Vote for the Top 3 Legacies that Mayor Street and Outgoing Members of Council Should Leave Behind

In just under six months, a new Mayor will be elected, and three members of City Council, Mayor Street, and many of his politically appointed department heads will leave city government.

What are they going to do between now and then?

Philly for Change members have come up with some great ideas!

From making home ownership easier to making our city cleaner to making it easier for workers to form unions to improving local access to healthcare, we have some great ideas we hope to get Mayor Street to adopt before his term is up.

Check them out and vote for your top 3 by clicking here.

The online vote will be tabulated next week, our steering committee will make sure the proposals meet our basic criteria, and the winners will be announced at our annual Progressive Picnic on July 29th.

We’ll then work through the rest of the year to get our ideas accomplished before Mayor Street leaves office.

Use the comment sections below to talk more about specific ideas. I will be emailing all of the authors of these ideas and asking them to read this post and respond to questions people might have.

Remember, Philly for Change is only going able to be able to work on a few of these ideas. That’s why the online vote is so important—we want to know what our members and supporters are most enthusiastic about, and thus most likely to help out on.

That’s why, if you authored an idea, you should also use this post as a way to champion your idea!

Check out the ideas and vote here:

Share the road!

I'm putting my vote in for the Share-the-Road-with-Bikes campaign.


1.I love to bike.

2. Biking is a great way to conserve natural resources , exercise, and enjoy the day.

3. Biking on busy Philly streets is a frightening experience at times. Tired drivers, cell phone users, and a lack of dedicated space makes biking a fairly dangerous activity.

4. Mayor Street is a biker right? I saw him sporting a bike helmet a few times in the newspaper. Seems like he would naturally want to help out his fellow bikers and encourage cars to share the road.

Couldn't Disagree More

With all due respect of course.

I think bikers have more rights than most cities provide yet still manage to complain incessantly (not you, the collective). With bike lanes installed on all major roads, why can't I walk down the sidewalk anymore without having to jump to avoid bikers coming straight at me like bats out of hell? Why is it acceptable for bikers to not obey stop signs or lights? Why should I have to drive 5mph down a 25mph street at the end of my day because the biker in front feels a sense of entitlement and takes up the entire street rather than pull to a side? Sharing the road doesn't just mean cars willfully submit to anyone on a bicycle because they feel their contribution to nature is worthy of devout praise. I think it's fine if people choose to use bikes in the city, but that doesn't preclude them from traffic laws and basic courtesy. In true Philly form, you don't find much of either from bikers or motorists.

I've never been hit by a car. I've been hit twice in last year by someone on a bike as I walked, with one time resulting in a hospital trip. I've had one biker fly into the side of my car as I was stopped at a red light (not coming to a stop... STOPPED) and I have the dent to prove it.

I guess the point I want to make is, stupid people ride bikes and stupid people drive cars. Unless you can prevent stupid people from leaving the house altogether, there is no point in legislating what should be common sense.

I want to live in THAT Philadelphia

What bike lanes installed on all major roads?



There's basically nothing in CC, South Philly, or Spring Garden/Fairmount/Northern Liberties. I did forget about the lane on 5th when you are going through the underground tunnel below the highway.

There is not a viable network, in any of those places (the heart of the city) where people live and work.

(West Philly's another story, though they sorta need the lanes what with the trolley tracks.)



So bike lanes aren't actually bike lanes unless they are in the neighborhoods that you like?

And to Clarify

The entire stretch of Spring Garden St. has bike lanes that run from U City, thru Spring Garden, past Northern Liberties, and onto Columbus Blvd/Delaware Ave (which also have bike lanes)

No, it's hard because the comments are spread out on the page

I said that the ones I am aware of were all of Spring Garden and the Parkway, and stretches of 22nd and 11th (much of which have been since painted over). Then I said I had forgotten the part on 5th and I guess 6th that they have because of the highway separating No/Libs and Old City.

I also said that I think it is less of an issue in areas with less traffic density (not parts of the city I "don't like"; these are also areas where there's perceive to be more 'room' for lanes so there tend to be more lanes where they are needed less).

Anyway just like there are high volumes of driver-commuters in the 'heart of the city'--like maybe between the rivers and between Girard and Washington--there are a lot of bikers. And if you read that map for the red lines, not a lot of bike lanes. Certainly not enough to create a viable transit pattern for basic commuting.


That's How It Is

We live in a big city, it's tough to get around regardless of who you are or what vehicle you use/don't use. You mention 15th & City Hall, Chestnut, Walnut area. That's the most concentrated part of the city and it's tough for EVERYONE to go thru, why should bikers have it easier than everyone else?

