🚆 ROOSEVELT BLVD SUBWAY TOWN HALL
🏠 PHILADELPHIA HOME APPRAISAL BIAS TASK FORCE
Councilwoman Parker made a working group last year called the Philadelphia Home Appraisal Bias Task Force, working partially in tandem with Interagency Task Force on Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity (PAVE) that President Biden created in June 2021. Parker had previously published an op-ed on the subject with Ira Goldstein of Reinvestment Fund and Gregory Squires of George Washington University. The Task Force had several key findings: a lack of local data, a low number of appraisers that were not reflective of communities, homeowners not understanding the appraisal process, and the city not recognizing appraisal bias as a fair housing issue. These findings have now been compiled and released as a final report.
According to the report, there is a lack of quantitative and qualitative data for the entire appraisal process. The Task Force had numerous recommendations that revolved around working with all organizations that are involved in appraisal and housing, as well as community organizations to interview homeowners. The idea is to identify any existing or potential discriminatory appraisals at a variety of angles.
The report found that the demographic makeup of appraisers can influence the valuations. 95% of Philadelphia appraisers are white, and national figures for female appraisers is between 21% and 30%. The report recommended a clearinghouse of neighborhood information, favoring local appraisers, and training appraisers through various programs that are easily accessible through community college or online courses. Some Task Force members also suggested to remove the supervisor/trainee model that encouraged nepotism and replace it with a licensing model. However, the recommendation to partner with Better.com for training is concerning. Better.com is an online-only mortgage lender that has come under scrutiny for labor issues and is being investigated by the SEC. (Forbes has a timeline of events.) Partnering with Better.com may be a costly mistake for a city already mired in sketchy business deals.
Lastly, the report talked about educating homeowners and homebuyers and the lack of advocacy from the City. The recommendation from the Task Force is to support local housing counseling services and have the City put more resources into all of these efforts.
From the tone of the report, it is unclear whether Councilwoman Parker intends that more houses be appraised upwards, or that the lackluster appraisal process is influencing higher property taxes. We will be watching what comes from Parker's Task Force and City Hall to see what's next.
Download the full report here: https://www.reinvestment.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/PHL-HomeAppraisalBiasTaskForce_Report_July2022.pdf
🌉 59th STREET BRIDGE REPLACEMENT
The plans for the 59th Street Bridge, between Lancaster Ave and Upland Way in West Philly, have been released. Streets Department aims for the bridge upgrade to have better lighting and theoretically better for all modes of transportation. They are taking cues from the bridge on JFK Blvd with fancier lighting poles and a shoulder for the four lanes. The lane configuration and width will be the same. Disappointingly, pedestrians and bicycles will have to share the sidewalk. The awkward intersection on Upland Way will also remain unchanged.
Construction is slated to begin in 2024, with the bridge being narrowed for 6 months, closed entirely for 12 months, then half-opened for another 6 months. Pedestrian and bicycle access will remain throughout the project. The budget is an estimated $25 million.
Support our ongoing efforts for a more sustainable, walkable, and bicycle-friendly Philadelphia! All contributions go to supporting elected officials and campaigns that shape the city.
Become a 5th Square member TODAY & help us decide who to endorse in the next election!
WASHINGTON AVE POSTERS FOR SALE
If you want to show your support for the Washington Ave safety project, you're in luck! We have a new batch of posters available for sale, starting at $20. Proceeds go to the Safer Washington Avenue Fund, which supports candidates that want roads for everyone that walks, bikes, rolls, or takes a bus on Washington Ave. The posters will be delivered to your mail slot by one of our volunteers.
VOLUNTEERS WANTED: MARKETING COMMITTEE
Do you want to make a direct impact on the success of urbanist campaigns and candidates? Join us for 5th Square's Marketing Committee Meeting on August 9th from 6:00pm – 7pm via Zoom!
This month we will:
- Share 5th Square's strategic goals for the upcoming 12 months
- Brainstorm marketing tactics to achieve those goals
- Gather an inventory of members' interests and skills
- Define a workflow to collaboratively tackle the work
No previous marketing experience is necessary, and all marketing disciplines are welcome! See our website for more details.
Reimagining Regional Rail community workshops
Norristown: August 2, 6:30pm via Zoom, register here: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZctdemuqzoqGt13uT0n6RwIJr2a7fYWQDl6
Chester: August 4, 6:30pm via Zoom, register here: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEtd-qsqj4vH9JUBhWOW12yPbNX5UJcw2kw
Tuesday, August 2, 4pm via Zoom
Learn how to request a traffic safety study that can lead to your neighborhood street getting speed cushions, additional signage, re-striping, and other forms of traffic calming measures. This presentation does not cover arterial or state-owned streets. (e.g. Lincoln Drive, Germantown Avenue, etc.) Registration required.
