Newsletter: 🚇 Transit Funding Cliff / 📈 The Cause of Expensive Housing / 📖 Weekend Library Hours / 🛣️ Right-of-Way Roundtable

Weekly Newsletter, Issue 262


As NBC10 reports, SEPTA is exploring rate hike and service cuts, as ‘death spiral' looms

Last year's state budget left out millions that would support the mass transit system. Without the funding, something must be done in the face of a looming $240 million annual budget gap

Right now, we need Gov. Shapiro to act before SEPTA and agencies across the commonwealth fall off the transit funding cliff.

Call Governor Shapiro's office at (717) 787-2500. You can also text him at (717) 788-8990.  Let them know that you are constituent that values this issue!

Also, send a message to a half-dozen key state legislators using this email tool from Transit4All PA.


A new report on housing costs from the Urban Institute found that "lack of housing supply is largely responsible for high home prices and rents."

Though this might seem obvious, the report dives into the issue and debunks several common misconceptions about why housing costs are high and explains the link between high prices and a lack of sufficient supply to meet demand.


After announcing a planned expansion of library hours several months ago, the Free Library's Parkway Central Library and 12 other branches are officially now open on weekends!

Source: The Inquirer

Libraries are important public spaces in our neighborhoods and for that reason, expanded library hours was an ask on our 2023 issue platform. Become a 5th Square member today for $5 a month to help us decide what issues we should prioritize in 2024.

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


On January 26th, StreetBoxPHL, with 5th Square as a presenting partner, will be hosting the next session of the monthly Right-of-Way Roundtable Series.

Tune in to the upcoming virtual roundtable for a conversation with community development veterans Jesse Blitzstein and Tonnetta Graham.


This past week, 5th Square organizers have been quoted in several articles about a possible special prosecutor for SEPTA as well as the temporary intercity bus station on Spring Garden.

DA Larry Krasner files suit to quash state’s special SEPTA prosecutor as unconstitutional

“A politically motivated attack on Philly’s democratically elected district attorney does not help SEPTA, its workers, or the nearly 700,000 riders who rely on the regional transit system every week,” said Steph Davis, chair of the urbanist group 5th Square, urging quick enactment of the extra funding.

Greyhound bus passengers have bathrooms, finally, at Spring Garden Street stop

Lack of better paving on the road to the bathrooms impedes people with mobility issues and the wheelchair ramp is “a difficult access point,” Fiedler, of 5th Square, said. He also pointed to “lackluster” signage.

Reviews are mixed for Philly’s intercity bus stop after first month

A group of disability advocates has severely criticized the bus zone. A report put out by Disabled in Action, Philly Transit Riders Union, Transit Forward Philadelphia, and 5th Square found an “astonishing” variety of deficits, including a lack of bathrooms and drinking water, no one to help wheelchair users board buses, and a lack of signage designed for people with vision issues.


The University of Pennsylvania, with 5th Square as a partner, will be hosting its 2024 Future of Cities Conference on February 9th.

With the theme Embedded Environments, the conference will investigate the multifaceted implications of the internet of things, artificial intelligence, and other urban technologies on our natural and built environments.


Want to become more involved in advocating for urbanist causes in 2024? Become a 5th Square volunteer!

We will be hosting a volunteer orientation on January 29th which will be a great way to lean how you can get involved as a volunteer. We hope to see you at this meeting, but if you can't make it, don't fret! There will be a similar meetings in subsequent months.


America’s Parking Evolution
Tuesday, January 16, 2024 4-5:00 pm EST, Virtual
Join Brookings Metro for a discussion with Henry Grabar, a staff writer at Slate, on how American cities can evolve their approaches to parking and, in the process, build more inclusive and sustainable neighborhoods.

Bicycle Coalition Open House
January 25th, 5-7pm, 1500 Walnut St #1107
Join the Bicycle Coalition board and staff for an Open House. You’ll have the opportunity to meet the new Executive Director, Chris Gale, enjoy drinks & light snacks, learn about the Bicycle Coalition’s plans for the new year, and connect with like-minded folks.

StreetBoxPHL Right of Way Roundtable
Friday, January 26 · 12 - 1pm EST, Virtual
New Year, New Pedestrian Enhancements Preview! Join a conversation with community development veterans Jesse Blitzstein, Tonnetta Graham

5th Square Volunteer Orientation
January 29, 2024 at 12:30pm – 1:30pm, Virtual
Attend our virtual volunteer orientation meeting. At this meeting, we will:

  1. Introduce our organization and recent campaigns.
  2. Onboard folks with our tech.
  3. Discuss and brainstorm upcoming 5th Square priorities and and volunteer opportunities.

DVRPC E-Micromobility Summit
February 8, 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM, 190 N. Independence Mall West
The use of e-bikes, e-scooters, and other e-micromobility devices has surged in recent years. The summit will explore evolving trends and address relevant questions about the safe integration of these electrified modes, equity, and accessibility.

Wharton - Weitzman Future of Cities Conference 2024
February 9 · 8am EST, 20 S 33rd Street
The Wharton-Weitzman Future of Cities Conference at the University of Pennsylvania is a premiere platform that brings together those who want to make cities better. With the theme Embedded Environments, our 2024 conference will investigate the multifaceted implications of the internet of things, artificial intelligence, and other urban technologies on our natural and built environments. 

2024 Philly Bike Expo
March 16-17th, Convention Center
The Philly Bike Expo is an annual weekend-long event featuring exhibitors, seminars, presentations and events representing the spectrum of cycling.







Community Spark Grants
In 2024, the League’s Bicycle Friendly America program will award Community Spark Grants, of $1,500 each, to 15 organizations for projects and programs that spark change and catalyze a community’s ability to create places where bicycling is a safe, easy, and more accessible option. Deadline February 1, 2024 at 5pm ET

Indego Community Ambassadors
The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability, in partnership with Indego, is currently seeking passionate individuals to join as Community Ambassadors. This initiative serves as a powerful bridge, connecting diverse communities in Philadelphia to the benefits of bike share. Apply by February 2


SEPTA / Deputy Chief Operating Officer - Control Center

Fleisher Art Memorial / Deputy Director

Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition / Executive Director

Philadelphia Energy Authority / Residential Program Coordinator

South Asian American Digital Archive

Baker Industries / President

Philadelphia City Fund / Partnerships Manager



Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia

CRC Watersheds / Director of Giving and Outreach

Delaware Greenways / Trail Project Coordinator

City of Philadelphia

Mayor Cherelle Parker's Office / Open Application

Councilmember Nicolas O'Rourke's Office / Open Application

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. 

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