Newsletter: 🚨 Tell Congress to Save Transit 🚨 | 📮 Sign Up to Vote by Mail | 🚴🏽🏃🏿 MLK Drive Open to the People

Weekly Newsletter, Issue 108

As millions follow public health leaders' and elected officials’ directions and stay home from work and school, public transportation ridership is plummeting. Combined with increased costs for additional cleaning and with the economy quickly coming to a halt, transit is facing an economic apocalypse—unless Congress decides to make it a priority in their proposed economic stimulus.

5th Square has signed onto Transportation for America's letter urging Congress to provide $13 billion in emergency funding for public transportation to stave off service cuts and job layoffs, and preserve service for the future.


👉👉👉 Contact your US Senators and House Representative and tell them to save public transportation. (Transportation for America has an easy email tool to do this.)

Further Reading: 


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, all registered PA voters can request a mail-in ballot for any reason.

Registered voters can apply for a mail-in ballot online with a valid PA driver's license or photo I.D. from the PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

Apply Online for a Mail-In Ballot

The request must be accepted by the elections office by April 21st.


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 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.


Thanks to the advocacy of the Bicycle Coalition, Philadelphia announced one thing that was actually opening during this unfolding crisis: MLK Drive to pedestrians and cyclists -- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!  

This much-needed space for outdoor recreation within the parameters social distancing is crucial to maintaining our sanity after so much time at home.

The move also garnered national attention as a model to be copied nationwide. 

Which road should be open to pedestrians and cyclists next?


The Philadelphia Inquirer | Ticket taking, Key card scanning: Coronavirus prompts SEPTA to reinforce best practices on Regional Rail

WHYY | Coronavirus shutdown prompts SEPTA to reduce Regional Rail, city transit

The Philadelphia Inquirer | In need of $1 billion, Amtrak cuts management pay as it faces ‘unprecedented’ ridership loss



The Philadelphia Inquirer | Philadelphia has endured plagues before. It adapted and became a better place. | Inga Saffron

The Philadelphia Inquirer | If coronavirus cases surge in Philadelphia, city wants to use shuttered Hahnemann property

WHYY | Breathe in: Air pollution in Philly right now is at one of its lowest levels

PennIUR | Cities’ Climate Infrastructure Financing: Urgency of Reform






Passyunk Square Civic Association | Board of Directors (Due 4/3)


The Building Hero Training Program is Tiny WPA's community design leadership initiative in which 14-75 year olds have an opportunity to hone their design, building, leadership, and entrepreneurial skills through learning how to make six different products for their homes and completing one building-oriented service project for a local non-profit. Participants learn how to use a broad scope of tools, including laser and vinyl cutters, the table saw, wood finishing tools and Adobe Illustrator design software. This is a unique opportunity that will take your full commitment and dedication. With lots of hard work, you will be able to make some pretty awesome things when you're done. (Due 3/29)

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) Fellowship Program provides a unique experience in urban and regional planning to serve in various departments at the Commission over the course of a year. (Due 4/17)



The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is issuing this Request for Proposal (RFP) to enter into a three (3) year contract with a qualified Consultant to assist SEPTA in creating a new network-based, ridership-driven surface transit network for the Comprehensive Bus Network Redesign (CBNR) project.

The application period for the 2020 AARP Community Challenge is open! The AARP Community Challenge provides small grants to fund "quick-action" projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages. Applications are being accepted for projects to improve housing, transportation, public space, technology ("smart cities"), civic engagement and more. (Due 4/1)

DVRPC's Competitive Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) seeks to fund transportation projects that will improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion in the DVRPC Region. CMAQ eligible projects will demonstrably reduce air pollution emissions and help the DVRPC region meet the federal health based air quality standards. (Due 5/29)

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.



SEPTA | Manager of Planning Programs (Managing the Comprehensive Bus Network Redesign !!!)

Community Design Collaborative | Executive Director 

JEVS Human Services | Careerlink at Suburban Station | Youth Navigator

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia | Communications Manager

City of Philadelphia | Department of Commerce Director of Data - Office of Economic Opportunity

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation | Property & Concessions Manager

The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability | Senior Energy Management Analyst

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health | Public Policy Advisor

The Pew Charitable Trusts | Senior Officer, Pew Fund in Philadelphia

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


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

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