Newsletter: 🍻 Meet (and read) the Candidates / 🚃 SEPTA Capital Budget news / ❄️ Pics from the Phreeze

Weekly Newsletter, Issue 222


Endorsement season is kicking off, so come meet us at 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.

First event: Thursday, March 2nd at 6:30 PM, at Buffalo Billiards in Old City

At this meetup, we are welcoming the following candidates for mayor:

  • Allan Domb
  • Derek Green
  • Rebecca Rhynhart

And for City Council district positions:

  • Andrés Celin, Council District 7

City Council at-large:

  • Nina Ahmad
  • Erika Almirón
  • Terrill Haigler
  • Job Itzkowitz
  • Rue Landau
  • Amanda McIllmurray
  • Nic O'Rourke
  • Max Tuttleman

Second event: Thursday, March 9th at 6:30 PM, at Attic Brewing in Germantown. Guest list TBA.

More than twenty-six candidates answered our questionnaire discussing roadway safety, public space, transportation and housing for Philadelphia! Read them and help shape our endorsements by becoming a member for only $5 / month!

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


5th Square members braved the coldest day in the week to jump in a 38ºF pool to help Parks & Rec get more lifeguards!

If you missed it but still want to give to the cause, Parks & Rec is still accepting donations towards their goal of $200,000.


Last Wednesday, SEPTA had a virtual capital budget open house. Staff from various departments were on hand to talk about their parts of the budget. The MFL team presented an underwhelming but necessary request for new train cars. (The RFP will be out shortly.) Many of the other improvements were infrastructure based, like upgrades to maintenance facilities, added security to Fern Rock Transportation Center, and new fans inside Suburban Station. Trolley Modernization was the big topic, with the new Alstrom fleet being approved for purchase and negotiations for the 5100 Grays Ave location underway.

King of Prussia Rail was also given the go-ahead for the final design. 5th Square member Cameron Adamez was on hand for both the open house and subsequent board meeting, pushing back. "KOP rail should be put on hold for a few years in order to secure funds from surrounding municipalities. Until I see Upper Merion demonstrate half of the enthusiasm that [State Rep.] Jared Solomon has for Roosevelt Boulevard subway, I would rather SEPTA focus on all of these other projects,” Adamez said.

We want to thank all of you for your support of Trolley Modernization. SEPTA knows that we support it, but now we have to get more elected officials in office that want to support it too. Bicycle Coalition is pushing on the new state governer Josh Shapiro's office to secure funding for better transporation options. If you want better bike lanes, better busses, smoother sidewalks, it comes down to the state being willing to give funds for our shared infrastructure.


Urban Strategy in the Present Tense ft. Jasmine Sessoms and Harris Steinberg

Tuesday, March 7 at 04:00 PM (via Zoom)

Urban Strategy in the Present Tense is a conversation series featuring notable urbanists discussing their frontline work in urban resilience. The eighth installment of this conversation series will feature Jasmine Sessoms, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Hilco Redevelopment Partners and Harris Steinberg, Founding Executive Director of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation.

Philly Full Moon Ride: The Worm Moon

Tuesday, March 7th, at 8:30 PM EST
Rocky Steps (Art Museum steps facing Eakins Oval)

Route is being planned. Rolling at 9PM. We meet closer to the Rocky Statue. 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.

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.

Framing 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.

Chester Valley Trail Extension Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

Monday, March 13, 2023, at 11 a.m.
167 King of Prussia Road, King of Prussia, PA 19406

The Montgomery County Commissioners will cut the ribbon on the newly completed 3.8-mile Chester Valley Trail Extension. This new section of trail links the existing 14.5-mile portion of the Chester Valley Trail, which currently runs from Exton to King of Prussia, to the Schuylkill River Trail in Norristown.

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.

Philadelphia Refinery Public Meeting

Tuesday, March 14th from 6 to 8 PM (via Zoom)

This year, Evergreen wants to engage more members of the community and keep everyone informed about the remediation progress at the former Philadelphia Refinery. Whether you're a seasoned member of the conversation or new to the cause, your participation is invaluable to us. Register here.

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.


  • Did You Operate a Streetery between 2020 and 2022? Take this survey! A Temple University Graduate Planning Studio is studying the economic and equity impacts of Philadelphia's Streetery Program. If you have, or still do, operate(d) a Streetery in Philadelphia, please fill out the survey by March 10th.
  • PFD Firefighter Randy Ballinger Injured on Duty - While performing roof operations, Ballinger lost his footing on the roof and fell 25ft to the cement pavement below. After numerous scans and tests, he was found to have a concussion, torn aorta, collapsed lung, broken ribs, broken pelvis, multiple long bone fractures of both legs, and a compound ankle fracture.

  • Bicycle Coalition is looking for community groups and/or organizations to sign on to their 2023 Better Mobility Platform for the incoming mayor. If you or your organization supports this, fill out the form with your organization's info. Please email Nicole Brunet, [email protected] with any questions.

  • Philly Streetlight Improvement Survey - We highly suggest that the new LED lights be warmer in temperature and less bright. Pick Option B, Warm White.


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.