Newsletter: 🚃 Support the trolleys! / 🍻 Candidate Meet & Greet Events / 🚨 RCO actions!

Weekly Newsletter, Issue 221


The monthly SEPTA board meeting is THIS THURSDAY at 3pm, and Trolley Modernization is on the agenda. We need you to voice your support for new trolleys!

Transit Forward Philadelphia, a transit-focused coalition that we are are members of, is coordinating testimony for public comment. Testimony is typically 2 minutes long.

Alstrom Flexity Freedom in Kitchener, Ontario.
Alstrom was mentioned in the board agenda.

SEPTA’s current trolley fleet comprises cars built during the Reagan administration. These cars are a decade past their 30-year usable life and are failing in service. The six trolley lines in Philadelphia see more riders than any single bus line or Regional Rail line.

These trolley lines serve lower-income, higher-minority communities, connecting these neighborhoods to opportunities in Center City and University City. The current trolley cars are also not fully ADA-accessible to people of all ages and abilities.

Our region’s trolley neighborhoods deserve a modern system.


Come enjoy the start of spring up with two events! We will be joined by candidates for the Mayor and City Council running in the upcoming primary on May 16th. This will be a great opportunity to come and get to know the candidates and start conversations around roadway safety, public space, public transit and housing.

These events will kick off our membership voting period to determine our endorsements for the 2023 election cycle.

Are you a candidate that wants to attend this meetup? Consider filling out our candidate questionnaire, too! Reach out to us at [email protected] for more info on our endorsement process.


Philly streetlights are about to get way too bright. The streetlights will be swapped out from sodium bulbs to LEDs to save on electricity, but they will also be changing the lightbulbs to a high-viz 4000k light. While one study touts it as a crime deterrent, the knock-on effects are quite lengthy. Bright blue light can disrupt sleep patterns, attract unwanted insects, and cause more light pollution. We highly suggest that the new LED lights be warmer in temperature and less bright. You can take their survey and pick Option B, Warm White.

Bicycle Coalition is looking for community groups and/or organizations to sign on to their 2023 Better Mobility Platform for the incoming mayor. The platform includes better transit, a true interconnected bike network, and safer, active streets. They intend for candidates to not only use these suggestions during their campaigns, but take the necessary steps to see them through once in office. If you are part of an RCO or organization that would support this, fill out the form with your organization's info. The more, the better! Please email Nicole Brunet, [email protected] with any questions.

If you are thinking about becoming a member, now is the perfect time to join! Join us and help choose our endorsements for candidates that will commit to a better city in this important election cycle. Become a 5th Square member today!

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



5th Square member and Roosevelt Boulevard Subway advocate Jay Arzu was featured on City Cast Philly along with Jake Blumgart of the Inquirer. They discussed safety on the subway and various ways to mitigate unsafe conditions.

Jay Arzu: "[I]f we are innovative in how we construct the subway, we could save billions. [...] We're not looking at best practices. Let's look at best practices and determine the cost." Listen on YouTube, the City Cast website, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or other major podcast providers.


5th Square member Chris Giuliano and new Transit Forward Philadelphia coalition manager Connor Descheemaker wrote an op-ed for Plan Philly about City Council's role in Bus Revolution. They cover specific things that Council could help speed along, like bus only lanes and bus shelters. The city spends much less on transit than other cities like Chicago and Seattle, and should be spending more.

"None of these changes require building complex or novel infrastructure — they are all within reach and would help speed up buses, improve service, and ensure transit equity. If implemented alongside a redesigned bus network with strong community outreach and buy-in, Philadelphia would have a vastly improved system that would work better for all types of riders, while prioritizing those who depend most on transit." Read more...


USPS Job Fairs (from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.)

Feb 22nd at Market Square Station (7782 Crittenden St.)
Feb 23rd at Bustleton Station (9925 Bustleton Ave.)
Feb 24th at Kingsessing Station (311 Florence Ave.)

To assist potential applicants, USPS personnel will be onsite at the job fair to provide detailed information about the positions and to answer questions. Please be sure to bring 2 valid forms of I.D. to the Job Fair. Fingerprinting will be done on site. Applicants must be 18 years of age and be able to pass a background investigation. Applications are accepted online only at

Wednesday Night Rides - “Streets Wide Enough for a Bike Lane”

Wednesday, February 22nd at 7pm
Head House Square Shambles (2nd St and Lombard St)

This week's ride is lead by 5th Square member Peter Kim. It's a 6.6mi ride that ends at Other Half Brewing in Fishtown (1002 Canal St). You'll have to stay in one lane and let cars pass to demonstrate the night's theme. Route is on Ride with GPS.

