Caroline Tiger for Democratic Committee Person in Ward 2, Division 15 (Queen Village)
Bio: Caroline Tiger has lived in Queen Village for nearly ten years. She and her husband have a daughter in 2nd grade at the William M. Meredith School and a son who will enter kindergarten there next year. Caroline is interested in how design shapes cities, and she wrote frequently on the topic during her years as a design writer and journalist for publications including Metropolis, Dwell and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She currently directs content and communications for a design and innovation consultancy in Center City. Caroline sits on DesignPhiladelphia’s Steering Committee as well as on the Queen Village Neighborhood Association's Schools & Youth Committee, which advocates for all young people in the neighborhood. A few years ago, she co-founded Spells Writing Lab, which provides free writing workshops to school-aged kids in Philadelphia. Caroline is also on Philly United for Progress' Elections Committee, which works toward educating voters, ensuring fair elections, and maximizing voter turnout. She is a candidate for Committee Person in Ward 2/Division 15.
1. What street in your neighborhood is most in need of improved conditions for pedestrians and people on bikes? What would you do as committeeperson to make it better?
I’d love to see more streets with bike lanes or even protected bike lanes where appropriate. The bike share stations are a great addition to Queen Village, but people on bikes need to be better protected.
As a human but especially as a parent, I'm concerned about dangerous intersections. Cars too often roll through Stop signs, and we have little kids crossing streets who are in danger of being rolled right over. The intersection of 5th and Passyunk is especially problematic and is right outside one of our neighborhood public schools. Drivers are confused when the two streets merge/cross and they don’t pay attention to pedestrians, many of them school children, who are crossing at that intersection. I would love to see a strategy employed here like the one that was achieved at 23rd and South.
As committee person I would canvass my constituents first to understand their specific concerns regarding these issues, and I would advocate for them with our councilperson and other party officials. I would facilitate two-way communication and work with both sides to come up with creative solutions.
2. What street, public space, or building in your neighborhood has the best urbanism? What makes this space successful, however you define that?
There are several, but I'd choose Weccacoe Playground for the top of the list, because it is accessible, free, and has facilities for different groups, from kids (playground) to adults (tennis court and community center). It’s where people gather organically and enjoy spontaneous meetings. It’s where you can view our village at work - parents offering to watch others' kids if they need to run home to grab a forgotten item. Different groups of kids from different schools and sides of the neighborhood meet and play together. QVNA holds meetings in the community center, which is also a venue for neighborhood kids' birthday parties and after school clubs for our neighborhood schools. It’s a place that’s “always replete with new improvisations,” to quote Jane Jacobs!
Mario Lanza Park is another terrific urban space. The small, gracious city park is frequently activated by events - church picnics, birthday parties, fitness classes, movie night, and music nights -- and it acts as everyone's backyard and meeting spot. It is loved and tended to by its neighbors. Unlike Weccacoe there is no fence - it is truly open and free to enter for all.
The little streets in our neighborhood are also special and successful -- Beck, Pemberton, Kauffman, Fulton come to mind. These are streets that allow cars but are essentially pedestrian spaces, where kids ride bikes and run into and out of each others’ houses, where neighbors chat and stoop sit! Because of the human scale of these streets, cars know they must always be looking for pedestrian activity and slow down accordingly. I’d love to see traffic-calming measures on more streets to create similarly energized, less car-focused spaces.
3. How would you use this neighborhood leadership position to advance urbanist political causes in Philadelphia?
I would aim to be the facilitator of two-way communication between my neighbors and our political reps. I plan to listen first and then advocate on issues that are important to my constituents based on their feedback. I think it’s also important to listen to all the groups who have already been working on these issues. I’m not an expert in all things but I do consider myself an expert in asking questions (I’m a former journalist!); in synchronizing a broad range of opinions, research, and advice; and in communicating effectively.