Newsletter: 💸 Reject Cuts to the Parking Tax / 🖼️ Ben Franklin Pkwy Revamp / 🏘️ Affordable Units Approved for West Philly

Weekly Newsletter, Issue 149

As part of budget negotiations currently underway, City Council is considering whether or not to give away $130 million of our federal stimulus money to parking garage owners by dramatically slashing the parking industry tax.

Send a message to Council to vote ‘NO’ to this regressive bill (#210442) at their meeting on Tuesday, June 8th.

Ryan Briggs at WHYY wrote about this call to action by us, other progressive groups, and several city councilmembers. The article features an interview with 5th Square organizer Dan Trubman who talks about how expensive this tax cut would be.

“There’s no guarantee the dollars will improve working conditions of parking lot and garage employees. And it’s a fabulously expensive way to do it,” Trubman said, citing reports estimating that there are about 1,000 lot employees citywide. “They could send every attendant $25,000 every year for the next five years, and it would still be cheaper than this.”


A major redesign of Ben Franklin Parkway is proceeding with three finalists selected to develop plans for its overhaul. Philadelphia's Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability is promising "a livable, walkable Parkway for all" and reimagined pedestrian connections.

Emma Lee/WHYY

Help us advocate for a safer, more walkable Ben Franklin Parkway 👉 Attend the project's “Parkway Ideas Workshop” in-person and virtually on the Art Museum Steps this Wednesday, June 9th at 6 PM. In-person space is limited, so RSVP today.

WHYY's Ryan Briggs interviews 5th Square's co-chair, Dena Driscoll, who expresses our desire for the City to actually follow through with its goals to make the roadway safe for all its users and a true world-class destination.

“We have seen how quickly the open streets project on MLK was returned to car drivers, revoking access from Philadelphians longing for safer and people-focused streets,” she said. “We need to put the ‘park’ back on the Ben Franklin Parkway and prioritize people over car traffic.”

It is high time our city reclaims the current outdated and deadly traffic sewer that funnels cars from the suburbs into Center City, and we look forward to seeing the designs presented by these firms.


5th Square is relieved that the Zoning Board of Adjustment granted the variance request for the proposed apartment building at 48th and Chester.

The housing shortage and lack of housing affordability are serious issues confronting our city, as prices continue to rise due to a lack of inventory and restrictive zoning requirements — something especially true in neighborhoods well served by public transportation.

Much more needs to be done to ensure that every Philadelphian has a secure and affordable place to call home, but this will require a comprehensive and holistic policy from City government and City Council, beyond a reactive project-by-project process that generates more heat than light.

5th Square also acknowledges the concerns of many neighbors who came out in opposition to this project. While our solutions may differ, we are all united in our shared values to tackle the tough challenges of housing affordability, climate change, and traffic violence. It is our hope that we collaboratively and respectfully work together going forward to solve these region-wide issues.

Support a more livable and sustainable city by becoming a 5th Square member TODAY!

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Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Transit for All PA! // Rally Planning Meeting

All are welcome who want to help us plan for our big statewide rally in Harrisburg on June 29th. We're bringing transit riders and workers together from all across PA and there's a lot of things to plan out - speakers, talking points, press strategy, communications, artwork! If you believe transit is a human right, and you have skills to share, we need you on this planning call!

Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Transit for All PA! 6/29 Harrisburg Rally

Transit riders and workers won't stand for another round of service cuts, fare hikes, and layoffs! We are organizing with riders and workers from all across Pennsylvania to build a grassroots vision for expanding transit in our state - and we need you!

Hosted by the Philadelphia Transit Riders Union, Pittsburghers for Public Transit, the Amalgamated Transit Union Joint Conference Board, 5th Square and Transit Forward Philadelphia.

Saturday, July 24, 2021
TransportationCamp PHL 2021 Summer Gathering

The TCPHL21 team is pleased to be hosting an optional extension of the conference — the TCPHL 2021 Summer Gathering. The gathering will be an opportunity for TransportationCamp participants to interact with one another in an in-person setting, accounting for the improved global pandemic conditions. Additional details will be shared in the coming weeks, but you can expect a day of fun urban exploration with fellow TransportationCamp participants, concluding with a happy hour in the afternoon.


