🚇 ROOSEVELT BLVD SUBWAY NEWS
SEPTA General Manager, Leslie Richards, weighed in on the Roosevelt Blvd Subway, saying it would be good for the city but is beyond agency's financial means.
Photo Credit: Tom Gralish / Inquirer Staff Photographer
This brings to light two issues for the future of large transit projects in our region.
Our local transit funding contribution is abysmally low compared to similar regions around the country -- limiting our ability to compete for federal grants to build transformative projects.
As 5th Square member, Jay Arzu, put it, "We need to look harder at setting our transit priorities as a region." Referring to the $2 billion KOP rail project projecting 10,000 daily riders, and comparing it with the Roosevelt Blvd Subway which could see up to 124,500 daily riders.
The fight's not over! The benefits of a Roosevelt Blvd Subway are enormous and detailed in our online petition. Sign it today and we'll keep you up to date on the latest advocacy.
Also this week, local urbanist YouTuber, Alan Fisher, published a video on this topic that's worth watching: Philadelphia's Ghost Subway Line that's Rising from the Dead
You can help us make a walkable, transit-friendly city for everyone with your financial contributions. Become a 5th Square member today!
⚠️ A SAFER CECIL B. MOORE
The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) has released an analysis of Cecil B. Moore Ave, along the High Injury Network between Willington St and 10th St. This is part of their larger efforts around Vision Zero street planning.
The paper starts with a history of the region, in that it was originally settled by Jewish immigrants and then again by Black residents and Black people from the Great Migration. While most of the area of study encompasses Temple University, the fringes of the area of study are more reflective of the rest of the neighborhood.
As for safety, the crashes are bunched up in the west half of the street, and spread out a bit more in the east half of the street. Respondents to the numerous surveys and outreach events highly favored better pedestrian crossings foremost, alongside bike lanes and buses.
Traffic calming was the second concern after pedestrian crossings. There was a lot of mixed feedback with parking, as some people wanted to preserve on-street parking while others wanted it gone.
The results of the analysis are split between smaller changes on the west side and more drastic changes on the east side. The west side will have added pedestrian crossings with signals and curb bumpouts.
As for transit, they're recommending to remove the 15th St. stop and add a curb bumpout for the other bus stops. The Liacouras parking garage is nearby, so this may prevent people being struck while looking out for the bus. They're also proposing more loading zones, which will be a huge help.
The stretch on the east side of Broad to 13th is suggested to have bigger changes. There would be another removed bus stop at 13th St, more bumpouts, and a special mini bus lane for the corner of Broad to mitigate issues with cars turning right. Starting after Park St, a parking protected bike lane is proposed along with bike boxes at intersections. The additional loading zones are worth cautious optimism.
The section from 12th to 10th Streets has a proposed road diet, with the middle turning lane being removed to make room for the bike lane. Unfortunately, the bike lane disappears after the bike box. The driveway consolidation is probably the most useful part of this layout, making it more clear for drivers and pedestrians on where to go.
Have these changes piqued your interest? Read the whole report and let us know what would be good to advocate!
🏘 SUPPORT UC TOWNHOMES RESIDENTS
UC Townhomes residents are having problems finding new places to live that take housing vouchers (aka Section 8). If your prospective housing unit is affordable, it might also be moldy and falling apart. Residents have also not received moving funds from IBID Associates, which was a condition of them vacating the premises.
The UC Townhomes Resident Council has started a GoFundMe to cover the expenses instead. It will go to childcare, transportation, cleanup of their units before they move, and medical needs. Many of the residents, especially those that live on the ground floor, have medical issues that require extra care. This also limits their search, since many older apartments and houses in Philly are not ADA accessible.
This incident highlights the need for affordable housing beyond the current conversation. A place like UC Townhomes fits well into the missing middle housing that so many people are looking for. Encouraging zoning for similar units, with a mix that includes a lower AMI, would be a better outcome for these residents. Combine this with some of the blocks in the Philly Land Bank, throw in some better transit options, and you have a recipe for a more stable Philadelphia!
In the meantime, we encourage you to help out your West Philly neighbors by donating to their GoFundMe.
🚶 SLOW ZONE APPLICATION EXTENSION
A friendly reminder that the Neighborhood Slow Zone application deadline has been extended to February 15th. The Slow Zone Project offers residents the opportunity to work with the City to reduce vehicle speeds and improve visibility on neighborhood streets. The City will work with you and your neighborhood to determine the best way to slow things down. You can fill out the application form and get more information on the Neighborhood Slow Zone Program site.
There's only a handful of active Slow Zone sites, so we highly encourage you or someone you know to apply. If you have any questions or want help with the application process, contact Pete DeCarolis at [email protected].
