Newsletter: 🏘️🏡🏚️ Say 'NO' to Council's New Zoning Commission | 💥 SEPTA CHW Line is Returning | 🚲 Grays Ferry Bridge's New Bike Lane

Weekly Newsletter, Issue 136


Council President Darrell Clarke and Republican Councilmember Brian O’Neill are proposing a resolution (#21003800) in City Council TOMORROW that would authorize a council-led Zoning Code Review Commission that could reverse Philadelphia's progress on climate, transportation, and affordability issues if supporters get their way.

Read more about this resolution when it was initially proposed in 2019 from the Inquirer's Inga Saffron or WHYY's Jake Blumgart.

Emma Lee / WHYY

This is an attempt by Clarke and O'Neill—two of Councilmanic Prerogative's biggest supporters—to take even more power from the Mayor and Planing Commission, and rework Philadelphia's zoning code with an outdated vision of our city.

While many other big U.S. cities are increasingly looking to leave behind the legacy of single-family-only zoning, and exclusionary, auto-centric planning, while recognizing the harm these policies have done, especially in communities of color in particular, Council President Clarke and Councilmember O'Neill want to double down on this harmful vision.

Contact your councilmember TODAY and ask them to vote NO on Resolution #21003800.

Here are a few talking points to use when you call:

  • Process: The proposed Zoning Code Review Commission would make recommendations for sweeping changes that should go through the voter-approved Zoning Code Commission, which is more representative of the whole city

  • Timing: It’s important to have Census data and a new Comprehensive Plan before making big changes to the zoning code.

  • Wrong Direction: More and more progressive cities across the country are unraveling their exclusionary zoning laws. The apparent goal of supporters of the Zoning Code Review Commission is to take Philadelphia in the opposite direction.

District 1 (map) - Mark Squilla: [email protected], (215) 686-3458, (215) 686-3459
District 2 (map) - Kenyatta Johnson: [email protected], (215) 686-3412, (215) 686-3413
District 3 (map) - Jamie Gauthier: [email protected], (215) 686-0459, 215-686-0460
District 4 (map) - Curtis Jones, Jr.: [email protected], (215) 686-3416, (215) 686-3417
District 5 (map) - Darrell Clarke (Council President): [email protected], (215) 686-3442, (215) 686-3443
District 6 (map) - Bobby Henon: [email protected], (215) 686-3444, (215) 686-3445
District 7 (map) - Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez: [email protected], (215) 686-3448, (215) 686-3449
District 8 (map) - Cindy Bass: [email protected], (215) 686-3424, (215) 686-3425
District 9 (map) - Cherelle Parker: [email protected], (215) 686-3454, (215) 686-3455
District 10 (map) - Brian O'Neill: brian.o'[email protected], (215) 686-3422, (215) 686-3423

Kendra Brooks: [email protected], (215) 686-3438, (215) 686-3439
Allan Domb: [email protected], (215) 686-3414, (215) 686-3415
Derek Green: [email protected], (215) 686-3450, (215) 686-3451
Katherine Gilmore Richardson: [email protected], (215) 686-0454, (215) 686-0455
Helen Gym: [email protected], (215) 686-3420, (215) 686-3421
David Oh: [email protected], (215) 686-3452, (215) 686-3453
Isaiah Thomas: [email protected], (215) 686-3446, (215) 686-3447



SEPTA announced that the Chestnut Hill West line is restarting on March 7th! Read about this exciting change in Pat Madej's inquirer article.

Service on this important regional rail line has been suspended for nearly a year and has left many riders and us fearing that it would never return.


Our advocacy has made a difference! Together, we're starting to win the argument for a more affordable and accessible regional transit network.

Let's keep this ball rolling! Share our Regional Rail petition and stay tuned for opportunities to advocate for improved rail service in the near future.

Become a 5th Square member to help us keep building political momentum for these changes, and get involved in our transit advocacy work in 2021.

Annual Subscriber, $60 per yearMonthly Subscriber, $5 per monthOne Year of Membership, Starting at $60

In the six months since our petition launched, we

We want to see SEPTA leadership commit to making the necessary infrastructure and operations changes to make the most of these fare changes, and run regional rail trains much more frequently, around every 15 minutes even on evenings and weekends.




PennDOT just finished their work on the Grays Ferry Avenue Bridge and the new westbound protected bike lane looks amazing!

Remember, the original plans by PennDOT had this westbound bike lane unprotected!

Together, we were able to make this roadway safer.

Our joint petition with the Bicycle Coalition for this protected bike lane has garnered over 600 signatures since its publication in 2019. Since then, we got a lot accomplished:

A huge THANK YOU to PennDOT, the Mayor's Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability, the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia, State Reps Jordan Harris and Jim Roebuck, and to the hundreds of petition signers who pressed on and made this significant change happen!

