Newsletter: 🚇 March Meet-Up & City Transit Plan | 🏞️ Cobbs Creek Pkwy Progress | 🚃 SEPTA's Use of Covid Funding

Weekly Newsletter, Issue 139

At our March meet-up, we are honored to host special guests from the Mayor's Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, & Sustainability:

  • Chris Puchalsky, Director of Policy & Strategic Initiatives
  • Andrew Simpson, Transit Policy Planner

They will introduce us to the new Philadelphia Transit Plan which details a vision for our region’s transit system going forward to 2045.

5th Square is excited about this new plan which calls for investments and policy changes that prioritize transit reliability, mobility, and equity, while reducing our region’s contribution to climate change through reduced car usage and powering the region’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

Read more about the new transit plan and 5th Square's response:



Following multiple vehicle-related deaths on Cobbs Creek Parkway in the summer of 2020, a large community outcry, city-wide media attention, and our petition calling for immediate safety measures -- elected representatives responded by coordinating improvements to this perennially dangerous roadway with PennDOT and the Streets Department.

Among a slew of improvements that came late last year was a pilot program of Speed Tables near Catharine Street, the site of a recent pedestrian death.

This is the first time PennDOT has ever placed a speed table along a state route, and at a community meeting last week, they showed that this traffic calming measure is a resounding success.

According to PennDOT's study, the speed tables successfully reduced average speeds by over 15 mph, and saw instances of dangerous speeding diminish from 19% of vehicles pre-treatment to 0.5%.

The speed tables were such a success, that PennDOT is now looking to triple the amount of speed tables and make them more effective by removing the space in between them.

We are elated to hear that these engineering changes have been so effective at curbing dangerous speeding. These improvements will undoubtedly save lives and could not have come soon enough.

Help us advocate for more of these life-saving improvements by joining us as a member!

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



5th Square volunteers were in the news speaking at SEPTA's March Board Meeting against their use of $40 million of federal COVID relief funds, which is meant to go toward operations and short-term covid-related needs, to instead fund design and engineering work for King of Prussia rail.

Our volunteer Dan Trubman was quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer and WHYY's PlanPhilly speaking about this on our behalf.

CARES Act money was intended to “ensure essential workers were able to safely commute during this crisis, not so SEPTA can extend engineering and design-work contracts,” said Daniel Trubman, a transit rider and member of the 5th Square advocacy group. He said the money should be used to increase the frequency of service to alleviate crowding on some bus and trolley routes, to provide free masks, and for continued operations.



Wednesday, March 3 & 10, 10 AM
FitCityPHL, AARP, PHMC | Design for Humanity: Reimagining Trauma-Informed Practice, Power, and Process in Pursuit of a Just Future
This two-part virtual series will explore trauma-informed practice and how elements can be useful to the work of designers, planners, public health professionals, and those supporting community development.

Thursday, March 4, 1 PM - 2 PM
Reinvestment Fund | Arnie Graf on “Lessons Learned: Stories from a Lifetime of Organizing”
Arnie Graf, a community organizer for over 50 years, discuss his new book with John Summers, an accomplished litigator and former Reinvestment Fund Board Chair. The conversation will explore themes from Graf’s book and how they connect to the current politics of what is happening in our country.

Wednesday, March 10, 6 PM
Athenaeum of Philadelphia | Design and the Just City with Toni Griffin
Would we design better places if we put the values of equality, inclusion or equity first? If a community articulated what it stood for, what it believed in, what it aspired to be — as a city, as a neighborhood — would it have a better chance of creating and sustaining more healthy, vibrant place with positive, economic, health, civic, cultural and environmental conditions?

Thursday, March 11, 7 PM
5th Square | March Monthly Meet-Up & City Transit Plan Introduction
Join us for our March meet-up where we will be discussing the new City Transit Plan with guests from the Mayor's Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, & Sustainability.

Monday, March 22 to Friday, March 26
BCGP | Vision Zero PHL Week Program

Philadelphia's Vision Zero Conference is going online this year and will be a week (March 22-26) of individual sessions, each day tailored to a different topic, with some amazing keynote speakers.






The PIDC-D’Alessio Scholarship Fund supports graduate students at Philadelphia schools seeking to pursue a career in urban development and finance (Due 3/31)

WPSI is recruiting across Philadelphia for no cost CDL training and job opportunities as a SEPTA Bus Operator. Deadline is Tuesday, March 2nd at 5pm.

Spring 2021 Citizens Planning Institute Application - CPI’s main programming is an eight-week course that empowers citizens to take a more effective and active role in shaping the future of their neighborhoods and of Philadelphia through a greater understanding of city planning and the steps involved in development projects. Deadline to apply: midnight on Friday, March 19.



The Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia | Refugee Legacies Project Manager

City of Philadelphia | Special Aide to the Mayor

Pennsylvania Environmental Council | Events and Administration Coordinator

Research for Action | Qualitative/Policy/Mixed Methods Researcher

The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education | Individual Giving Manager

Bellevue Strategies, LLC | Senior Communications Associate

YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School | Senior Director of Engagement & Retention

PMHCC, Inc. | Assistant to Executive Director

Friends of the Rail Park | Public Program Manager

Azavea | User Experience Designer, Business Development Associate

Re:Vision Architecture | Sustainability Coordinator

Tri-State Transportation Campaign | Executive Director

Philadelphia Housing Development Corp. | Assistant Program Manager

Amazon Logistics (AMZL) Team | Sr. Program Manager, Real Estate Entitlements

Cesium | Customer Success Engineer, Smart Construction

Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse | Visitor Services Assistants

New Jersey Future | Communications Specialist

Connect the Dots | Community Engagement & Communications Associate

Drexel University | Sr Multi-Media & Tech Specialist


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

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