Newsletter: Johnson May Oppose 22nd St Protected Bike Lane Petition, Squilla Takes up Italian Market Driveway Issue

Weekly Newsletter, Issue 83

The 2019 Election is in just three weeks!

Check out 5th Square's 2019 City Council slate and vote for a pro-transit, pro-bike, pro-housing City Council on Tuesday, May 21st. We're supporting Lauren Vidas for District 2, Jamie Gauthier for District 3, and Helen Gym, Justin DiBerardinis, Eryn Santamoor, and Adrian Rivera-Reyes for At-Large. 

Not able to make it into the polls on Election Day?  Click here to get an absentee ballot which must be received by the County Board of Elections by Tuesday, May 14th.


Sign the Petition: Tell Councilman Kenyatta Johnson to Support a Safer 22nd Street

The Office of Transportation, Infrastructure & Sustainability’s (oTIS) is proposing plans to improve street safety on 22nd Street by moving the bike lane to the left-hand side of the street and protecting it with plastic delineator posts between South Street and Market.  

This plan can only move forward with the approval of 2nd District Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, but we hear that Councilman Johnson is only listening to a small-but-vocal group of Center City condo owners who oppose the plan, in spite of the hundreds of area families who have expressed their support to Johnson.

Sign Our Petition

Add your name to the petition to show your support for a safer 22nd Street, then share the petition on social media to help spread the word!

Final Civic Design Review for 9th and Washington this Tuesday, May 7th

Come to the Civic Design Review at the Planning Commission on Tuesday, May 7th at 1:00 pm to ask Midwood, the developers at 9th and Washington, to move their parking garage driveway onto Washington Ave. This project is first on the CDR docket at 1:00 pm.

Councilman Mark Squilla has now joined neighbors calling to move the driveway, to preserve the option for pedestrian hours in the 9th Street Italian Market. Observing that "the preservation of the option to close South 9th Street to motor vehicle traffic during specific hours at a future time is a prudent planning and economic development strategy" Squilla introduced an ordinance Thursday that would ban new driveways from 9th Street, although it may be too late to affect this project.

If a driveway goes in on 9th Street for a garage with hundreds of resident cars parked inside, it will be impossible to pilot dedicated pedestrian hours in the lower Market. That's why we need people to show up on Tuesday to try and persuade Midwood to get on board with the vision for pedestrian hours and change their proposal to put the driveway on Washington.

RSVP for Civic Design Review



Saturday, May 4, 10 am - 12 pm 
** Kingsessing Library - Play & Community Party **
As part of 5th Square's Action Tank series supported by the Emerging Cities Program in partnership with 8 80 Cities and Knight Foundation, will be celebrating community and play in front of Kingsessing Library Branch.  Coffee, donuts & snacks! (event delayed from last week due to weather)

Tuesday, May 7, 3 - 7 pm 
Philly Tech Week: GeoJawn 2019
The annual open house event showcasing multiple demonstrations, presentations, and discussions on the innovative geospatial and data driven solutions the City has developed in the past year.

Tuesday, May 7, 6:30 - 8 pm 
** Jamie Gauthier Campaign Fundraiser Co-Hosted by 5th Square **
Join Jamie Gauthier, 5th Square, and lots of other great hosts for the final campaign fundraiser at Team Jamie Headquarters -- 2 Weeks Out from Election Day!  

Tuesday, May 7, 6 - 8 pm 
Code for Philly - A SEPTAcular Conversation
Last year, SEPTA rolled out the SEPTA Key. This year, they’re hoping to improve your experience with the launch of a new SEPTA Key website. But before they choose a final design, SEPTA's CIO Bill Zebrowski wants to hear from you. During this informational session, you're encouraged to ask questions and give feedback.

Thursday, May 9, 6 - 8 pm 
** 5th Square May Meet-Up at Craft Hall **
We will be hosting a regular monthly meet-up on the second Thursday of the month.  At our May meet-up we'll be talking about 5th Square's 2019 efforts to help elect pro-transit, pro-bike, pro-housing candidates to City Council, and how you can get involved.

Thursday, May 9, 6 - 8 pm 
Cocktails and Conversationswith Helen Gym
Join Councilmember Helen Gym at for a fundraiser at the ICON Rooftop Deck. Listen to Helen talk about the power of municipal politics to win the policies and politics mainstream parties have left behind.



This Weekend, May 3 through May 5
Jane's Walk Philadelphia Events
Every year Jane’s Walk takes place the first weekend of May, honoring the legacy of Jane Jacobs. Jane’s Walks are roving conversations led by volunteers, with citizen and professional experts sharing observations, telling stories, connecting with neighbors, and thinking out loud.

Saturday, May 4, 11 am - 1 pm
*** Pedestrian safety infrastructure on Frankford Avenue ***
Join James Gitto, 5th Square member & neighborhood advocate, and Feet First Philly, Philadelphia’s pedestrian advocacy organization, on Frankford Avenue to discuss the high demand for pedestrian safety infrastructure and projects. We will meet up and walk along this vital neighborhood corridor to learn what we can do to ensure safer streets.




