Newsletter: Nominate Your Faves for our 1st Annual Urbanist Awards, ZBA Votes on Waterfront Sprawl, Protected Bike Lane Bill Stuck in PA Senate

Weekly Newsletter, Issue 99


Help Save the Delaware Waterfront from More Suburban Sprawl

TOMORROW at 9:30 AM, the Zoning Board of Adjustment will hold their hearing on the latest attempt to ruin the Delaware River waterfront with a huge suburban-style gas station / convenience store.

For insight on this issue, read Inga Saffron's latest column for the Inquirer: "Philadelphia’s Delaware waterfront has moved beyond gas stations and big box stores. Why can’t Bart Blatstein?"

We are looking for volunteers to come to this hearing and make your voice heard opposing this plan. Please respond directly to this email if you're able to attend.

Can't make the meeting? The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) has an easy email tool to voice your opposition at the bottom of this link.


Tell Harrisburg Lawmakers: Legalize Protected Bike Lanes! 

The Bicycle Coalition is calling on supporters of more protected bike lanes to call PA State Senate leadership and demand they bring HB 792 up for a vote at their November transportation committee meeting.

Senators Kim Ward, John Sabatina, and the bill's sponsor Larry Farnese need to hear from you!

Follow this link to help make calls


"Should the Law Subsidize Driving?" Event with Greg Shill on November 21st, presented by DVSGA and 5th Square

On Thursday, November 21st, we're pleased to be co-hosting an event with Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance featuring University of Iowa professor Greg Shill, author of the forthcoming paper "Should Law Subsidize Driving?"

Read the paper or this shorter magazine article-length version of Dr. Shill's argument in The Atlantic, reviewing all the ways that the law stacks the deck in favor of automotive transportation—and how we can start to unwind this regressive, expensive, and environmentally disastrous system.

The event will be held the morning of November 21st at Obermeyer and there will be light refreshments. 

Nominate Your Faves for Our 1st Annual Urbanist Awards!

At our Holiday Party this year on December 18th, 5th Square will be presenting awards to several members of our community
for their outstanding contributions to Philadelphia’s urbanist movement in 2019. 

Please nominate a friend or colleague who you think deserves an award for their work this year! Nominations are due by Friday, November 22nd at 5 pm.


Tuesday, November 12th, 9:30 - 11:30 AM
Support a Walkable Delaware Waterfront at the ZBA
Plans for a walkable, bikeable, and mixed-use Delaware River waterfront are in jeopardy with a suburban-style gas station / convenience store proposed for Columbus Blvd and Tasker Ave. Come to the Zoning Board meeting to let them know you oppose this project.

Wednesday, November 13th, 7 - 9 PM
Pints & Policy: Investing in Infrastructure
Join Philly for Warren at Tattooed Mom this Wednesday for a night of Pints and Policy. Local policy expert, Dr. Akira Drake Rodriguez, will speak about "Why Investing in Infrastructure Means Investing in Our Community."

Thursday, November 14th, 6 - 9 PM
"Cozy Homes" - APAPASE Yearly Event
Join the American Planning Association, Pennsylvania Chapter, Southeast Section for their annual event. Sustainable design, cozy homes, housing trends. Speakers: Robert Fleming//Stephanie Sena//Brett Madsen

Sunday, November 17th, 2 - 4 PM
World Day of Remembrance Philadelphia
Join Family For Safes Streets of Greater Philadelphia at City Hall's North Apron for an event to remember and bring awareness to victims of traffic violence in the Philadelphia region.

Thursday, November 21st, 7:30 AM - 9:30 AM
*** Gregory Shill on how the law subsidizes driving ***
DVSGA and 5th Square are co-hosting a presentation by legal scholar, Professor Gregory Shill of the University of Iowa, about his forthcoming paper "Should Law Subsidize Driving?", a detailed review of how local, state, and federal laws subsidize automobility over other modes of transportation.


In an amazing upset, Kendra Brooks, a progressive running on the Working Families Party ballot line, who 5th Square members supported, captured a City Council seat away from the Republicans!

Jake Blumgart at PlanPhilly wrote about what this could mean for land use and housing policy decisions next year, and the future electoral landscape in the city.

Additionally, the Democrats' historic wins on the commissions in Chester, Delaware, and Bucks Counties will have an impact on SEPTA and its current Republican-dominated Board. Starting in 2022, Democrats will appoint a majority of the board positions. 

5th Square's last monthly meet-up in October was covered by Philadelphia Neighborhoods, a publication of the Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab at Temple University.

Read about it here and watch their video from the meeting which featured several independent City Council candidates in the weeks before the General Election.