Wednesday, February 1 at 06:30 PM
SOSNA is working with the community and the City of Philadelphia to apply for a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
If awarded, it would enable the transformation of the Grays Ferry Avenue corridor from South to Bainbridge with exciting new public spaces, reduced and improved pedestrian crossings, and a vibrant streetscape. There would be an extensive design phase to gather as much public feedback and input as possible. Construction would begin in 2025 or later.
Thursday, February 2nd at 10am (via Zoom)
For the first time in more than two decades, there are more renovation projects in the US than new builds. Philadelphia has already been leading the way in this increase of adaptive reuse, and now, the city will have even more tools to do so with the recent passage of the statewide Whole Homes Repair Act, which provides unprecedented opportunities to save historic buildings and help low-income homeowners hold onto their properties. This program will explore the intersections of craft labor, historic preservation, and housing justice to discover how we can both preserve our city’s legacy of expert craftsmanship and attain housing for all.
Sunday February 5th at 9PM.
Meet at the Rocky Steps, or Art Museum steps facing Eakins Oval.
The route can be approximately 10 miles. This ride is normally around 14 mph or so. There will be catch up stops. No one will be left behind, intentionally. Any bike is just fine for the ride as long as it is safe to ride. More information on Facebook.
Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 3 p.m. ET (via Zoom)
How can YIMBYs and tenant activists work together without stumbling over diverging interests and values? Shelterforce's Shelby R. King facilitates a conversation between tenant organizers and YIMBYs. Speakers include Lisa Bates, professor at Portland State University, Margot Black, founder of Portland Tenants United, Ernest Brown, executive director of Abundant Housing Atlanta, Laura Loe, founder of Share the Cities, Alex Schafran, housing consultant, Cea Weaver, campaign coordinator for Housing Justice for All. Register here.
Meet at 7pm, roll at 7:10pm
Matthias Baldwin Park, N 18th St and Hamilton
Frequent rider Matt K will lead us to a destination we've had our eye on for a long time, Attic Brewing in Germantown (outdoor seating available). It's a 5 mile ride, pretty flat (+128 ft / -49 ft), good for everyone, 2-3 very minor inclines. Route: Ride with GPS
Thursday, Feb 9th at 10am (via Zoom)
There are some really amazing advocates and trail managers that will be speaking about trail safety through community-based programming and design strategies on this upcoming webinar hosted by DVRPC's Healthy Communities Task Force. Find out more on the DVRPC website. Register here.
Thursday, March 9th @ 10am (via Zoom)
The former Police Administration Building at 7th and Race Streets, known colloquially as The Roundhouse, was conceived in the late 1950s during the progressive administration of Mayor Richardson Dilworth. Completed in 1962, The Roundhouse soon entered a dark phase due to associations with destructive urban renewal programs and brutal, racist policing. That said, the Roundhouse can and should be repurposed as an opportunity to wrestle with and reclaim the building’s unintended legacy as a symbol of police oppression. Join Design Advocacy Group, Andy Toy, Paul Steinke, and Ian Litwin to discuss more. Register here.
Friday, March 31st from 9:00am to 3:30pm.
Temple University Student Center South (1755 N 13th St)
Join Bicycle Coalition for the 2023 Vision Zero Conference focusing on approaches to Vision Zero that help move toward an equitable future. The conference will be followed at 4:00pm by the 2023 Better Mobility Mayoral Forum, where the Philadelphia mayoral candidates will have an opportunity to speak about their views on sustainable mobility and Vision Zero. Daniel Pearson, Inquirer Editorial Writer, will moderate the discussion. Tickets are on sale now, ranging in price from $20-$95.
SURVEYS & EMAIL ACTIONS
Pennsylvania 12-Year Transportation Program survey: You can pick areas that need transportation improvements and decide on how the state budget should be allocated for transit.
WHAT WE'RE READING
🏙️ HOUSING & LAND USE
Washington Post / White House unveils new tenant protections amid soaring rental costs
Philadelphia Inquirer / Philly renters facing eviction owe more in back rent now than before the pandemic
Philadelphia Inquirer / 6 programs that can help you repair your home for free or at a low cost
Boaz Abramson (Columbia Business School) / [PDF] The Welfare Effects of Eviction and Homelessness Policies
🌳 PUBLIC SPACE
Free Library of Philadelphia / Kanopy is Back!
City of Philadelphia /
Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia / Better Bike Share Educator (Seasonal, 4 positions open)
National Wildlife Federation / Website Production Specialist
Center City District / Economic Development Manager
jawnt / Business Development Manager
Queen Village Neighbors Association / Executive Director
5th Square is Philadelphia's urbanist political action committee.
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