study

5th Square's weekly newsletter reaches over 11,000 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, or make a donation to support our advocacy


QUICK ACTION

Sign our petition: Mayor Kenney and SEPTA, make transit free on Election Day! We're running a petition campaign calling on City and SEPTA leaders to join other major cities like Dallas, Houston, Tampa, and the Twin Cities in offering complimentary public transit on Election Day this November 6th. Funding free transit service for the day could help drive turnout and reduce barriers to voting in a critical midterm election for Philadelphia, when the city's interests are on the line in Harrisburg and Washington. Sign the petition, and then share it on social media to help spread the word!

The Roosevelt Boulevard speed camera bill passed! 
Thanks to all the volunteers who made calls to lawmakers at key points in the process, and to the Bicycle Coalition for lobbying in Harrisburg and building support with the Philadelphia delegation. Unless Senator John Sabatina is your representative (the only Philly member to vote against the bill) make a point of sending a quick thank-you note to your Philly State Rep for sticking their neck out to take a tough vote on an important Vision Zero issue. 


EVENTS

Thursday, October 4, 8:00 am
Design Advocacy Group - Future of the Central Schuylkill Riverfronts
James Templeton and George Claflen will discuss DAG’s new collaborative planning process for both banks of the central Schuylkill River. Working with volunteers, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and a specialized consultant, DAG’s goal is to create a set of guidelines and/or zoning overlay document that could be adopted by the City.

Thursday, October 4, 7:30 pm
Running While Female: What Does it Take for a Woman to Run for Office in 2018?
Best-selling author Jo Piazza interviews three women running for local offices in Philadelphia in 2019, Lauren Vidas (2nd District Council), Eryan Santamoor (Council At-Large), and Kay Yu (likely candidate for Court of Common Pleas)

Tuesday, October 9th, 5:30 pm
Philadelphia 2035 Party with the Planning Commission
The Philadelphia City Planning Commission has finished writing all the District plans for Philadelphia 2035, and are hosting a celebration during DesignPhiladelphia week at Moore College.

Tuesday, October 9th OR Wednesday, October 10th, 6:00 pm
Delaware Waterfront Transit Study Presentation
Weigh in on Delaware waterfront transportation issues and how to improve access to waterfront neighborhoods at one of two open houses hosted by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation. 

Friday, October 12th, 8:30 am
The Missing Middle: Meeting the Housing Demand in Walkable Urban Places
Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance hosts an event with Dan Parolek of Opticos Design about the 'Missing Middle' housing types that most cities have zoned out of walkable neighborhoods: compact and clustered home types such as manor houses, multiplexes and live/work units. Philly YIMBY's own Kara Kneidl joins the panel of local voices to discuss ways to make more room for Missing Middle housing types in Philadelphia.


MERCH

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

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NEWS

Dockless electric scooters aren't coming to Philadelphia until 2019. Over the weekend, there were reports of some Lime scooters getting dropped in North Philly, suggesting a launch was imminent. Since then Lime has gone silent, zapping all scooters from the streets. We're here for even more car-free options for getting around, and the introduction of even more small vehicles onto city streets should really force a public conversation about the trade-offs of dedicating the overwhelming majority of our public street space to the biggest space hogs—private cars. 

Rent subsidies are a policy we need. Jake Blumgart interviews Octavia Howell, the author of a new Pew Philadelphia Research Initiative study, who says, “the key housing takeaway is that four out of five low-income households in the city live in private market housing with no rent subsidies... 80 percent of people living in that private housing are devoting at least half their income to housing costs." City Hall hasn't done much of anything to help renters, and even when they have, like in the recent affordable housing package, the focus is on helping them become homeowners. Even worse, the money isn't even all targeted at the lowest-income residents who need it most. The forthcoming Housing Action Plan needs to lay out a clear plan to help renters.

SEPTA wants to spend transit funds on a new parking garage for 337 cars at the 69th Street Transportation Center, at a cost of $92,000 per parking space. A parking garage would be a major waste of transit funding that won't do anything to reduce the ongoing declines in transit ridership, and it would also be a missed opportunity for transit-oriented housing or commercial development on land right next to a busy station. If Upper Darby Township voters or the PPA want to blow money on new parking garages here, that's their prerogative, but SEPTA transit money should get spent on transit infrastructure—not car infrastructure.

The city's best new public space is the Discovery Center, a 37-acre lake in North Philadelphia. This past weekend a 130-year-old man-made piece of city water infrastructure decommissioned since the 1970 opened as the Discovery Center in the Strawberry Mansion part of Fairmount Park, formerly known as the West Basin of the East Park Reservoir. Ashley Hahn recounts how the Discovery Center came to be in this #longread.



OPPORTUNITIES
PennDOT is accepting unsolicited proposals for P3 projects through the end of the year

The Reinvestment Fund is hiring for several positions, including a Director of Government Relations and Director of Human Resources

Community Legal Services is hiring for several positions

Greensgrow is hiring a Finance Specialist

Lime Bike is hiring a Community Affairs Director for Philadelphia 



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.

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