Read about the planned connections to this new path here.



Tuesday, February 23, 1 PM

The Center for Property Tax Reform & 5th Square | REBUILD. REENVISION. REFORM. How a Land Value Tax Would Impact Philadelphia

COVID-19 has impacted everyone from all corners of the globe. However, Philadelphia – already struggling with issues ranging from gentrification, to blight, to regressive taxation – has been dealt a serious blow to its economy and tax base due to the pandemic. Can a simple reimagining of one of the City’s most familiar taxes make a difference to help keep long-time residents in their homes, encourage private investment, and shore up the city's tax base in the time of social distancing and beyond?

Join The Center for Property Tax Reform and 5th Square for a FREE webinar exploring how shifting from the traditional property tax toward a land value tax could be an economic vaccine for the City of Brotherly Love.



Friday, January 29 to Sunday, February 7
BCGP | 20th Annual Bicycle Film Festival

The 20th Anniversary of Bicycle Film Festival is going virtual! BFF Philadelphia includes a Bicycle Film Festival (BFF) Select Shorts Program (90 min runtime) as well as a panel discussion hosted by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

Various Dates & Times through February 17
Turn PA Blue | Winter Speaker Series
Join Turn PA Blue on this winter for weekly sessions on a range of topics, including local races, courts, redistricting, policy updates, data/mapping, and more. These conversations are opportunities to come together to listen, learn, plan, and continue our work for a better future.

Various Dates & Times through February 25
S2A Modular | Webinar: Building Modular Renewable Energy Smart Homes
S2A Modular is conducting a free webinar to teach investors all about modular construction integrated with renewable energy smart home technology. The webinar will break down the differences between the "traditional stick built" method of construction versus the "modular" method.

August 28th and 29th, 2021
East Coast Greenway | New York City-to-Philadelphia Greenway Ride

The East Coast Greenway Alliance’s inaugural New York City-to-Philadelphia Greenway Ride travels from one iconic city to another, with lots of beautiful Garden State greenway in between. The 2-day, 130-mile fundraising ride will feature the iconic greenways of the corridor with on-road stretches of suburbs and small towns in between, all while meeting COVID-19 health and safety protocols.



OTIS Philadelphia | Feedback on Design for Broad, Germantown, & Erie
The City would like to hear your thoughts on the design for public space and traffic safety at Broad, Germantown & Erie! Learn more and send comments by Feb. 14.

BCGP | User Survey about MLK Drive
Tell the Bicycle Coalition about your experience biking, walking or running on MLK Drive.

Philadelphia Office of Sustainability | Philadelphia Climate Action Playbook Public Survey
The following survey will: Ask you to answer questions about how you are personally responding to climate change. Ask you to review each of the three action-areas and provide your thoughts and feedback on how the City is responding to climate change. The survey should take about 5-10 minutes to complete. Responses will remain anonymous.

DVRPC | Focus Groups (paid)
DVRPC plans to hold three 90-minute focus groups using the Zoom video conferencing platform. These will be planned for sometime between now and March 31, 2021. Focus groups will include between six and twelve participants each and will be recorded to create a transcript of the focus group. Video recordings will be expunged 90 days after recording. Participants will receive a stipend of $50 based on attendance at an assigned focus group.







The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities | State Policy Fellowship Program
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is seeking applicants for the State Policy Fellowship Program to work on budget and public policy issues affecting low- and moderate-income communities and communities of color. (Due 2/19)

Navy Yard Workforce Development Initiatives and West Philadelphia Skills Initiative | Grounds Maintenance Laborer Program
WPSI and NYWDI are launching their first collaborative professional development program to train West and South Philadelphia residents for permanent, full-time, quality-wage careers. Four Seasons Total Landscaping is the first employer partner at the Navy Yard to participate in the program and it will offer opportunities for graduates to interview for laborer positions starting at $14/hour. (Due 2/5)



City of Philadelphia | Vision Zero Communications Manager

City of Philadelphia | Rebuild Communications Director

Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson | Design Architect

Philly Transit Riders Union | Full-Time Organizer

Delaware River Port Authority | Sr. Engineer

17 Asset Management | Investment Manager

Witty Gritty | Community Engagement Coordinator

Looney Ricks Kiss | Architectural Designer 1 / Entry Level Philadelphia

City of Philadelphia | City Energy Manager

United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey | Lead, Community Resiliency

Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance | Development Director (Full Time)

Riverfront North Partnership | Stewardship Manager

ACHIEVEability | 60th St. Small Business Manager

DBi Services, LLC | Senior Project Operations Manager

Go Green Initiative | Program Manager, Student Initiatives

Fairmount Park Conservancy | Controller

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.