Newsletter: 🗳️ Election Next Week / ⚖️ Balancing Preservation and Development / 💰 Testify on the City's Budget

Weekly Newsletter, Issue 275


Election Day is NEXT TUESDAY, April 23rd. Make sure to turn in your mail-in ballot on-time or make a plan to show up to your polling place

We endorse the following candidates:

  • Nikil Saval for the 1st Senate District
  • Cass Green for the 10th House District
  • Marylouise Isaacson for the 175th House District
  • Joe Hohenstein for the 177th House District
  • Malcolm Kenyatta for the 181st House District
  • Ben Waxman for the 182nd House District
  • Elizabeth Fiedler for the 184th House District
  • Tarik Khan for the 194th House District
  • Andre Carroll for the 201st House District

5th Square's Steering Committee is also recommending voting "NO" on Question 1. See our 2024 Election Center for more information on our endorsements and this issue.

Looking for more info? Billy Penn has a procrastinator's guide to the upcoming election.

Want to support our efforts to elect urbanist candidates? Become a 5th Square member for as little as $5 per month.

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Join 5th Square Organizers & Volunteers as we give public testimony on the City Budget at City Hall, NEXT Wednesday, April 24.

We want volunteers to show up to testify so we can show City Council that Philadelphians care about urbanist issues like funding for SEPTA and expanding Vision Zero.

RSVP here and we'll help you with your testimony by sending you talking points.


The Philadelphia Historical Commission is currently considering proposed historic districts for both Spruce Hill and Washington Square West.

5th Square opposes the proposed historic districts because we believe they will raise rents by restricting new housing and make home repairs more complicated, expensive, and time-intensive. Instead, we urge leaders to support individual designation to achieve a balance between preservation and development.

Several parking lots in Washington Square West that would be protected as "contributing" properties by the proposed historic district

Learn more about these proposed historic districts, our reasons for opposing them, and how you can get involved:


Calling all Femme, Trans, Women, and Non-Binary (FTWNB) urbanists!  Join us for a meetup at Indy Hall's 4th Floor Skyroom, May 9th at 6pm. 

Our community works to provide a welcoming space to address these concerns, provide encouragement, and advocate for an end to systemic barriers to participation and representation.

Whether you are an urban planning advocacy expert or brand new and curious -- you are welcome here!

💸 Harrisburg Rally for Transit Funding

Join a state-wide coalition of transit advocates, Transit 4 All PA, for a day of rallying and meeting with state-wide elected officials in Harrisburg urging them to pass transit funding in our state budget so we can avert the fiscal cliff in transit funding.

Tuesday, April 30, 10:30 AM 
State Capitol at Harrisburg, PA

Sign up and they will coordinate transportation from Philly.


✍️ Historic District Petitions

5th Square opposes the proposed historic districts in Washington Square West and Spruce Hill because we believe they will raise rents by restricting the development of new housing as well as increase costs for existing homeowners by making home repairs more complicated, expensive, and time-intensive. We are instead calling to preserve historically significant buildings with individual historic designations. Learn more and sign the petitions:

🏫 Support Student SEPTA Passes

The School District of Philadelphia gives SEPTA passes to certain students if they live far enough away from their school. A student concerned that this places an unfair financial burden on some families has set up a petition to call for free SEPTA passes for all students regardless of where they live. Sign the petition here.

🚲 Withdraw the Bike Lane Parking Permits on Spruce and Pine Streets

Ever used the bike lanes on Spruce and Pine Streets on a weekend? You might have noticed that the bike lanes turn into a parking lot due to an arrangement the city has with nearby houses of worship to allow parking in the bike lane. This practice creates a dangerous situation for those using the bike lane, and it may even be illegal. Join Philly Bike Action in signing their petition and calling to end this dangerous practice.

⛲ Fairmount Park Centennial Subdistrict Design Plan Survey

Philadelphia Parks and Recreation is redesigning the Centennial District of Fairmount Park and is looking for feedback. The survey proposes several plans with different road designs and a reduction in road miles through the park, so respond to the survey to indicate your support for the plans which deemphasize the role of cars in Fairmount Park and reorient it as a space for humans.

