Newsletter: ๐Ÿšป Bathroom break ๐Ÿ“– with reading material!

Weekly Newsletter, Issue 198


The Center City Public Restroom survey results are out and 89% of participants were in favor of public restrooms! Many of the participants disliked the existing portable toilets and only 47% have used them.

Survey-takers felt that it was a basic right and a standard and equitable amenity. They also valued restroom cleanliness and safety above any other metrics or location of units.

A pie chart of results from the survey. 89% were in favor of permanent restrooms, 4% were against, and 7% were unsure. Reasons for were as follows: a reliable place to go, being able to spend more time in Center City, having a cleaner city with less public waste, not having to make a purchase or rely on kindness of businesses to use their restrooms, reducing stress when finding a place to go, and supporting tourists and visitors with an amenity that is standard in other cities.

The City will release an operations plan based on survey feedback that will have projections on cleaning, safety, and staff capacity. There will be six permanent restrooms total, each one installed in different neighborhoods. (I wonder if a new City Council candidate is interested in championing this...)

๐Ÿ“– "How I Changed My Mind About Change"

Swarthmore resident and 5th Square member Rachel Pastan wrote an excellent blog post about coming to terms with NIMBYism and how it is reflected in her area. She sympathises with those who want larger lots away from the city, but that the sprawl has already forced a negative change. Rising rents and housing costs mean that residents and developers should focus on a "missing middle" that is affordable and can blend into existing neighborhoods.

"Indeed, Swarthmore already has ADUs and small multifamily buildings, constructed before our zoning code was written in the 1970s. The fact that this kind of density is woven into our fabric bolsters my confidence that we can build more relatively inexpensive housing without significant disruption." (Read more...)

If you're interested in Pastan's writing, you can sign up for updates at the bottom of her blog post.


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Ben She and Will Tung, longtime transit committee members of 5th Square, spoke to TransitCenter about Reimagining Regional Rail, a redesign of the rail system as part of the SEPTA Forward project. Will Tung mentions our fare parity goals between Regional Rail and the rest of the system, and how this is a chance for positive change.

Ben She: โ€œSEPTA really needs to utilize this moment as a way to not only reset the bus routes, but also reset the way that it approaches its customers.โ€


5th Square member Andrew Davies was in a recent article in Grid Magazine about the decisionmaking process behind Washinton Avenue. His rationale for supporting the three-lane option? His one year old child, who will eventually have to cross the street for elementary school. โ€œItโ€™s definitely a part of why weโ€™re on this side of Washington Avenue with our daycare.โ€ (Read more...)

The article has a sampling of every viewpoint, which is as diverse as the avenue in question. South Philly has seen a lot of change and Washington Ave will go through quite a bit. Curious about its origins? The city has a great three-part blog post about Washington Ave's industrial past.


Advancing Racial Equity through Land Use Planning

Wednesday, September 7 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm via Zoom

This webinar, featuring Joe Bernard and Douglass Smith, will present examples of two cities addressing racial inequity through their land use planning tools & codes. Deadline to register is September 6.

Take the Lane: a Right of Way reform agenda

Friday, September 16th from 12:30pm to 3:30pm
Center for Architecture, 1218 Arch Street

StreetBoxPHLโ€™s inaugural symposium will be featuring exciting Philadelphia public space stewards and advocates, and will explore the changes needed to make it easier to make great places out of small spaces in the right of way.

Bike MS: City to Shore Ride.

September 24 & 25
Cherry Hill, NJ (multiple locations)

Registration fee is $60 and will go up $70 on Sept. 12. Cycle through the beautiful back roads and flat terrain of South Jersey along with a community of riders dedicated to changing the world for people with MS. $300 minimum for fundraising.

Mobility Summit

Tuesday, October 11 at 7:30 AM โ€“ 1:00 PM
Crowne Plaza Harrisburg-Hershey, 23 South 2nd Street, Harrisburg

The 82 Alliance is hosting a half day Mobility Summit, featuring Stan Caldwell from the Traffic 21 Institute at Carnegie Mellon, and Jody Holton from Planning & Strategic Initiatives at SEPTA. Early bird tickets are $90 and are available until August 31st.


  • 2022 SEPTA Key 2.0 Survey - The survey will help in developing the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the next generation fare collection program, SEPTA Key 2.0. You can take the survey online, call in at (215) 580-7145 and selecting OPTION #3 (Commendations and Complaints) to take the survey over phone, or email [email protected] for a screen reader friendly PDF.

  • Blossom at Bartram! Complete Streets Alternatives - If you live near or travel along Lindbergh Ave, take this survey to pick the best option for street reconfiguration. "Complete streets" means that all the options include bike lanes and better sidewalks, so choose the designs that you think would fit the area.

  • Future of the Roundhouse Survey - What do you think should be done with the Roundhouse on 7th and Race?



Univ. of Pennsylvania Institute for Law and Economics / Longer Trips to Court Cause Evictions

Journal of Urban Economics / Can the land tax help curb urban sprawl? Evidence from growth patterns in Pennsylvania

Washington Post / To fight climate change, environmentalists may have to give up a core belief


Philadelphia Inquirer / Camden County has plans for 2 trail bridges that will connect Philly to Cooper River Park and beyond

Billy Penn / The DF Nigeria truck is cultivating fans of West African food in Northeast Philly

Feet First Philly Public Space Enhancement Mini-Grant

Feet First Philly is partnering with the Department of Public Health to provide funding for mini-grants of $500 to $2000 to create public space enhancements and safety improvements where they are needed the most. Residents and community groups in low income communities and communities of color are strongly encouraged to apply. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, October 11th at 11:59PM.


BCGPโ€™s 2022 Bicycle Counts

Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is looking for volunteers interested in helping us with this process between September 6 and October 28. Bike counts happen on weekday mornings and evening from 7:30 โ€“ 9:00 AM and from 4:30 โ€“ 6:00 PM, weather permitting. Sign up today!


Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia / Communications Manager

City of Jersey City / Various (Planners, architects, environmental related positions)

Community Legal Services of Philadelphia / Communications and Social Media Associate

Philadelphia Department of Public Health / Canvass Data Coordinator

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