Lower Poquessing Creek Trail Feasibility Study - "The Philadelphia City Planning Commission wants your help planning a 4.3 mile section of the Lower Poquessing Creek Trail. Please provide comments to on where you would like connections to the trail, how you would use a new trail, and more. Having input from residents, local businesses, and community groups will help us identify challenges and determine the best trail alignments and access points. Please contact Keith Davis at [email protected] with any questions, comments, or suggestions.

SEPTA Forward: Bus Revolution Survey - As part of SEPTA's bus network redesign, they will be looking for input from transit riders and community members throughout the process.  Please take a moment to tell them your hopes for the project and early thoughts about SEPTA’s bus services. The survey will take 2-3 minutes to complete. 



Billy Penn / Philly is closing the city's only rec center designed for people with disabilities

The Philadelphia Inquirer / Philly grapples with statues of Frank Rizzo, Christopher Columbus, and more a year after protests



The Philadelphia Inquirer / Supporting affordable housing in Philly means supporting an increase in density | Editorial

The New York Times / Where Are Home Listings Shrinking Most?

WHYY / Zoning board approves apartment complex in West Philly despite Gauthier opposition


The Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania (The Housing Alliance) is accepting applications for its 2021-2022 Housing Capacity project. - The Housing Alliance is looking for two (2) highly motivated, self-starter individuals to be part of its Housing Capacity AmeriCorps VISTA team, working on affordable housing, homelessness, eviction, and blight issues across Pennsylvania. The AmeriCorps VISTA team will help the Housing Alliance build its capacity in working with rural communities and mid-size cities. The AmeriCorps VISTA team will receive direction and one-on-one support from the Housing Alliance staff but must be able to work independently, communicate effectively and compassionately with members of the Pennsylvania’s communities, and work independently. Due 6/18

2021 Healing the Planet Grant Program - The Healing the Planet Grant Program, funded by The GIANT Company, aims to build environmental stewardship by connecting people and families to community green spaces, improve community green spaces, support environmental restoration efforts, and support community gardens. Applications will be accepted for $2,500, $5,000, $10,000, $15,000 and $25,000. Interested applicants that have smaller projects that do not meet the minimum grant of $2,500 are encouraged to expand the scope of their project or partner with another organization. Applications for less than $2,500 will not be considered. A list of criteria for eligible projects can be found below. Applications will be accepted online June 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021 at 5:00pm EST.

PHFA - 2022 Housing Policy Fellowship Program Application - The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency ("PHFA") is accepting applications for the 2022 Housing Policy Fellowship Program. The Fellowship will provide an opportunity for the selected recipient to undertake a project/program that addresses a housing issue of significant interest/relevance to the applicant. PHFA is attempting to create a cadre of new leaders that will think creatively and broadly about possible solutions to the ongoing affordable housing needs of Commonwealth residents. Due 6/18


PA CDFI Network - Reinvestment Fund / Executive Director

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) / Deputy Director

Citizen Diplomacy International / International Youth Program Manager

Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson / Traffic Project Engineer

The City of Philadelphia - The Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO) / Data Manager

Authentic / Managing Advertising Strategist

WHYY / Plan Philly Reporter

Delaware Nature Society / Education Coordinator


Philadelphia Parks & Rec / Seasonal Maintenance Attendant - Mifflin Sq Park

Philadelphia Zoo / Job Opportunities

Johnson, Mirmiran, and Thompson Inc. / Transit Facility Architect/Team Leader

CHOP / Assoc Dir Volunteer Relations

Fairmount CDC / Executive Director

Playworks / Program Manager

Pennsylvania Voice / Reflective Democracy Associate

Pennoni / Planner / Urban Designer

City of Philadelphia - Department of Commerce / Director of Communications

City of Philadelphia - OIT, SmartCityPHL program / Data Fellow

South Philly Food Co-op / Cashier & Guest Services Associate, Grocery & Wellness Department Clerk, Produce Department Clerk, Bookkeeper + Member Data Manager

The Food Trust / Director of Finance

Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) / Transportation Planner

Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC) / Policy Director

The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice in the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University / Practitioner-Researcher, Program Manager, Interim Operations and Human Resource Specialist, Senior Research Associate, Research Associate, Graphic Designer, Manager of Marketing, Office Manager

FMC / FP&A Business Partner – Global Research and Development and Global Regulatory

Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson / Traffic Section Head

ULI Philadelphia / Associate, ULI Philadelphia

Bread & Roses Community Fund / Director of Grantmaking

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation / Summer Jobs

Transit Forward Philadelphia / Transit Fellow

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