Where there is space for bike lanes, there are bike lanes or should be. Where there isn't, drivers and bikers should share. But to say that drivers make conditions less safe for bikers/pedestrians without acknowledging the reverse is just plain ignorance.

And Larry's reference to location is dead on; people in center city tend to have a different view than people in Bella Vista, South Philly, etc.

With that, I'll stop b/c we've sufficiently hijacked Ray's post, for which I apologize.

Whether or not there is space is a question of priorities

It's funny since despite the sustained counter argument, there's real agreement that bikes and cars are being forced to share space through much of the greater central city given the lack of bike lanes, and that there is a conflict between the competing space needs of cars, bikes, and pedestrians.

I just think that prioritizing the minimum viable number of bike lanes in that area is necessary and desirable, because I think the current set up of sharing space is unsustainable for the safety of bikers and the collateral safety of pedestrians.

I really think you don't appreciate that given being forced into the same spaces, bikes cannot follow all basic traffic laws because that puts them at risk of collision with cars. The second problem would be helped by solving the first.


Also I'm not going to argue it

But plenty of people would probably be glad to sit there and explain "why should bikers have it [at least slightly] easier than everyone else". Probably for a lot of the same reasons that it's desirable to promote Philly Car Share.


We live in a big city, it's

We live in a big city, it's tough to get around regardless of who you are or what vehicle you use/don't use. You mention 15th & City Hall, Chestnut, Walnut area. That's the most concentrated part of the city and it's tough for EVERYONE to go thru, why should bikers have it easier than everyone else?

You don't think we should make it easy on people who leave cars at home, and not only keep our air cleaner, make us rely on less fossil fuels, but, keep more cars off the road to make it less congested?

what happened to the alligators?

I was looking back at this thread and was like, "who the hell is Jennifer?"

Then I saw a post I remembered you writing and, uh... it's you.

OK, it was totally confusing, but alliatoraterhater or whatever was also YPP's grooviest handle. You've gone to just Jennifer. Man. Replying to you is going to feel totally different now.

BradyDale OnLine
The R.I.I.C. Blog
The Philadelphia Unemployment Project

Dan transformed me!

It is the end of an era. Sad. (But still preserved in my url!)

Requiem for Alligatorateher

I just started adding my first name to posts (so people wouldn't call me "Short") -- Jennifer was my inspiration.


We Are Not Talking About Deep Intimate Secrets Here

I like the name "alligatorateher" her too. It is certainly catchy, distinctive, memorable and creative. And Jennifer usually or always signed her name in the text of the post.

But we are not talking about deep intimate secrets here. We are talking about public views about public actions. I continue to believe that the more people are open as to who they are, the more substantive and credible the dicussions will be.

So welcome, Jennifer and welcome, Tim. Hopefully more people here will in time feel comfortable in following your lead.

I love Google

So, I googled Bicycle Friendly Cities, and voila! Here is a list of them, from website called 'bicycle friendly communities:'

Current Bicycle Friendly Communities

Platinum (1)
Davis, California (pdf)

Gold (7)
Boulder, Colorado (pdf)
Corvallis, Oregon (pdf)
Madison, Wisconsin
Palo Alto, California (pdf)
Portland, Oregon (pdf)
San Francisco, California
Tucson/Pima Eastern Region, Arizona (pdf)

Silver (12)
Austin, Texas
Bellingham, Washington
Chicago, Illinois (pdf)
Eugene, Oregon (pdf)
Folsom, California (pdf)
Fort Collins, Colorado (pdf)
Gainesville, Florida (pdf)
Jackson, Wyoming
San Luis Obsipo, Calif.
Santa Barbara, California (pdf)
Scottsdale, Arizona (pdf)
Tempe, Arizona (pdf)

Bronze (44)
Ada County Hwy District, Idaho
Albuquerque, New Mexico (pdf)
Ann Arbor, Michigan (pdf)
Arlington, Virginia (pdf)
Ashland, Oregon (pdf)
Auburn, Alabama (pdf)
Beaverton, Oregon (pdf)
Bend, Oregon (pdf)
Bloomington, Indiana (pdf)
Boca Raton, Florida (pdf)
Brentwood, California
Brunswick, Maine (pdf)
Burlington, Vermont (pdf)
Carmel, Indiana
Carrboro, North Carolina (pdf)
Cary, North Carolina (pdf)
Chandler, Arizona (pdf)
Chattanooga, Tennessee (pdf)
Denver, Colorado (pdf)
Flagstaff, Arizona
Gilbert, Arizona (pdf)
LaCrosse, Wis.
Lawrence, Kansas (pdf)
Longmont, Colorado (pdf)
Louisville, Kentucky
Mesa, Arizona (pdf)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Mountain View, California (pdf)
Orlando, Florida (pdf)
Park City , Utah
Presidio of San Francisco, CA
Redmond, Washington (pdf)
Roswell, Georgia
Sacramento, California
Salt Lake City, Utah
St. Petersburg, Florida
San Jose, California
Schaumburg, Illinois (pdf)
Shawnee, Kansas (pdf)
South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
South Sioux City, Nebraska
Sunnyvale, California
Vancouver, Washington (pdf)
Washington, DC (pdf)

Chicago, San Fran, DC... I demand a recount!

