West Chestnut bike lane problems, Center City's disappearing parking lots, Camden waterfront at DAG


The West Chestnut bike lane is great, but it has some real problems the City needs to fix. Read about this issue and more in this week's 5th Square newsletter.

5th Square's weekly newsletter reaches over 6,500 people with news, events, and action opportunities that advocates for better Philly urbanism need to know about each week. Don't miss out: Sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox each week, and send us suggestions for newsletter items at [email protected].


Tell Councilmember Jannie Blackwell not to mess with the new Chestnut Street protected bike lane. After 6 years of negotiations between safety advocates, neighborhood groups, and Councilmember Blackwell, the West Chestnut parking-protected bike lane finally went into effect last week. But at the ribbon-cutting Blackwell was already back-tracking on the deal, saying she might want to revisit the decision after 90 days due to neighbor complaints. The Kenney administration is pushing back on this, but Blackwell needs to hear from supportive constituents too. If you live in West Philly, give Councilmember Blackwell a call at (215) 686-3418 or email at [email protected] and ask her to put safety first. 

Ask Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson to support the Bicycle Coalition’s Vision Zero wishlist for Lombard and South by the South Street Bridge. In addition to more loading zones and parking signage, BCGP is calling for three raised crosswalks at 24th, 25th, and Taney Streets, traffic signal retiming to 20 MPH, and green paint at 22nd and Lombard where the buffered bike lane commences. If you live in the 2nd Council District, email Councilmember Johnson at [email protected] and ask him to pass these common-sense safety improvements.


Wednesday, September 6th, 6:00 PM
‘Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture’ Opening Reception
Reception at Center for Architecture and Design, and self-guided tours of the new exhibition at The Fabric Workshop and Museum celebrating master architect Louis Kahn. From the event description: “This landmark exhibition, organized by the Vitra Design Museum (Weil am Rhein, Germany), is the first major retrospective of Kahn’s work in twenty years and offers new insight into the famed architect’s methods and inspiration through more than 200 objects and ephemeral items.”

Thursday, September 7th, 8:00 AM
Design Advocacy Group - The Camden Waterfront
John Gattuso, senior VP at Liberty Property Trust, is the guest of honor at DAG’s monthly meeting, discussing the master plan for the Camden Waterfront.  


The West Chestnut Street protected bike lane is great, but it has a few problems that the City needs to address quickly, writes West Philly resident Dave Brindley. Brindley says the lack of loading zones is causing double parking in the travel lanes, and questions why cyclists have to switch sides across three lanes at 32nd Street. He also suggests extending the improvements further west than Spruce Hill. 

Center City parking lots and garages are disappearing, and that’s a good thing, says Inga Saffron. Since 2000, Philly’s population has grown by 16%, but roughly over the same period, parking capacity shrank by about 7%. And yet, over that same period, occupancy rates in parking garages actually fell. This is induced demand working in reverse, and it suggests we can actually reduce the number of cars in the city by reducing parking spaces. 

DVRPC has released the results of their study calling for improvements to the area surrounding the Ivy Ridge regional rail station, including improved transportation and multi-use development. Currently surrounded by surface parking lots, the Ivy Ridge station area isn't doing any favors for the cause of transit ridership, and it's one of the top regional rail stations that DVRPC thinks could benefit from Transit-Oriented Development zoning that prioritizes live-work activities over parking uses on land around the station. Ivy Ridge is near the border of the 4th and 5th City Council Districts, so it’s up to Curtis Jones and Darrell Clarke to rezone the station using the new Transit-Oriented Development Overlay tool Council just passed. 


Join a Design Advocacy Group Task Force. DAG is looking for volunteers to work on some new issue advocacy task forces on several topics that will be of interest to 5th Square newsletter readers: Riverfront Development (Schuylkill and Delaware), Historic Preservation, Complete Streets and Transit, and Design Equity. Contact DAG Chair Elise Vider or Advocacy Chair George Claflen.

Learn the ropes of city planning in Philadelphia with the Citizens Planning Institute. CPI is a city program whose mission is to equip more Philadelphians with the know-how to do local civic advocacy, particularly on neighborhood planning and zoning issues. Apply before September 20th for a chance to participate in their fall 2017 class. 

Be a 2018 New Leaders Council fellow. NLC is a national fellowship program with a chapter in Philadelphia that teaches young professionals new activism and leadership skills and helps them expand their political networks. Several 5th Square volunteers have done NLC, and we’d be glad to consider writing some nominations. Send us an email at [email protected] with a brief message about why you’re interested in joining.

5th Square is Philadelphia's urbanist political action committee. We advocate for safe and affordable transportation, abundant housing, and world class public space in every neighborhood. You’re receiving this email if you signed up via our website, attended one of our events, or supported one of our advocacy campaigns. Look out for our weekly newsletters, along with occasional action alerts about public meetings, events, and elections.