Newsletter: 🚂 Transit Rally In Harrisburg / 🛣️ Road Safety for Walnut & Chestnut / 📈 SEPTA need to grow ridership / 💄 Penn Center's Makeover

Weekly Newsletter, Issue 151


Join 5th Sq and statewide partners for a RALLY in Harrisburg - NEXT TUESDAY 6/29, to fight for PA transit funding.

A free bus shuttle to Harrisburg will be provided, leaving Philadelphia's 30th Street Station at 8 AM.

Sign up Here & List "5th Square" as your Organization

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!


We have a rare chance to push for safer streets in West Philadelphia and we need your help!

Take the survey for the City's complete street project for Chestnut/Walnut by July 15th, and choose Parking-Protected Bike Lanes, the safest option, for both Chestnut and Walnut Streets.

Read the Bicycle Coalition's post about the project for more information, or view the all the project materials, online presentations, and interactive map on the City's complete streets website.

Image: Thom Carroll

Upcoming open house about this project:

  • Tuesday, 6/29, 5-7 PM, Laura Sims Skate House (210 Cobbs Creek Pkwy at Walnut St)


Our own Dan Trubman writes for WHYY's PlanPhilly about how SEPTA's recovery from the pandemic hinges upon its ability to provide high-quality service and make smart infrastructure investments.

It is not enough for SEPTA to have merely survived the pandemic. SEPTA’s heroic work providing transit to essential workers during the pandemic exposed how reliant the entire region is on transit. But in order for Philadelphia to thrive, transit must serve as more than a “last resort” mode of transportation.

Emma Lee/WHYY


WHYY's Ryan Briggs looks into plans for a $8.7 million overhaul of Penn Center's bleak pedestrian mall. It's 50's era construction and planning put foot traffic and traditional street-level businesses underground, and drew criticism from OG urbanist Jane Jacobs herself.

Center City District

Our very own urbanist, Ben She, weighed in on the plans and echoed the same sentiments.

She said he would like to see another transit shed on the 15th Street side of the mall similarly overhauled. But he said the key to revitalization would be focusing on adding more amenities at street level, like food vendors.

📋 Volunteers Needed to Survey Bus Riders!

Transit Forward Philadelphia is seeking volunteers to survey bus riders in order to better understand the needs and challenges of SEPTA riders.

We are looking for volunteers to survey bus riders at various stops and transportation centers throughout Philadelphia. You will be paired in groups of two and be asked to survey bus riders at times and locations that are convenient for you.


Saturday, June 26, 2021, 10 AM - 12 PM
Pattison Playground Children's Workshop

Kids and caregivers are invited to join Fairmount Park Conservancy, WRT, and Studio Ludo on Saturday, June 26th from 10 am to 12 pm, to share your thoughts and ideas for the new Pattison Playground at FDR Park. The FDR Park Master Plan offers a once-in-a generation opportunity to reimagine a historic Olmsted Park to serve 21st century Philadelphians. The first phase of the Master Plan includes the construction of an exciting signature playground and picnic area celebrating FDR Park’s unique identity.

Thursday, July 1, 2021, 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
AARP PA, Accessory Dwelling Units Panel

For generations, families have helped their aging parents by moving them into their homes, or into living quarters on their residential property. We’ve known these dwellings as mother-in-law suites and carriage houses. Today they’re known as Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs. ADUs are an ideal solution to keep families together — an economic alternative to the high cost of assisted living centers. ADUs allow seniors to age in place — living out their lives in their communities and near their loved ones. But despite the long history of ADUs, they need city ordinances to allow their construction. Most ordinances haven’t been updated since the 1960s and they no longer reflect today’s needs. It’s time to update our ordinances to give families the flexibility they need to let their loved ones live out their lives with the dignity they’ve earned. Join AARP PA as we continue our community conversations on ADU's for a webinar featuring a panel of guest speakers including;

  • Tya Winn – Community Design Collaborative, Executive Director.
  • Diana Lind, Writer, and Urban Policy Specialist
  • Eli Spevak, Founder & CEO, Orange Splot LLC
  • Andy Toy, Development and Communications Director, SEAMAAC

Saturday, July 24, 2021
TransportationCamp PHL 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.


Ben Franklin Parkway Redesign Survey - The MVRDV team wants to learn from you! We are in a two week long pre-selection design phase for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway Redesign project (more information can be found here:, and we want to hear a bit from you as we think about how to approach this project. We hope you can take a few moments to tell us your perceptions of this beautiful and unique space as we embark on the process of transforming it to better suit the needs of all residents and stakeholders in the city.

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. 

phila2035: The 25th Street Transportation Safety Study - The 25th Street Transportation Safety Study will look at ways to improve traffic and road conditions along 25th Street. The study will cover the area from Washington Avenue to Passyunk Avenue. The project will partner with nearby residents and businesses to propose short- and long-term safety improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. The Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC) and Michael Baker Intl., a transportation planning firm, will guide the study and engagement.



The Philadelphia Citizen / Philadelphia should think of its residents as partners—not problems

The Philadelphia Inquirer / After a year without rec centers, a lifeline is being restored for Philly neighborhoods

The Philadelphia Inquirer / More than 25 of Philly’s pools likely won’t open this summer, due to lifeguard shortages

WHYY / COVID expanded outdoor dining — and Philly officials say some changes may stay

The Philadelphia Inquirer / How changing from Republicans to Democrats may give Delco its own Fairmount Park



Temple University's Public Policy Lab / Addressing the Housing Crisis

Real Estate Weekly / How much parking do you need? ULI has the answer / Biden administration to Congress: Build more apartments and houses!

Volunteer with 5th Square


Call for volunteers to help with the East Coast Greenway Alliance's first ever NYC-to-Philly Ride, August 28-29! For more information, volunteer roles, and registration, see -- Join the 2-day crew or help out just for a day -- we especially need volunteers for the closing ceremony in Philadelphia on August 29th. Please reach out to Daniel Paschall with any questions at [email protected]

Garden Court Civic Association - Zoning Committee Our neighborhood (boundaries are 52nd Street, Cedar Avenue, 45th Street, and Locust Street) has over nine thousand residents living in a variety of building types, household formations, and socioeconomic conditions, in addition to civic institutions and several mixed-use commercial areas. Interested or know somebody who would be a good fit? (Due 7/31)

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.


Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia / Senior Project Manager - Home Construction

GreenLight Fund Philadelphia / Program Associate

Greensgrow / Executive Director

Philadelphia Housing Development Corp. / Director, Neighborhood Preservation Initiative, Staff Attorney

AECOM / Senior Communications Manager

Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia / Bike Share Bilingual Community Liaison

The Public Interest Law Center / Fellowships

Rebuilding Together Philadelphia / Program Associate

Amtrak / Lead Business Analyst Enterprise Asset Management (Maximo)

Philadelphia Energy Authority / Director of Development and Workforce Initiatives

AECOM / Senior Communications Manager, Entry Level Urban Planner

Pennsylvania Environmental Council / Sr. Program Manager, Trails & Outdoor Recreation (Philadelphia Office)

Tri-State Transportation Campaign / Campaign Organizer in Newark

Green Building United (GBU) / Community Climate Resilience Coordinator, Building Performance Program Coordinator

NJ Transit / Assistant Director, Trans-Hudson & Intermodal Planning

City of Philadelphia / Program and Data Analyst

Philanthropy News Digest (PND) / Community Organizer

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

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