Anyway, I hear you that people should not ride on sidewalks. It is annoying, and not only dangerous for pedestrians, but for bikers who come across an intersection from a sidewalk at a speed where a car turning right could not reasonably see them.

But, it is many times not particularly safe for bikes. Why shouldn't we have a network so that, for example, if I take my bike, I don't have a choice of a)sitting in traffic while exhaust fumes are rained down on me, (recent studies have shown excercise in areas with high numbers of particulates in the air is just about as bad for your lungs as being lazy) or b)wiggling to the side, while cars whack me with their sideview mirrors.

In the last 6 months I have been hit by two cars. Or hit once, and then literally shoved by another, as a woman in an SUV didn't like that at a red light she thought I was in her way, and then proceeded to nudge me with her SUV, until she ran over my foot. I called the cops, she left.

Also, at least once a week or two, I get cursed out by speeding drivers who tell me to get out of the road.

Yes, cyclists complain and cyclists SHOULD break the law

One of my views that doesn't even sit well with other cyclists sometimes, but I firmly hold is in the best interests of everyone, is that responsible disobedience of traffic rules by bikes keeps bikers safer and cars less inconvenienced by us. When we run red lights, we get out of the flow of traffic. It's that simple. I'm all for it. Traffic laws make sense for cars since they are one ton weapons rolling around town. They don't make sense for bikes and we shouldn't have to abide by them as long as we're careful.

Though a lot of cyclists aren't careful, so that sucks. Oh well.

Cyclists should NOT go the wrong way down a one way street, however. This is confusing and dangerous and leads to collisions with fellow cyclists (which can inadvertently involve a car and suck for everyone). For some reason, going the wrong way down one-ways is REALLY, REALLY common in Philadelphia. I've biked all over and I've never seen this particular behavior so bad as I see it here.

Cars are ridiculous, too, though. A girl I know had a driver yell at her, "I pay taxes!!!"
What, and cyclists don't?

I like the PSA idea, but I didn't cast my "vote" for it (I mean, I'm not a member or anything so it seemed silly for me to vote, but what the heck?). It seems like a pretty easy thing to do. I can't imagine Street not loving it. So why push him on it? I bet he'd do it if someone gave him a phone call.

AS FOR SIDEWALKS: The only time I get on sidewalks is either for a minute or when CARS ARE REALLY FREAKING ME OUT!
The cyclists I usually see on sidewalks are the least skilled cyclists who are scared to ride in the street. I agree that they should not do it, but cars are psycho. What can I say?

BradyDale OnLine
The R.I.I.C. Blog
The Philadelphia Unemployment Project

Location Location !!

I saw this thread and it raised an interesting issue about bikers. The feeling about bikers really seems to differ upon where one lives in the city. For example, in center City, 18th and Walnut and down locust toward Jeff Hospital, I continually hear people say the same things as Disgruntled. At the intersection of 15th and Locust, we have about 2-3 accidents every few months of bikers running into people as they are crossing the streets. The problem is even greater on Market, between 15th and 21 street, where courier services run their routes through out the day. I see at least 1-2 bikers every few weeks try and make it around a car only to get side swiped. They never seem to be bothered by it. Rather, they just pick themselves up and pedal away. They can really take a lickin !

But when I go into the Italian Market, Bella Vista and down through the Graduate Hospital area, people feel very strongly about their right to bike without crazy drivers knocking them off the road or cutting them off.

Both Anne and Disgruntled raise an issue which really cuts across neighborhoods throughout the city. With that, I think it may be difficult to legislate around this issue because it really does affect many different people in many different ways. Rather, maybe we could pass and/or better enforce existing legislation protecting both driver and rider. For example, lets really work at stopping the cell phone problem. Its easy to see people on cell phones driving around the city and I am sure it is responsible for numerous accidents on a daily basis. But also, lets pass (or better enforce) laws requiring bikers, especially couriers, to be respectful and mindful of their obligations on the road. New York Police, as busy as they are, routinely track down bikers, mainly couriers, and ticket them for dangerous riding. There is a great documentary on Sundance which describes how this problem is handled in NYC.

PS-I saw the Mayor with a helmet as well. Wasn't he supposed to take a bike ride with Brett Mandel last year? Did that ever happen?

