Newsletter: ♿️ Curb cuts for all! Plus a 🚇 Roosevelt subway and a 🍻 November meetup!

Weekly Newsletter, Issue 205


Last week, the city settled a lawsuit with three disability advocacy organizations and four residents with disabilities.

The city was ordered to build or repair at least 10,000 curb cuts in 15 years. However, the city was originally supposed to repair curb cuts as part of a 1993 ruling to comply with ADA standards. Grid Magazine has an article covering the case, the concerns that residents have in safely navigating their neighborhoods, and the confluence of sidewalk issues.

GRID Magazine / Chris Baker Evans

Sidewalks in Philadelphia are a big problem. One thing that new residents may not know is that the sidewalk is under control of the property owner. This has quite a few drawbacks--if the sidewalk is in disrepair, it is up to the property owner to fix it. The city can pay for part of the cost of repair, but there is no penalty for not repairing a sidewalk. (If the property owner is a low income homeowner, this might be covered with the Whole Home Repair act, which will go into effect in 2023.) Construction sites are required to give an alternate route, but can get out of it easily. Then there is the issue of cars parked on the sidewalk, a ubiquitous site in many neighborhoods. While an able-bodied person can simply walk around it, a person with mobility issues might have to go back, cross the street at another intersection, and go all the way around. And in the case of a blocked intersection? It's enough to make one's blood boil.

This problem even extends to public transit. The process for the city to put in a bus shelter is an ordeal, which is sometimes hampered by sidewalk owners. The shelters themselves can make it hard for wheelchair users to get from the shelter to the bus. And even if the shelter and stop were accessible with fresh pavement, the sidewalks or streets nearby may be a hazard. Some people give up and get a car (which may have to get retrofitted for accessibility features), but many cannot.

Anything that affects people's ability to traverse the city goes against the urbanist ideal of 15-minute cities. Even that is not quite right--the idea is easy access to all parts of daily life, not just a measurement of short distances. If a person can't easily go down a dense city street for their necessities and a cup of coffee at a streetery (with ramps!), we need to go back to the drawing board.


Join 5th Square organizers and volunteers for an informal, in-person meet-up over at Woodland Presbyterian Church on November 17th! This is an indoor/outdoor, family-friendly event where we will provide updates on our recent campaigns and talk about what's in store as we start to wrap up 2022. If you've been meaning to check out one of our events or meetings but haven't made it out yet, this will be a good first one to come to. Bring a friend or two! We will have a fire pit going and some light refreshments.

Accessible via SEPTA trolleys 11, 13, 34, and 36, as well as bus routes 30 and 42. $5 suggested donation at the door.


Did you miss the first Roosevelt Boulevard event, or did you have some strong feelings about the last event? There's another one scheduled for the end of the month on October 29th at 9am at Philadelphia Protestant Home (6401 Martins Mill Rd). Hosting the event is State Representative Jared Solomon, who will be joined by representatives from SEPTA, the City of Philadelphia, and PennDOT. We believe this could be a change in the right direction for the city, one that seems to have support from people of all ages and backgrounds. This is a great opportunity for you to voice your opinions about the project. You are required to wear a mask for this event.



We are holding our last policy platform meetings for members only, over Zoom:

Come and help us shape our policy platform as we head into the 2023 campaign season for Philly City Council and Mayor's races! Join us for an hour-long virtual session where we will lay out our current platform and elevate issues you want us to push for in the upcoming electoral cycle.

Become a 5th Square member today and shape our city policies!

Annual Subscriber, $60 per yearMonthly Subscriber, $5 per monthOne Year of Membership, Starting at $60


Philadelphia Inquirer / SEPTA is working out kinks in its mobile phone ticketing feature. Volunteer testers report frustration.

5th Square members Jared Cohen and Cameron Adamez were in an Inquirer article about the the new mobile ticketing feature in the SEPTA app, currently in a closed beta. They spoke about their experiences with mobile ticketing. The reception so far has been lukewarm to abysmal. As Cohen put it, "The end result has been a complete mess of an app that crashes frequently, logs you out randomly, gives inaccurate or difficult-to-understand information, and just generally feels like a chore to use." For Adamez, "Actually getting a ticket was super easy, but it’s not as flexible as I’d hoped." (Read more here)

If you are curious and want to try it out for yourself, let us know and we can connect you with the program.

Philadelphia Inquirer / Tyger Williams


Bus Revolution Open Houses

Tuesday, October 25, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Vogt Recreation Center (4141 Unruh Avenue)

Wednesday, October 26, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Cliveden Carriage House (6401 Germantown Ave)

Friday, October 28 | 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Finnegan Recreation Center (1231 S 30th Street)

This is your chance to review the new draft network for Bus Revolution and talk to SEPTA staff.

Meantime in Philly

Thursday, November 3rd at 10am

Join DAG and Brian Phillips to discuss new ways that we can start using vacant storefront space across the city. ISA has launched a new initiative called Meantime that explores locally-based programming possibilities at the intersection of real estate development, vacant retail spaces, and keeping streetlife dynamic.

Book Talk: Exploring the World of Elizabeth Jennings Graham

Thursday, November 3rd, 6:00pm - 7:00pm

For many, the civil rights movement began with Rosa Parks’ brave stand against segregation in 1954. And yet, few people realize that the right for African Americans to freely ride in streetcars was earned a hundred years before in a landmark case in New York City. Join a virtual presentation with Jerry Mikorenda featuring his recent book, America’s First Freedom Rider: Elizabeth Jennings, Chester A. Arthur, and the Early Fight for Civil Rights, to learn more about how this conflict unfolded. The freedoms Elizabeth Jennings Graham fought for—and won—underpin the civil and gender rights movements still being fought today.




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