Newsletter: 📣 Our Fair Fares Platform 🚇🚍🚆 | April Virtual Meet-Up 🤝 | Improving Public Input During a Pandemic ✋

Weekly Newsletter, Issue 109


🚇🚍🚆 Last week 5th Square released our 2020 Fair Fares Platform and we want you to show your support to help win these important changes when SEPTA votes this May.

We believe SEPTA’s Fare Restructuring Plan is a great first step as proposed, but it needs to go further to build a system that works for riders of all ages and incomes.

“Fair Fares” Recommendations:

  1. Eliminate the Transfer Penalty
  2. Implement Fare Capping
  3. Provide Free Rides for Children
  4. Accept TransPass on Zone 1 Rail

We are also calling on SEPTA to broaden the range of public outreach strategies they're using in addition to the virtual hearings for their Fare Restructuring Plan.

Sign onto our plan today to show your support!


🤝 Virtual Meet-Up This Thursday

5th Square, Philly's urbanist PAC and advocacy organization, hosts a regular monthly meet-up as a way to connect our volunteers, supporters, and new people interested in getting involved.

This Thursday at 6pm, we are hosting a meet-up over Zoom. You can log-in online or dial-in over the phone.

RSVP and we will send you the link!

We will be sharing some updates on:

  • Our new "Fair Fares" Advocacy Platform for SEPTA
  • Our work with the Bicycle Coalition, Clean Air Council, and Feet First Philly on providing more open streets during COVID-19


📋 COVID-19 Travel Survey

Are you still relying on public transit to get to work or meet your needs at this time? 

Transit Forward Philly is circulating a rider survey to help inform plans to keep public transit safe and reliable during today's crisis and in the future


🛣️ Support Open Streets During COVID-19

People need more safe recreation options during the stay-at-home order, and the best way to crowding at public spaces is to designate a lot more car-free space in every neighborhood. We're supporting this petition by Feet First Philly and the Clean Air Council demanding more open streets for pedestrians during the crisis.



In response to news that SEPTA has delayed its planned virtual hearings on their Fare Restructuring plan, we published an opinion piece in the Inquirer outlining ways the transit agency (and other city agencies) can make public input more meaningful and democratic.

SEPTA already needs to practice more varied public outreach strategies for the upcoming bus network redesign and trolley modernization projects, and now is the right time to start testing some alternatives.

Should Philly close more streets to cars during coronavirus? We agree with 5th Square member Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman who says, "The city should act to create a citywide network of car-free streets for exercise and crucial commuting pathways."


"With so many lives on the line, these steps are necessary to prevent even more deaths through needless physical contact, unprotected bikeways, and isolation- and inactivity-induced stress." 


Philadelphia Magazine profiled the most popular politician in Philadelphia: Helen Gym.

In the article, 5th Square chair Dena Driscoll, attributes Gym's popularity to "not caring about what someone in power thinks, but caring about what people on the street think; from people feeling like she has their backs, not Bob Brady’s."

Photograph by Colin Lenton




The Philadelphia Inquirer | SEPTA to get $643 million in federal coronavirus relief aid

The Philadelphia Inquirer | ‘They’re not taking our safety seriously’: SEPTA employees call for greater protections

The Philadelphia Inquirer | SEPTA to start new coronavirus protections, including rear-door boarding and suspension of onboard fare payments



The Philadelphia Inquirer | How do you get tested for the coronavirus in Philly if you don’t have a car? 

The Philadelphia Inquirer | As trail use soars, groups push for opening some Philly streets to just walking, biking

The Philadelphia Inquirer | Coronavirus is a reminder to value parks and public spaces

Westwords | Relieving Pressure on the Schuylkill Banks





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)



Community organizations providing support to our most vulnerable neighbors are facing unprecedented strain on their resources with COVID-19. The PHL COVID-19 Fund will rapidly and equitably deploy solutions and resources to help our nonprofit community navigate near-and longer-term challenges from COVID-19 and ensure that critical resources remain available for those in our community who need it most.

The Philadelphia Emergency Fund for Stabilization of Early Education (PEFSEE) aims to ensure that Philadelphia’s early learning sector can weather the COVID-19 crisis. PEFSEE will provide grant funds to minimize the loss of capacity and expertise in the sector so that children and families continue to have access to high quality early learning opportunities once this crisis has passed.Tiered grant awards of up to $20,000 will be made available to provide immediate relief to eligible organizations with operations located in the city of Philadelphia.

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, five territories, and numerous tribes are working directly with FEMA under President Trump’s March 13, 2020, nationwide emergency declaration for COVID-19. Under this emergency declaration, and subsequent major disaster declarations, certain private non-profit (PNP) organizations are eligible to apply for funding through FEMA’s Public Assistance program. This fact sheet provides guidance for determining the eligibility of PNP applicants and work performed in accordance with the COVID-19 emergency and major disaster declarations.

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.

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)



Center City District | Corporate Partnership Coordinator, Manager of Retail Attraction, Part-Time Staff, Marketing Coordinator

The William Penn Foundation | Program Officer - Creative Communities

Strawberry Mansion Community Development Corporation | Project Coordinator

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

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation | Property & Concessions Manager

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


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.