Yours are really considered comments

but I think that there's a little bit of a false conflict when we talk about balancing rights.

The joke-snide "what streets are those?" line was because we have literally almost NO bike lanes in the city. I'm sure there is a map and I am sure I am missing a couple, but ... Spring Garden is great, lanes on both sides the whole way. And the Parkway. That's it, other than TINY pieces of 22nd and 11th, most of which are painted over, and the joke that was the abandoned attempt to make the right part of Chestnut bus-and-bike-only.

If there were bike lanes, it would be feasible/reasonable for bikes to follow normal traffic patterns and laws. Right now they can't, because there is literally no room for them and they have to defensively dodge cars in order to progress normally down the street. All sorts of difficulties arise then, because bikes are in positions to be hit by cars frequently and/or try to avoid this by putting themselves in the way of pedestrians.

And obviously bike lanes don't need to be everywhere, but a decent Penn Design student could tell you where you need them to give bikers viable access to the major transportation routes.



Essentially, what you are saying is that if you had bike lanes everywhere, all bikers would immediately obey all traffic laws and would never be reckless or irresponsible. Is that right? So basically when I got hit twice this past year by some jackass on a bike as I walked on a sidewalk, it really was my fault because I didn't do my part to give him a lane of his own?

Look, I am NOT against biking. I think it's great, and I am glad people can live in a city and still be into it. I would never look to limit or prevent your right to ride a bike down major roads. However, when we talk about sharing the road, I get annoyed when bikers immediately look to fault motorists without bothering to think of it from the other side. Yes, motorists can and often do make conditions unsafe. But so do bikers, the only difference is that there is an enforced legal framework to prosecute reckless driving. Bikers can still do whatever they want without repercussion. That's why a "Share the Road" campaign is a joke.

Larry is right. No one can benefit from such a policy change unless the entire city is willing to follow the traffic laws that already exist.

Not that I need to disclaim

And I don't know why I'm inclined to say this, but I don't bike exclusively. I walk a lot, and I take SEPTA. I'm pretty disinclined to any exercise (ask anyone on here that knows me, I also really like to be driven) so I don't even know how much I'd bike if SEPTA was not quite as inconvenient as it is.

But since SEPTA is inconvenient and does smell, I bike around sometimes. And so I know firsthand that there aren't lanes where they need to be for this city to fit your original claim, which was 'as bike-friendly as anywhere.'

The lanes don't need to be everywhere, as I just said, I think that a grad student in design could sit down with maps and traffic pattern data and tell us the minimum number and placement of lanes for bikers to be able to make the normal average trips that people make across the downtown and surrounding neighborhoods (obviously there's greatest need at places of high traffic density).

Cars don't have a monopoly on the road, they just have current priority. It is really silly to say this:

No one can benefit from such a policy change unless the entire city is willing to follow the traffic laws that already exist.

When simple recognition of a substantial cause of the problem--bikers and cars being forced into the same physical space--would probably go far to help. And if you're right and bikers still ride recklessly, there's logical grounds for what Larry is talking about.

But I bet there are less issues. It really is infinitely different to ride down Spring Garden and the Parkway with dedicated bike lanes and markings through intersections than it is to ride down 15th near city hall, or Walnut or Chestnut.


There's a great map

There's a great map. You can get it at any bike shop. I have it up on my wall at home, but there aren't enough and drivers routinely don't respect the lanes we do have.

Another problem for bikers are the darn trolley tracks. A lot of times I think drivers think I am being unreasonable about getting out of their way, but if I somehow find myself between trolley tracks I'm not going to swerve with a car right behind me and my skinny tires. Not that I want the trolly tracks covered over if they are being used, but I sure hate the unused ones down 12th that threaten to kill me every morning.

Mr. Farnese is right on going after the cell phone issue. Bikers shouldn't use them either. I get so mad when I see one of my cyclist brothers using them.

What cyclists really need though is to boost their numbers and band together. Nothing makes a ride safer than traveling alongside another cyclist. Or two others.

BradyDale OnLine
The R.I.I.C. Blog
The Philadelphia Unemployment Project

A battle to the death

Personally, I'd like to see Street and the outgoing council members fight the rats at 15th and Market.

ok..enough hijacking

The Legacy Project has been a lot of fun for me because I had no idea if it would even get tihs far. I am really proud that there were 19 entries and tons of people voting so far. So, as interesting as the debate is above, if people have time, I'd really love to hear what the creators of the ideas or just plain old voters think of some of the proposals:

And regardless of what you think of bike lanes, Anne's point about Mayor Street and his love of biking is a good one...beyond just what we want, what legacy will Street want to leave the city?

I'm bad at voting (and all choices) but here goes!