Building Momentum for Youth Biking: Bike Buses, Bike Trains, and Bike & Roll to School Day

Wednesday, Mar 8th at 1:00 PM (via Zoom)

How do we capture that excitement, wrestle logistical realities, and build support among decision makers to create safer streets for all through bike buses, bike trains, and Bike & Roll to School Day? Join the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center for a webinar with “Coach” Sam Balto of Portland Public Schools, Megan Ramey of Hood River County School District, and Nancy Pullen-Seufert of National Center for Safe Routes to School as they share inspiration and concrete ideas for increasing safe places and traffic speeds for biking and making it possible for the next generation to spend more time in the saddle.

ULI Philadelphia: Parking Wars

Thursday, March 9th from 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM EST
Center for Architecture + Design (1218 Arch St)

Join ULI Philadelphia and the NEXT 2022 Cohort for a lively discussion on the future of parking. Hear from our expert panelists (Anne Fadullon, Frank Robinson, Jon Geeting, Leslie S. Richards) about their vision for the region amid current and future intersections of the TOD boom, public transit, the electric vehicle wave, as well as the rising density and demand for parking. We look forward to exploring the regional impact of car-centered planning, case studies of successful parking management programs in comparable cities, and other potential uses for our region’s inventory of car storage. Tickets range from $30 to $80.

The Future of The Roundhouse

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.

BUILDPhilly Mayoral Forum

Tuesday, March 14 from 8:00 AM — 10:30 AM EST
Kimmel Center (300 S Broad St)

Join BUILDPhilly (Built environment, Urban, Infrastructure, Land use, and Development) and the Democratic candidates to be Philadelphia's next mayor. BUILDPhilly is a coalition of professional organizations and nonprofits addressing issues in the City of Philadelphia related to the built environment.

TransportationCamp PHL 2023

Saturday, March 18th from 9am to 5:30pm
Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building @ Drexel University (3245 Chestnut Street)

Whether you work in the industry or simply have an interest, we welcome you physically to our nation’s birthplace at the center of the NEC for a day filled with ideas at the intersection of transportation, technology, and urbanism. As always, the participant-driven TransportationCamp conference series follows the “unconference” format, lending itself to a more pertinent, thought-provoking, and active event.

Vision Zero Conference 2023

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.




Harper’s Magazine / No Vacancy (Philadelphia land trust)

WHYY / Hedgerow Theatre, the ‘mother of Philadelphia theater,’ turns 100

Philadelphia Inquirer / Historic church in Society Hill will be preserved and redeveloped as new housing


WHYY / [Video] A Kensington family’s walk to school



Community Green Grants Program
Deeply Rooted is a community-academic collaborative that uses the healing power of nature to promote
health and wellbeing in Black and Brown Philadelphia neighborhoods. Proposed grant activities and programs must directly benefit one of four initial Deeply Rooted communities - Kingsessing, Cobbs Creek, Haddington or Mill Creek. Priority will be given to applicants located within these neighborhoods.
Proposals should relate to greenspace or nature through innovation, improvement, organizing, or entrepreneurship. Applicants can be individuals or community-based organizations or groups and must be located in West or Southwest Philadelphia. Community leaders and Urban Health Lab staff will evaluate proposals based on impact, creativity, feasibility, and alignment to the goals of Deeply Rooted.
Virtual info session on Feb. 20 from 7-8pm via Zoom. The application deadline is March 3rd at 5pm. Grants will be announced by April 14, 2023.
Community Conservation Partnerships Program Grants
Counties, municipalities and municipal agencies, pre-qualified land trusts, nonprofits and other eligible organizations can apply now for state conservation, recreation, trail and related grants. Administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Community Conservation Partnerships Program (C2P2) is funded with a variety of state and federal funding sources including Pennsylvania’s natural gas Impact Fee. Applications will be accepted through April 5. Online tutorials are available on YouTube to aid organizations in the application process.


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

We're an all-volunteer grassroots organization advocating for safe and affordable transportation, abundant housing, and more and better public spaces. You’re receiving this email if you signed up via our website, attended one of our events, or supported one of our advocacy campaigns.

Support our advocacy with a recurring monthly contribution of $5 or more.