Newsletter: 🀝 Helping out is 😎 totally rad! 🚌

Weekly Newsletter, Issue 210


The year end party is coming up on December 20th, and 5th Square will be presenting awards to a few members of our community for their outstanding contributions to Philadelphia’s urbanist movement.

Do you know someone who deserves a bright orange cone for their hard work? Nominate them before Friday, December 9th at 5pm.

We're also looking for volunteers to help make this event possible. You get free admission, first dibs on food, and our unyielding gratitude. We need people to help set up/breakdown, check people in, bartend, and take pictures & video.


Thanks to your help, 5th Square was able to contact the Office of Immigrant Affairs and Juntos. We will be working with them to distribute SEPTA Key cards to people who are staying here. No one is sure whether there will be more people arriving or not, so we have started a crowdfunding campaign to offset some of the costs. We opted to provide Key cards that are preloaded with $50-$100, which should be enough to cover trips for a new resident but without worrying about a time limit. We hope this will help new Philadelphians get around the city.


November 20th marked the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. WDoR is held each year to honor those who were killed or injured on roadways, and to affirm the importance of improving roads for everyone. Bicycle Coalition held an event in North Philly that Sunday, highlighting how vital road safety work is for the city. With projects like Safer Washington Ave, Cobbs Creek Parkway, and Roosevelt Boulevard, much of 5th Square's work helps people safely navigate everyday life.

That previous Sunday the 20th was also Trans Day of Remembrance, which was started in 1999 to honor transgender community members in Boston that were murdered, but has since spread worldwide. Many Philly organizations had events for TDoR, but the tone was very different in the wake of the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs. Urbanists often tout Ray Oldenburg's "Third Place" concept as a reason to create denser neighborhoods, but transgender individuals are simultaneously in dire need of a safe third place and at more risk in the world.

Acts of violence in our third places and our streets is something that is a scourge on our society. While no one organization can solve everything, the more we look inward to our biases and push for change of the physical and structural issues that endanger people, the closer we are at a more free and just society.

You can help us make a walkable, transit-friendly city for everyone with your financial contributions. Become a 5th Square member today!

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


5th Square member Jay Arzu released a new piece about Roosevelt Boulevard, highlighting some of the progress made from the recent workshop. Community buy-in for some kind of rail line is strong, whether it be the subway or an elevated line. There is more local political interest in this project as well, but Arzu says that it's time for federal politicians to champion these projects, as new funding is available from the US Department of Transportation.

"Looking toward the future, some remain skeptical of the Roosevelt Boulevard subway ever being built, but the momentum behind the subway has shown that if a community comes together with stakeholders and elected officials with a solid plan, anything is possible." (Read more...)

Sign our petition to let lawmakers and public services know that you want to see a Roosevelt Boulevard subway.


The city has a virtual focus group program for you to voice your opinion about the upcoming budget. The meetings are being held on the following dates:

  • Thursday, December 1 at 6 p.m.- 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 3 at 11 a.m.- noon
  • Tuesday, December 6 at 6 p.m.- 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 7 at 6 p.m.- 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, December 8 at 6 p.m.- 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 10 at 11 a.m.- noon
  • Monday, December 12 at 6 p.m.- 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, December 13 at 6 p.m.- 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 14 at 6 p.m.- 7 p.m.

The sessions have registration forms in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Portuguese.


Operation Holiday Magic

Tuesday, November 29th
Saxbys Roastery, 2415 Morris Street

Operation Holiday Magic is a day of service benefiting Point Breeze residents, organized by Terrill Haigler. The morning will kick off with a grocery distribution from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., a toy giveaway will be held. Students from kindergarten through 8th grade from Delaplaine McDaniel School and the surrounding community are invited to stop by the giveaway and choose from an assortment of special gifts.