The City's health centers are badly understaffed, but the Philadelphia Unemployment Project partnered with City Council to allot $1.6 million in this year's budget for needed workers. The problem: THE MAYOR WON'T SPEND THE MONEY! Someone needs to shame the mayor into spending these already-allocated funds, so centers can have the staff they so desperately need.


At the roll-out of the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, Mayor Street basically promised to provide 600 new subsidized housing units from the Philadelphia Housing Authority for families exiting emergency shelter at a rate of 25 per month. Mayor Street should follow through on this promise and leave a legacy behind as mayor who helped house families forced to emergency shelters by economic hardship, domestic violence, fire, sisasster, and more. Mayor Street also set-up a one-stop intake center for Hurricane Katrina victims in only three days. It would a wonderful legacy for him to leave behind if he could set up the same kind of comprehensive services, as quickly, to get Philadelphians out of shelters and into the services they need as soon as possible.

The first is simple, and maybe doable through public pressure, right? The second's sort of vague, but I really like the idea of tying up either of those committments. Some of these other ideas--including what I assume are yours, Ray, and the one about tying variable abatements to LEED certification, and the other about making simple SEPTA improvements like schedule and map availability at bus stops...those should be picked up again at the very beginning of the next adminstration, or broached to council members starting now.

Also, man, if we could finally get the public access thing going. See, I am bad with wish lists and all sorts of decisions.

PS hijacking again, I can't help it: it is fundamentally illogical to say that bikers must follow all existing traffic laws just like cars do, and to complain that bikers ride in the street where cars should go (e.g. "Why should I have to drive 5mph down a 25mph street at the end of my day because the biker in front feels a sense of entitlement and takes up the entire street rather than pull to a side?"). You can't have it both ways, all the obligations and none of the rights.


Re Bikers

I don't have a problem sharing the road with bikers, provided they follow traffic laws like stopping at stop signs and red lights and riding with traffic. They should allow cars to pass too--provided cars can do so safely.

I do have a problem with bikers on the sidewalk. Unless you are a child, there is no reason for you to be riding on the sidewalk coming up on pedestrians who have to shuffle out of the way. Bikes belong on the road.

I am working to elect Larry Farnese to the General Assembly. Unless otherwise expressly stated, this and every comment or blog I post on YPP and any action I take hereon is solely attributable to me and not Farnese or Friends of Farnese

You are from South Philly...

I know you know how it works.

How about "bikers should stop at stop signs to the extent Philadelphia drivers do" ?!


My top two also, with the tax abatement proposal... and speaking

of hijacking the thread.

My pet peeve about bikers in Philly: Get the hell off of West River Drive!!!

Look, I don't bike much these days, but I've biked a lot in the past and am very "pro-bike." But I'm sick of these showoffs in spandex who need to bike on the road along West River Drive (I know, I know, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive) so we can all see how fast they can bike.

There is a huge sidewalk along that road. If you need to bike on a road somewhere to train or get your workout - pick a road that isn't so curvey with so many people who have so much trouble staying in their lanes with their cars driving at 60 mph. I have seen a horribly serious accident with a biker on the Drive, and while I can understand some people get their adreneline kicks in various ways - riding a bike on that road is just plain stupid and endangers the drivers as well as the bikers.

Whew! Now I feel better.

Yeah, it's sort of nuts

Actually, it's not technically a sidewalk but a bikepath meant for us to use. Yeah, where they build a road for us we should use it, no question. You can get going pretty good on that side of the loop, too. You might have to slow down every now and then but it's not too bad. I've trained on it plenty.

BradyDale OnLine
The R.I.I.C. Blog
The Philadelphia Unemployment Project

for the record...

neither the SEPTA nor the LEED certification was mine...mine is the home ownership for you young people.

But yeah, your comments are right on. The submission of proposals was pretty open and we put up most of the ones we got (some just did not meet the basic scriteria). However, I am voting keeping in mind which are something that ANY Mayor could achieve in this timespan and which would appeal to a specific target (Mayor vs. Council vs. Admin).

As Dan points out somewhat obliquely below, Ramos, Campbell and Savage all have legacies they may want to leave behind too--and especially Ramos, as an at-large has a wider scope.

Yeah, sorry

I meant the one(s--I think there were two that sort of dealt with increasing homeownership, maybe one generally and one for younger people) that I assumed were yours AND the other two (LEED + SEPTA).

To clarify some more, I do not think the LEED/tax abatement thing should be picked up as part of this project, because I think it'll take more deliberation about what we actually want to give away with any abatement renewal etc etc. But I think it should definitely be on the table and talked about here, by PFC members, and by others.