PennDOT released its Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan and is seeking public input. Submit comments before December 4th.

What are some items we'd like to see?

  • A more explicitly-defined criteria for when PennDOT will allow removal of vehicle travel and parking lanes in favor of active transportation
  • A stated rejection of automobile "Level of Service" metric in urban areas, which disadvantages active transportation
  • Well-defined equitable metrics by which improvement considerations will be measured.

Center City is getting a traffic signal designed for buses to beat congestion!

This new signal will give buses a three-second head start over other traffic at 15th and Market and is something we need more of in this city.

Other Stories We're Reading:

Intelligent Transport: Germany's first mobility 'flat rate' - For a fixed monthly fee, residents of Augsburg will have access to buses, trains, rental bikes and car sharing within the city.

New York Times: Why It Costs So Much to Build Affordable Housing

Inquirer: A message to Philly Mayor Jim Kenney: Rattle more sabers in your second term | Mike Newall

Inquirer: Wayne Junction-area developer enters new phase with first ground-up buildings

TransitCenter: Making Transit Work for Caregivers and Kids

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: PA Turnpike begins $129 million project to go cashless by fall 2021, eliminate 600 jobs

Inquirer: Bankrupt Philly refinery gets interest from 15 potential bidders; aims for a January auction Philly: The City is dissolving its Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation

Inquirer: Voter turnout surged across the Philadelphia region amid a ‘highly polarized electorate’

WHYY: Activists take over meeting on Philly refinery cleanup, demand public involvement

Shelterforce: Habitat for Humanity Steps into Housing Politics

New York Times: Experts Back Mandatory Bike Helmets but Not All Cyclists Are Sold


West Passyunk Neighbors Association is looking for Board Members! There are several openings on the WPNA Board serving a 2-year term (2020-2022). 

East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association is seeking 2020 Board Members.

Fishtown Neighbors Association is seeking nominations for its 2020 Board.

The Enterprise Center is seeking nominations for their Neighborhood Advisory Subcommittee in West Philadelphia



The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) is seeking members to join its Public Participation Task Force (PPTF).  Members are chosen through an application process with the membership aiming to represent all the member cities and counties of the DVRPC region.

How To Join The Group That Advises PennDOT. The Pennsylvania Pedalcycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, commonly referred to as PPAC, is comprised of members of the public who advise PennDOT about bike/ped issues. Members serve 3-year terms, which are due to expire soon. Members meet quarterly (four times per year) in Harrisburg, with any travel costs reimbursed by PennDOT.

ULI Philadelphia is now accepting applications for the 2020 Mentorship Program. The purpose of this program is to foster an exchange of professional ideas, friendship, and expertise among young professionals and industry veterans to enhance the growth curve and experience of both parties. Our Young Leaders’ Mentorship Committee will pair younger ULI members with more experienced members, based on shared interests, backgrounds, and goals.

Summer of Maps offers pro-bono geospatial data analysis for nonprofits. In this webinar, we will provide examples of past projects completed during the program and how they have helped nonprofit organizations. 

Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) seeks interest from qualified developers to pursue the exciting opportunity to develop eleven acres on the Delaware River at Penn’s Landing into mixed-use developments with spectacular views of the Delaware River north and south, existing and planned parks and the Philadelphia skyline. The opportunity is comprised of two parcels, both bound by Columbus Boulevard and the Delaware River.

The Office of Arts, Culture and The Creative Economy (OACCE) Culture in Neighborhoods program transforms Philadelphia’s public indoor spaces into neighborhood hubs of creativity. Proposals will be accepted until January 3, 2020 for events that will take place between August 2019 – February 2020. 



PennFuture is seeking a Director of Civic Engagement.

Independence Public Media is seeking a Communications and Events Manager

Project for Public Spaces is seeking a Managing Director of Programs & Projects

The Enterprise Center CDC seeks 52nd St Corridor Manager

The Steering Committee of the Fishtown Kensington Area Business Improvement District (“FKABID”) is offering an exciting opportunity for a highly qualified, motivated, innovative and creative candidate to serve as its inaugural Executive Director

Zimmerman Studio is looking for a Project Architect with 6-12 years of professional experience

Rebuild is seeking a highly-motivated and detail-oriented Workforce Development Coordinator to support Rebuild’s workforce development initiatives by providing excellent program coordination and administrative support.

Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission is hiring a Project Implementation Engineer in Philadelphia

Powered by the United Way, Social Venture Partners Philadelphia is in the process of launching and is seeking an SVP Associate.

Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania is seeking a Bucks County Director

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.