The Philadelphia Citizen profiled 5th-square-endorsed At-Large City Council Candidate Eryn Santamoor, and her action plan for Philadelphia.  "Santamoor’s blueprint for Philly is more complete and innovative than anything put forth by any candidate anywhere—and that includes the Mayor and his opponents. She blanches at the “nerd” label, but grudgingly admits that she lives for rolling around in the policy weeds. And she’s noticed that other would-be public servants don’t necessarily share her problem-solving passions."


In an Inquirer opinion piece, Philly's normally-clogged streets are re-imagined by Drexel students as pedestrian-only urban destinations. Greenberger writes, "The idea of closing streets to vehicles and giving them back to pedestrians is hardly new. Cities all over the world have been doing this for centuries. Whether it is as old as La Rambla in Barcelona or as recent as Lincoln Road in Miami Beach or Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis, the freedom of movement and slower pace offered by these urban locales has been well-received by the public and even ultimately good for commerce."




SEPTA made some important bus network redesign news at Council's SEPTA budget hearing this week: they're bring it in-house, and calling it an ‘optimization’ instead. No word yet on how that differs from what was originally discusssed. The agency says this is a cost and time-saving measure. We can only hope SEPTA heeds the recommendations from the Philadelphia Bus Network Choices report published last June, calling for all-door boarding, stop consolidation, and elimination of the transfer penalty.

Speaking of free transfers, PlanPhilly checked in on the possible elimination of SEPTA's $1 transfer fee.  This comes after the agency's Council budget hearing where City Councilmember Helen Gym renewed her call to remove this unfair and counterproductive policy that disproportionately impacts lower-income riders. The good news is that SEPTA announced they're considering doing this when the next fare increase is considered in spring 2020.  This has a campaign issue for 5th Square for the last two years, so we'll be sending out more info to supporters about an organizing plan for next year. Sign the free transfers petition to join that campaign.

Did you know that parking-protected bike lanes are currently not allowed on state roads? A bill under consideration in Harrisburg may change that and it couldn't be more timely because PennDOT streets account for a disproportionate share of the streets on OTIS's High Injury NetworkYou can help be sending a message to your state lawmakers with the Bicycle Coalition's email tool.

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale found that more than $4.2 billion has been diverted from Pennsylvania's Motor License Fund to help pay for the Pennsylvania State Police since lawmakers voted for Act 89, which raised the state gas tax to fund transportation infrastructure. Legislation passed last year lessens the blow, but doesn't fully solve the problem or pay back the funds diverted from transportation projects. To fill the gap, Governor Wolf has proposed a new per-person fee for local governments that rely on the state police for local police coverage.

Get Involved


LandHealth Institute and The Fairmount Park Conservancy are teaming up with The Philadelphia Water Department to present another year of our innovative Philadelphia Watershed Stewardship Program (PWS). This program is an opportunity for High-School age youth from Philadelphia to learn outside. Accepting applicants until the end of April.

Mira Fellowship is seeking Mira Fellows. "If you’re a proven doer and believe you know where the world should aim next you’re a Mira Fellow. We’re looking for mid-career applicants with a proven track record, an undying need to sink their teeth deep into a specific problem, and the openness to reframe their assumptions to find a new solution." Due 6/1.

OTIS has two contract opportunities to support #SafeRoutesPHL: Graphic design & event management (opportunity #21190328145922), Curriculum & evaluation design (opportunity #21190328152509) Due 4/30.

The Global Philanthropy Partnership (GPP) and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) are pleased to offer seven summer 2019 fellowship opportunities with local governments, including the City of Philadelphia. (rolling basis throughout April)

Walk and Bike to School Day wants to encourage walking and biking by celebrating students that walk, bike, and roll to school. This City initiative is looking for schools to participate. Due 4/29.

OTIS is seeking graphic design & event management support for SafeRoutesPHL. Look for opportunity #21190328145922 on eContracts Philly:  (Due 5/1)

The Knight Foundation is seeking applicants for the Emerging City Champions 2019 Fellowship from young civic innovators. Due 5/12.

In Philadelphia every summer, there are over 500 streets designated as “Play Streets”, which are streets closed off to traffic where neighborhood children can receive a meal and play together. In order to make those Play Streets more playful, Fab Youth Philly ( created the Play Captain Initiative (, which is a summer job for teens. Those teens will create and lead play activities on a number of Play Streets throughout Philadelphia. Due 6/17.



The University of Pennsylvania is seeking a Communications & Marketing Manager

The Common Market Mid-Atlantic, a nonprofit mission-driven distributor of local foods to the Mid-Atlantic region, seeks an Executive Director.

PIDC is seeking an experienced self-starter with sound judgment and attention to detail to manage the planning, design, and construction of infrastructure projects at the Navy Yard.

Make The World Better Foundation is seeking a Project Manager and an Office Manager. Make The World Better (MTWB) is a 501c3 organization striving to connect people and inspire stewardship through public space revitalization projects. 

DVRPC is seeking a GIS Application Developer and Transportation Planner

The 2020 Census is hiring for a variety of temporary jobs, including census takers, recruiting assistants, office staff, and supervisory staff

Center City District is seeking the following: Manager of GIS Mapping & Technology, Manager of Retail Attractions, Part-time Staff, Urban Planner/Designer.

Benefits Data Trust (BDT) seeks a Director of Partnerships

P'unk Avenue is hiring an Agile Project Manager

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.