Let's be realistic. The Mayor and Council only have a few months left. Why focus on issues that cannot come to fruition in that time frame? Let's instead concentrate on what they have done while in office. It is a little late to create such a broad wish list. We should be discussing their accomplishments instead. Just a thought.


i got reality for ya

When Hurrican Katrina struck, the Mayor got an empty school, and put all of the services families seeking emergency shelter and permannent housing would need and created a one-stop between multipl agencies in THREE DAYS.

It is reality that not everything we have wnated to happen over past 8 years has, but it's also reality that the Mayor can move mountains if he wants to.

We have six months left. We can give up and let things go on auto pilot or we can try to get some good stuff to happen.

check again

Things can happen quickly, finding shelter and having agencies get together in a time if crisis. But some of the proposals here will not happen by January. The may get started and that is great but to create wish lists of things to happen in a few short months is futile. Our energy should be focused elsewhere.


any problem voting for my and Sam's first choice, asking/pushing the mayor to release the money approved for funding the public health centers?

Could be done in a day. Hell, maybe a couple minutes.


I agree

I agree that City Health Centers needs more funding, as do Police and Fire, Libraries, Parks, and judging by this posting apparently bicycles. Health Centers are definitley needed and need more funding. The problem is that this city is losing citizens and those numbers are not being replaced. Businesses are leaving and we are hard pressed for new ones coming in. All of that amounts to less revenue in this city. If we choose to fund more health centers, police or any other program the money has to come from somewhere. Healthcare is a serious issue nationwide and more people need to be brought to the table to resolve it, such as the state and federal agencies working with the local municipalities. Could the mayor just sign over more money in minutes to aide our health centers, probably but it would only be a drop in the bucket and wouldn't solve the overall problem.

Reality Pop Quiz

How long do you think City Council worked on the rental suitability law that was passed? Do you think, maybe, it had something to do with the fact that Council wanted to... give Rick Mariano a legacy?

Oh that reality!

reality check

Some change is easier to lobby and pass than others. What I am trying to say is be realistic about it for this group specifically- those leaving in January. I could go back and forth all day about Mariano but that is beating a dead horse. Old news not worth discussing. Stay focused on the now and what can REALISTICALLY be accomplished.

Wow, this is so very wrong -- there's plenty they can still do.

The Health Center issue is obviously my favorite and all the Mayor has to do is use the money. He's got PLENTY OF TIME. He doesn't have to seek any approval of anything. He just has to okay the expenditures. He doesn't want to because he doesn't think the Council should have increased the Health Center budget so he's not using the money right now. He did it last year, too.

The benefit of him acting is two-fold: one) the healthcenters would work better and serve more people sooner, which is going to improve the health of citizens. two) if he hires the new folks and gets the money flowing, the next mayor can't really stop it.

Nutter has spoken positively of the health centers in the past and seems to be for them, but I dunno. The guy seems like a budget hawk to me, so I'd rather open the taps now and start getting folks the treatment they need and leave the next mayor to manage it and find innovative ways to tighten up the management and services at the centers.

BradyDale OnLine
The R.I.I.C. Blog
The Philadelphia Unemployment Project

Bikes = Very Good; Bike Campaign as Legacy Project = Not So Good

People, please contextualize here.

The mayor and this council leave office in 4 months and 11 days. To lobby for, gain approval for, fund, create and start airing a brand new ongoing series of public service announcements for anything, even something as wonderful as biking in the city seems really, really farfetched. It's a great initiative to take to Mayor Nutter or Mayor Tauben..oh, hell let's just say it'd be a great thing to suggest to Michael once he's mayor in January.

And maybe it's something someone could push for in Harrisburg, should anyone reading this thread happen to find herself or himself in the State Senate or the State House in, say, 2009.


But it's not something that's likely to happen in the wee bit of time we have left with the present city government. Four months is not long. And the clock is ticking.

So let me please make a pitch for Funding City Health Centers. This is doable. The money is already there, but--unbelievably, ludicrously--Mayor Street just won't spend it.

So as the pitiless summer sun beats down on uninsured children and old people, critical staff positions at the city's health centers go unfilled. Avoidable misery needlessly goes unchecked. Check out Chris Brennan's excellent Urban Warrior column on this very subject that starts with the sobering fact:

Two out of three former public health commissioners say funding city health centers is not a priority for Mayor Street.

In this summer when healthcare has grabbed more headlines than at any time since 1993, in this summer of Sicko (don't believe cynics and weird post-Cold War Cuba haters, it's Moore's best since Roger and Me), save one vote for some immediate relief for the city's uninsured.

Save one vote for Funding City Health Centers.

There are certainly other worthy, possibly workable, choices available. Jennifer identifies Helping Homeless Families with 600 new subsidized housing units, and Ray nominates Making Home Ownership Easier for Young and Working Philadelphians through new grants. Those ideas not only sound great; they just might be possible in the next four months. They're getting my other two votes.

