Out of an abundance of caution, 5th Square is indefinitely postponing all our scheduled events and meet-ups. Thank you for your interest and we hope to resume these meetings soon!
VOTE BY MAIL
While many of us are spending more time at home, here's one way we can still participate in local politics: vote from home in the upcoming election. With the recent changes to PA election law, any registered PA voter can request a mail-in ballot for any reason: either online here (if you have a valid Pennsylvania ID), or by mail from your county's election office. The request must be accepted by the elections office by April 21st.
FILL OUT THE CENSUS
Filling out the Census is another civic function everybody can all do from home. Every household should get a mailing from the Census Bureau this month (if you haven't gotten it already) with instructions. You can do it online at my2020census.gov (website available in 13 languages) or by phone. There's concern that the pandemic will result in an undercount, and therefore underfunding and underrepresentation, so please remind your all your friends and neighbors to fill it out.
5TH SQUARE IN THE NEWS
In an article about our region's transit network seeing a dip in ridership due to coronavirus, 5th Square chair Dena Driscoll weighed in on ways the transportation system can support with the social distancing the pandemic requires.
For those able, Driscoll said, now might be the time to consider alternative forms of transportation, such as walking and biking, to prevent overcrowding on public transportation.
She offered suggestions to help systems run efficiently, such as closing certain streets for bikes or buses that could see supplemental service. The method could almost work like a snow emergency route, she said.
“We could leave the space for people who really need it,” she said.
The week before SEPTA's Fare Restructuring Plan announcement, we published an op-ed in the Inquirer, "SEPTA transfer fees are an outdated, burdensome penalty on Philadelphians" making the case against charging $1 for transfers. Not only is the policy inequitable, but it works against SEPTA's goals of increasing accessibility of the whole network.
5th Square is part of a new 10-member coalition of organizations organizing transit riders for improvements to the system, and a fairer, more rider-friendly fare system. Read all about Transit Forward Philly coalition and what we hope to accomplish this year.
South Philly Review writes about the safe injection site controversy, and the politics of siting this important resource for fighting addiction. West Passyunk Neighbors Association President and 5th Square member James Gitto was quoted in the article saying the city should stick to the official zoning process when considering such a facility.
Gitto, perhaps uniquely, approaches the subject from a zoning perspective. In Philadelphia, for example, somebody who wants to open an auto repair center can do so without community approval so long as the plot of land they plan to open on is already zoned for it. These are referred to as “by right” projects. This, Gitto argues, is effectively what Safehouse was doing at the Constitution Health Plaza – opening a medical facility in a building that’s already been zoned for it. Therefore, no community approval should be necessary.
“It sets a bad precedent to force community meetings for projects that are by right,” he said. “It makes the zoning code pointless.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer |
Passyunk Square Civic Association | Board of Directors (Due 4/3)
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Serve Philadelphia is holding its Civic Engagement Academy. The Civic Engagement Academy is about inspiring local community change through training and skills development.
SEPTA Citizen Advisory Committee - Membership Application - this group is made up of transit riders representing Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties. There are currently a number of vacant positions and we are seeking transit riders, from across the SEPTA service region to apply to become a CAC member.
PWD’s Soak It Up Adoption program. This grant-based green stormwater infrastructure (‘GSI’) monitoring and engagement program is actively seeking new partners for 2020. The bottom line is that civics and nonprofits who are eligible can receive small, annual grants to care for constructed GSI within their borders. The program is built upon a two-prong approach of weekly GSI site visits, and reporting, as well as community engagement.
Women’s Community Revitalization Project (WCRP) | Organizing Director
TRA | Project Analyst
South Kensington Community Partners | Greening Programs Coordinator
The City of Philadelphia's Department of Commerce | Director of Business Development - Strategic Technology Initiatives
Theatre Philadelphia | Executive Director
Riverfront North Partnership | Greenway Stewardship Assistant
West Philadelphia Skills Initiative | SEPTA - Bus Operator Program
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