🚌 Support SEPTA Bus Revolution

Buses are a vital lifeline for getting folks around Philly, with many neighborhoods completely reliant on this service being fast, frequent, and reliable. SEPTA’s Bus Revolution would make buses more useful for more people by redesigning its entire bus network which would result in over a million more people gaining access to frequent bus routes.

Learn more about why we support Bus Revolution and sign our petition in support.

💸 Support SEPTA Funding

Governor Shapiro has announced that he plans to direct $282 million in sales tax revenue to SEPTA and other PA transit agencies. This will cover a significant portion of SEPTA's deficit, but we must keep up the fight ensure Governor Shapiro's proposed funding comes through and to find an additional funding source to cover the remaining deficit.

You can help by signing this petition, and reaching out to elected officials.

🛣️ Stop I-95 Expansion

PennDOT is planning to expand I-95 in Center City and South Philly by adding lanes and new ramps. This will threaten the well-being of our neighborhoods by worsening air quality, increasing noise pollution, and harming our access to the waterfront.

Join us in telling PennDOT that highway expansion has no place in the core of Philadelphia by signing our petition.


Night Cycle Ride
April 19, 7:30 PM meet, 8:00 PM roll | Art Museum Steps

Community Conversation: Pedestrian Safety and Traffic Signaling
Apr 22, 2024 11:00 AM | Zoom
Please join members of the Mayor's Commission on People with Disabilities and leaders from our Streets Department for a Community Conversation on Pedestrian Safety and Traffic Signaling. There will be a time for residents to provide feedback and comments related to pedestrian safety during the event.

Philly Bike Action District 1 Meeting
April 22, 7-9:00PM | Old Pine Community Center, 401 Lombard St
Join PBA to discuss the 3rd street bike lane, bike lane parking on Spruce and Pine, and a new proposal for a bike lane on Locust Street (repaving in 2025).

City Budget Hearing
April 24, 1:30pm – 4pm | City Hall
Join 5th Square Organizers & Volunteers as we give public testimony on the City Budget. Come join us in advocating for more local transit funding for SEPTA and more funding for Vision Zero initiatives and traffic calming measures

Trails Day At Cobbs Creek Park
April 27th, 8am-2pm | Cobbs Creek Pkwy and Thomas Ave
Join Clean Air Council and Fairmount Park Conservancy for the fifth annual Celebrate Trails Day along Cobbs Creek Trail for a day filled with free activities including horseback riding, a birding walk, plant identification workshop, and raffle.

2024 Temple University Bike Tour
Sunday, April 28, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM | Temple Diamond lot
Hosted by Temple University Ambler, the Temple University Office of Sustainability and the Temple University Office of the Provost, the scenic tour will begin at the Temple University Athletic Field in Philadelphia and end at the Ambler Arboretum of Temple University.

Mo’ Money Mo’ Service Rally+Lobby Day
Tuesday, April 30, 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM | State Capitol
Join Transit for All PA in Harrisburg to urge state politicians to connect our communities and pass the first increase to transit funding in over a decade

Take the Lane 2024
Thursday, May 2, 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM | Center for DesignPhiladelphia
On May 2, StreetBoxPHL, the Community Design Collaborative, and other advocates will high-light three new public space proposals, and three new policy proposals that will bring equity and innovation to city streets.

FTWNB Urbanist Meetup
May 9, 6pm – 8pm | Indy Hall, 709 N 2nd St
Calling all Femme, Trans, Women, and Non-Binary (FTWNB) urbanists! Join us for a meetup. We want to create a space that's inviting and safe for non-cis men to participate and chat about Philadelphia's urbanist issues important to you!

Ride of Silence
Wednesday, May 15; Details TBD
A ride to honor the cyclists killed or injured by motorists in and around Philadelphia. This ride happens rain or shine.

Bikeout: Philly to Schwenksville
May 25 - May 26 | Philadelphia Museum of Art
A celebration of Philadelphia's beautiful trails, this ride will travel from the Museum of Art along scenic waterways to a summer camp in Montgomery County.









East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District / Executive Director

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Philadelphia Parking Authority

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging / Quality Improvement Analyst

Delaware River Port Authority / Project Manager, Finance

City of Philadelphia

Alliance for Watershed Education

University of Pennsylvania, Housing Initiative at Penn / Senior Research Associate / Analyst

District Attorney’s Transparency Analytics (DATA) Lab / Senior Data Analyst


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

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