And please keep biking safely and happily this summer, and keep encouraging biking right into the next administration.

But maybe consider voting for something else for the (very short) time being.

Looking forward to seeing you all at the PHILLY FOR CHANGE PICNIC July 29 @ Clark Park

My Top Three

My top 3 all have the same theme: An engaged citizentry that partners with government to keep its city clean and beautiful. I believe that a clean city will ultimately lead to a safer city. People will feel better about themselves and where they live. If you think about it... just take a look at the 10 most deadliest sections of the city. I'll give you 3 things they all have in common: 1) they're filthy; 2) the people are disengaged and do not hold each other accountable for the success/failures of their community (hence, there usually is no strong community group); and 3) they have very weak commercial corridors. Without knowing anything about Philly and its neighborhoods, you would know everything you need to know about most neighborhoods by walking down one of their commercial corridors.

What do the best neighboprhoods in Philly have? Well, they have clean neighborhoods, a strong community group and an engaged citizentry, and strong commercial corridors. If we want to change Philadelphia, we have to change the culture of our people. There is nothing the government can help the most at-risk neighborhoods with, unless the community meets it halfway. The Mayor can help begin the process, however, the community has to do their part to help sustain it.


Let’s Clean Up Our Beautiful City

Our perception of ourselves in Philadelphia is unhappily influenced by our trashiness, highlighted recently by a comparison with New Orleans. Mayor Street can organize and lead his entire cabinet, city agency leadership and staff and volunteers who respond to his city-wide call for volunteers, to spend a Sunday to “Clean Up Philadelphia.” The Mayor could specifically commit to spending the day riding along with PPA tow trucks to continue to remove abandoned cars from the street and then he could help install and plant gigantic planters along the Parkway as a sign of his commitment to beautifying the city. (I'm actually in favor of promoting weekly citywide block clean-up, going back to two-time-a-week trash pick, and doing a single stream, weekly recycling program)

Put the Pressure on Abandoned House Owners

Mayor Street made a lot of progress earlier in his term removing abandoned cars from the street. The results of NTI which tried to get rid of abandoned houses, however, has been mixed. In his last six months in office, Street should prioritize getting rid of abandoned houses by sending a team of city inspectors to out liens on homes that are determined not be the primary residence of the owner. This would force absent home owners to fix up or sell their properties. The incremental taxes, fines or profits from the sale of abandoned foreclosed properties in default under the program could pay for the administration needed to operate this program. There is no reason there should be tens of thousand of potentially affordable housing sitting vacant throughout the entire city for decades at a time.

Neighborhood Preservation Through Neighbor Action

Ask Mayor Street to create a new commission to work with the school reform commission, the PTA, local colleges and universities, the teacher's union, and the DA's office, etc. to connect neighbors with community organizations, local schools, non-profits, businesses, historians from the universities who can share what the neighborhood was once like, in order to build stronger and communities throughout the city that will care for one another and have a stake in its progress. Stakeholders in the neighborhood will come up with goals for their neighborhood and will partner with community organizations to make these things happen. It will build a stronger sense of who neighbors are and individuals will hopefully feel more accountable to each other.

Priorities and dreams

Funding the health centers would be my number one priority, followed by making housing affordable and providing housing for the homeless.

I can’t help but comment on the bike debate, though. I am a 52 year old bike commuter and my route from Germantown to W. Philly is through E. Falls, down the drive and then to Penn. I stay on the road except for the last two blocks, where I drive carefully along the pavement ( the students are still snoozing at that hour) rather than on 34th Street which does have a bike lane which is consistently blocked by trucks or cars illegally parked. For the most part, I guess, since I am an old lady, I ride like an old lady, and the Evil Knieval types buzz by me. Having a set of wheels seems to exponentially increase our sense of entitlement (my pavement, my street) and aggression—two fold and then four fold. The four wheelers are more likely to flatten you though.

From a public health point of view, encouraging the average Joe or Joanne to get out of the car and onto the road would be really beneficial in many ways. We are in the middle of an alarming national health crisis; the obesity epidemic is affecting minority populations the hardest. It is not a matter of aesthetics; the preventable outcomes are an alarming rise in type II diabetes, hypertension, and arthritis. . Making the streets safe for bike commuters could be a way of starting to address that. What if there were safe corridors to elementary schools and high schools?
What if bikes were made freely available and there was plenty of room to lock them up at schools and work?. What if there were safe corridors for commuters to come from South Philly, southwest Philly, North Philly , the Northeast, etc to work downtown?
There is also a lot of recent literature on the benefits of regular exercise on depression, mood, etc.
The city is the perfect landscape in a lot of ways—we are relatively flat and there are enough side streets, even in center city, to make a safe bike grid. The big obstacles I see are safety, not only from cars or other bikes, but from crime. The second which I think is more PR and would be easier to overcome, would be to convince people that biking is for just about everyone, not only the spandex clad on titanium frames.