Connections 2050 - Plan for Greater Philadelphia
Wednesday, August 10, from 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM via Zoom
DVRPC published the Connections 2050 Long-Range Plan in September 2021. The Plan was developed over a four-year process and is built on principles of equity, resiliency, and sustainability. This session will share the planning process and resulting policies, project prioritization and funding for regional transportation infrastructure, and strategies to achieve the regional vision. Registration required.
Spring Garden Street Connector Community Press Conference
Thursday, August 4 at 11:15 am
Spring Garden St between 12th Street and Ridge Avenue
Exciting news on funding and the future of the Spring Garden Street Connector--a 2.2-mile walking and biking corridor between the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. Join public and private funders; city, state and federal officials, and community champions to celebrate the vision of the Spring Garden Street Connector as a redesigned complete street.
RSVP by Tuesday, Aug. 2. Email [email protected]
Wednesday, August 10th, 5:00-9:00pm (rain date Weds 8/24)
7100 block of Germantown Avenue
Mt Airy CDC’s signature outdoor event is back for the first time since the pandemic. Come out and rediscover the community and small businesses that make our neighborhood unforgettable!
Wednesday Night Rides: New Jersey
Wednesday, August 10th, 7:00 pm
Meet at base of the Ben Franklin Bridge
This will be crossover ride with Philly Full Moon Bike Ride, Philly Bike Party, and Garden State Bike Party. Ride ends at Tonewood Brewing in Oaklyn, NJ.
SURVEYS & EMAIL ACTIONS
Petition to Save the UC Townhomes - The group Save the Townhomes! is still protesting the sale of the UC Townhomes in West Philadelphia which would render many residents homeless. It's one of the few multifamily units in the area.
Remove the Amendment from HB140 - The Bicycle Coalition is asking for people to email their state senators for the removal of an amendment to HB140, parking protected bike lane bill, that would hamper efforts for bike infrastructure.
State National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Plan Survey - The NEVI Formula Program provides dedicated funding to Pennsylvania and other states to strategically deploy EV charging infrastructure and establish an interconnected network to facilitate data collection, access, and reliability.
- Reimagine the Parkway - Survey 1 This public survey is part of the first round of engagement to help refine the vision and goals for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway Public Realm Plan and gather the priorities for uses of the Parkway from a diverse audience.
WHAT WE'RE READING
🏙️ HOUSING & LAND USE
WHYY / $12 million more in Philly pandemic rental assistance program
Philadelphia Inquirer / DOJ reaches ‘historic’ redlining settlement with Philadelphia mortgage lender
WHYY / Supermarket is first business to open in the $52M Sharswood Ridge shopping center
The Philadelphia Citizen / What's a 20-minute neighborhood, and could they work in Philly?
NBC10 Philadelphia / Affordable Housing Complex Closure Leaves 70 Families to Find New Home
Philadelphia Inquirer / Black home buyers face barriers from past racist policies and current practices
🌳 PUBLIC SPACE
Philadelphia Inquirer / Philadelphia’s new nighttime economy director wants y’all to know he doesn’t party all of the time
Philadelphia Inquirer / Dear Philly’s new ‘Night Mayor:’ Create more bars and clubs for Black residents | Opinion
GRANTS, FELLOWSHIPS & CFP
ULI Philadelphia UrbanPlan for Communities Application - UrbanPlan, from the Urban Land Institute Philadelphia, aims to engage local community members in an interactive dialogue about the challenging issues, varying private and public sector roles, complex tradeoffs, and economics that are at play in land use in communities nationwide. This program is open to Citizens Planning Institute (CPI) graduates and/or Registered Community Organizations (RCO) board members/committee chairs and will be hosted on Thursday, August 18, from 8:30am-4:30pm in Philadelphia.
City of Philadelphia /
Scout / Marketing Communications Coordinator
Habitat for Humanity /
PeopleForBikes / OpenStreetMap editor
Philadelphia Inquirer / Interactive Newsroom Designer
US Dept of Transportation / Supervisory Transportation Specialist
Community Legal Services of Philadelphia / Communications and Social Media Associate
Rebuilding Together Philadelphia / Communications Manager
School District of Philadelphia /
Green Building United / Development Manager
Independence Blue Cross / Lead Provider Experience Measurement & Insights Lead
Comcast / Sr Specialist, Employee Communications
Nationalities Service Center / Various positions
Philadelphia Department of Public Health / Canvass Data Coordinator
5th Square is Philadelphia's urbanist political action committee.
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