I-95/GIR Public Meeting Invitation

Virtual Meeting #1: November 29, 6:30-8:00 PM
Register here:
Virtual Meeting #2: November 30, 6:30-8:00 PM
Register here:

PennDOT District 6 is hosting two virtual meetings to learn about the next phase of the Interstate 95 Girard Avenue Interchange project (I-95 GIR GR6). The meetings will include a project presentation and opportunity to meet members of the project team who will be available to answer questions and collect feedback from the community.
The same presentation will be given at both meetings. Persons with questions or needing special accommodations for the virtual meeting can contact Douglas Robbins at 215-789-2082 or [email protected]

Wednesday Night Ride / Nov 30

November 30th at 7:00pm
Art Museum steps, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
End: Hale and True Cider Co,

This is an easy 6 mile ride, starting from the Art Museum along the Schuylkill River Trail, through Rittenhouse Square and South Philadelphia to end at Hale and True Cider Co, 613 South 7th St (at Kater) in Queen Village. Route:

"Changing the Face of the City" Panel Discussion

Wednesday, December 7 from 4pm - 6pm
Center for Architecture and Design, 1218 Arch Street

This is a thought-provoking panel discussion of leaders in the built environment to explore how the historic dynamics of preservation and urban planning have affected current practices in real-estate development, housing, etc.

School Streets: Testing Car-free Zones Around Schools

Wednesday, December 14th at 3 p.m.
Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission
190 N Independence Mall West, 8th Floor (Philadelphia Room)

The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals is presenting a webinar about the 'School Streets' program. School Streets are an innovative solution to reduce the vehicle congestion and traffic safety risks commonly seen around schools, and to encourage children, families and teachers to use active transportation. The results from these pilots are being used to develop recommendations for the planning, permitting and implementation of School Streets programs in municipal settings.

Webinar: Individual Wayfinding in the Context of Visual Impairment, Blindness, and Deafblindness

Thursday, December 15 at 1:00 PM ET (via Zoom)

In this presentation Amy Parker and Dr. Martin Swobodzinski will highlight past research on human indoor-outdoor wayfinding on an urban college campus. Focus in the presentation will be on the discussion of considerations for wayfinding technology, human subject research design, as well findings and lessons learned across the two projects.



Jeffrey Brinkman, Jeffrey Lin / The Costs and Benefits of Fixing Downtown Freeways [PDF]

Allegheny County / Discounted Fares Pilot Program

NJTOD / Intro to the Transit Friendly Planning Guide [Video]

Progressive Railroading / SEPTA wins FTA grant for TOD study


The New York Times / The Exceptionally American Problem of Rising Roadway Deaths

Philadelphia Inquirer / Philly announces new safety improvement work on Market Street in Center City


Philadelphia Inquirer / After a series of resignations, Philly City Council is back to its normal size. For now.


If you've been wanting to help out 5th Square with your time and skills, we're now holding orientations for new volunteers. The next orientation is an hour-long Zoom session on November 30th where we go over organization basics, our code of conduct, and volunteering possibilities. Everyone is welcome!


Pennsylvania Environmental Council has announced their Regrant Program that provides one and two-year grants of $1,000 to $10,000 per year for projects that increase a sense of welcome, belonging, and safety among under-represented groups on the Circuit Trails, which includes trails like the Schuylkill River Trail, Cobbs Creek Trail, Heinz Refuge trails, Delaware River Trail, Camden Waterfront trails, D&R Trail, D&L Trail, among many other trails in area. Priority will be given to projects led by and engaging under-represented and marginalized groups; projects that promote equity and serve historically disinvested communities; and organizations with a budget of less than $500,000.

An informational webinar will be held next week on Wednesday, November 16 from 2pm-3pm. (Register here.) Applications are due by Thursday, December 22, 2022 at 11:59pm. Any questions, please email Emilia Crotty with Pennsylvania Environmental Council at [email protected]


The Pennsylvania Ornithological Records Committee is looking for a secretary which is a volunteer position but comes with an annual $1500 stipend. They're looking for someone with bird knowledge and data skills. Email [email protected] for more info, or check the PA Birders Facebook group (private).


5th Square is Philadelphia's urbanist political action committee.

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