Community Bike Programs

I remember hearing about some program, somewhere, where bikes were made available without charge at central locations. I know that some cities make space available for bike commuters to lock up their bikes and use lockers and even showers in free public facilities.

Has anyone heard about the success of such programs?

It would be nice to have a Philly bike share (but at no cost to the member) along similar lines as Philly car share. Maybe you could design a bike so that a member would get some kind of special key that would unlock the bike and also make the bike functional - so that it would be useless to any potential bike theif that wasn't registered as a member.

three Washington, D.C. area

three Washington, D.C. area cities: Annapolis, MD, Alexandria, VA, and Arlington, VA.

here is where I got the info:


Dickinson college and Madison

They are springing up all over. Dickinson college has them. Madison Wisconsin does it. I don't know that they are really tremendously helpful, though. Kind of cute, but people need bikes of their own to really use them. Bikes are plentiful, though. There are so many wasted bikes out there.

BradyDale OnLine
The R.I.I.C. Blog
The Philadelphia Unemployment Project

Totally sweet

but like so much depending on solid civic society and us transcending the lesser parts of our human nature, apparently they've more often than not fallen "flat": on the failure of the commons, problems in Lexington KY (including a professor appropriating a bike and trying to rationalize it!), and links to some other articles).

In terms of bike-availability, the bike church in West Philly helps people with parts and learning to fix their own bikes. It's cool.

PS for the record, I am totally with DE II on the people in spandex. Too-sporty people really freak me out.



Check out this link:

It's about a bike sharing program in France that's a lot like PhillyCarShare, but for bikes. Very interesting.


Yeah from what I read it looks like there are workable/working programs in a couple other countries, but the ones I read about in the US often seemed to turn out comically. Commonly in college towns though, don't know how that plays in.

Definitely a nice idea.


In Madison

I think they shifted it to be a very, very inexpensive longterm bike rental program run out of the major bike retailer in town's shop. I think that makes a lot more sense. I have no doubt that programs like this would be endlessly abused. Sad but true.

BradyDale OnLine
The R.I.I.C. Blog
The Philadelphia Unemployment Project

Spandex and 80's music

if this really were a progressive city, both would be banned within city limits.

Thanks for the link, DeWitt

Maybe you're not such a bad guy afterall.

There were some good, workable ideas in that article - that would solve the problems that have plagued some of the exisitng community biking programs.

It would be nice to see one of them happen. Unfortunately, our City officials are too busy with expanding the Convention Center and building casinos to waste their time with creating healthy and environmentally beneficial alternatives that would reduce traffic congestion and parking problems.

You gotta have your priorities, you know.

52 Is Not Old

Urevick, 52 is not old in today's society. You should have many, many years of productive life ahead of you.

I hope I keep biking that long!

You know, sometimes I think I'll reach an age where it will seem silly for me to still be biking to work. I hope I never give in to that silliness! You give me hope!!!

Bikes are just the best things ever.

The groups I love are the "bike gangs." Inner city kids who make really flashy bikes and ride around together. Usually low-riders. Those are awesome. Love 'em!

(((if it isn't pretty clear, I generally favor bikers over everyone else. what can I say?)))

BradyDale OnLine
The R.I.I.C. Blog
The Philadelphia Unemployment Project

People should bike to work until they are 90

...but you know what they should NOT do?

They should not ride a skateboard if they are over the age of 16!

Unless you are professionally paid to do stupid pet tricks and it is your job (and even then - kind of a weird job!)


I do not understand why I see 25-year-old men wearing Pacman or Legend of Zelda tshirts, jeans, and skater shoes riding skateboards to their "content management" jobs around Philadelphia. I do not.

Your adolescence may have been the best time of your life but it is gone and it is not coming back and it is time to move forward! This applies to many aspects of hipster life but the skateboard thing is one of the worst. (Wait until this generation starts balding - and still keeps riding skateboards. And you thought the Boomers were bad with their Harleys.)

There is an entire show devoted to this topic, called "Arrested Development," it is very funny bt also very sad.



Sorry Ray for that - I hijacked!

My picks (just me two cents)
1. City health centers
2. Making homes affordable again! This is such a big deal but no one talks about what a problem it is.
3. How could we lose 23,000 trees without planting new ones?

Also in the same category:

Also in the same category: Def Leppard or Ramones or Johnny Cash baby tshirts on infants in strollers. No no no.

Yes I have seen these things. The spawn of Bella Vista gets hipper every spring and I can't stand it.

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