Newsletter: 🌟 Free Shirt Offer - 13 More Members to Go! 👕| 🚉 Tell SEPTA: Restore Service & Lower Fares on Regional Rail | 🌊 Big Waterfront Win | ☎️ Call Pat Toomey to Advocate for Transit

Weekly Newsletter, Issue 121


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🚉 PETITION FOR SEPTA: Restore Service & Lower Fares on Regional Rail

In response to stories of dangerous overcrowding on buses or riders being denied entry due to capacity limits -- coupled with nearly-empty Regional Rail trains -- 5th Square is launching its latest petition asking SEPTA to take advantage of its Regional Rail network for the benefit of working Philadelphians.

Tell SEPTA to bring back the Chestnut Hill West and Cynwyd Regional Rail lines, and make Regional Rail affordable for transit riders!

A diagram of SEPTA's rail network in Philadelphia. Regional Rail should be seamlessly integrated with SEPTA's transit modes

SEPTA can quickly increase its capacity to serve working Philadelphians by opening its vast and underutilized Regional Rail network during an unprecedented time.

These changes would give Philadelphia transit riders the room to socially distance while also rebuilding ridership on otherwise nearly-empty Regional Rail trains. These changes would also break down long-standing barriers between transit and regional rail -- finally enabling riders to use SEPTA as an integrated network.

Sign our petition asking SEPTA to enact these changes today for the benefit of all working Philadelphians!



After our successful Transit Funding Talk with Senator Bob Casey on Tuesday, we are sharing the urgent ask to contact Senator Pat Toomey to demand that he vote to include $32 billion in relief funding for transit.

We are sharing this easy email tool by the American Public Transportation Association, so you can do the same!  

Alternatively, you can also text "SIGN CLCIZU" to "50409" to send this message to the Senator quickly from your cell phone.

Want to talk to a human? Call Toomey's Philly office at (215) 241-1090

Quick Talking Points:

  • Public transit revenue has cratered during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • This shortfall will mean fare hikes, service cuts, and shutdowns.
  • Congress needs to invest $32 billion to address the projected shortfall.
  • Public transit is the engine that drives the US economy.
  • Without a fully operational transit system that people can rely on to get to work, school, dining, shopping, and health care, there is no economic recovery.



Read our transit funding piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer!  As Congress negotiates the next big coronavirus relief package, it is clearer than ever that a sustained investment in Pennsylvania’s public transit systems, including SEPTA, is absolutely vital to our region’s recovery.


In our article, we call on Congress to step up and provide PA transit agencies with the emergency relief they need -- $32 billion for transit in the HEROES Act.


For WHYY's PlanPhilly, 5th Square's Ben She lays out how SEPTA can keep riders safe from COVID while investing in the system's future through better service.

  • More frequent transit in off-peak hours
  • Red-carpet bus lanes
  • Update signage & wayfinding
  • Unlock the potential of Regional Rail
Matt Rourke/AP Photo




Philadelphia’s zoning board sided with local residents, public space advocates, and mobility activists like us and rejected developer Bart Blatstein’s proposal for a suburban-style Super Wawa gas station along South Philadelphia’s Delaware River waterfront.

Thank you to all who turned out to zoning meetings last year and submitted comments supporting a walkable, mixed-use future for the Delaware River waterfront.



Sam Ozer, 17, Nadir Nafis Holloman Jr., 18, and William Lindsay, 32 are all names the safe street community know well by now.  All cyclists killed within 30 days on our untamed roads where motorists feel comfortable breaking the speed limit, and can do so with impunity.

William Lindsay (Photo via Lauri Webber)

In the spring, we joined with our partners at the Bicycle Coalition and Clean Air Council to come up with a Recovery Streets plan to tame these streets to suit our times. The City has largely been ignoring our asks and this is the tragic result.

The Bicycle Coalition has put out calls to make these streets safer, and a well-attended Solidarity Ride has spotlighted this issue.  Now is the time for the city to act before more are killed needlessly.



If you'll forgive us for getting sappy for a second, we want to amplify AL DÍA's celebration of Yocasta Lora, Associate State Director of Advocacy & Community Outreach for AARP Pennsylvania, in their upcoming 40 Under Forty event, showcasing of the most diverse and impactful young professionals in various fields of work across the Philadelphia region.

Photo Courtesy of Yocasta Lora.

Yocasta has been a crucial leader and partner in state and local coalitions we work with in support of Vision Zero and transit advocacy, and she also brought together the coalition behind the Kenney administration's excellent new Livable Communities Action Plan that was announced last week. She is one of the true MVPs of Philadelphia's built environment advocacy community, and it's great to see her get some well-deserved recognition!





The New York Times | Disability Pride: The High Expectations of a New Generation

The Philadelphia Inquirer | ‘We are not expendable’: Solidarity ride will honor killed cyclists, call for greater protections

Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia | Bill Allowing Parking Protected Bike Lanes On Hold Until PA Senate Returns

The Philadelphia Inquirer | How many preventable deaths will it take for Philly to care about bicycle safety? | Opinion



TheHill | Desegregation is the key to thriving suburbs

The Conversation | Why urban density is good for health – even during a pandemic

Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia | Groups Call For Action on the Wissahickon Gateway Trail

The Philadelphia Inquirer | Plans reveal Hilco’s intent to reshape Philadelphia refinery landscape




Multimodal Transportation Fund

Multimodal Transportation Fund grants up to $3,000,000 are available for projects with a total cost of $100,000 or more. Funds may be used for the development, rehabilitation and enhancement of transportation assets to existing communities, streetscape, lighting, sidewalk enhancement, pedestrian safety, connectivity of transportation assets and transit-oriented development. Submissions are due September 30, 2020.

Philly Counts | Summer of Census Program

Philly Counts is launching their Summer of Census program, the final and urgent push for Census participation in Philly. They are seeking volunteers in our district (Mantua, Walnut Hill, and Garden Court) to distribute door hangers and information. We hope to support Philly Counts' work to get a complete and accurate count in the 2020 Census, which will ensure Philadelphia gets the resources we are owed. This volunteer opportunity will not require face-to-face interaction. Sign up at



Montgomery County, PA | Election Communications and Voter Education Manager

The Office of Councilmember Helen Gym | Legislative Aide

Arts + Business Council for Greater Philadelphia | Programs Manager, Creative Community Leadership Development

The City of Philadelphia | The Office of Director of Finance | COVID 19 Recovery and Grants Management Coordinator

The Education Law Center | Policy Director

CeaseFirePA | Campaign Organizer - Philadelphia

Arts + Business Council for Greater Philadelphia | Programs Manager, Creative Community Leadership Development

Ian Smith Design Group LLC | Architect/Designer II

The Barnes Foundation | Director of Marketing and Social Media

Broad Street Ministry | Covid-19 Prevention Site Residential Tech

Benefits Data Trust (BDT) | Director of Policy

The Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management | Emergency Management Liaison Officer

Clean Air Council | Transportation Outreach Coordinator

The Hope Center for College, Community and Justice, at Temple University | Director of Communications

Community Design Collaborative | Executive Director

WHYY PlanPhilly | Reporter


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. 

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