Letter to the Editor: Philadelphia public libraries face uphill budget battle, fight back

February 28, 2019

Two hundred library Friends and staff rallied for Full Library Funding at City Hall in December (Photo courtesy of Friends of Walnut St. West Library).

“Robbing Peter to pay Paul” has become the norm as Free Library branches loan staff to each other so they can keep their doors open. Philadelphia’s public libraries are now operating with skeleton crews, short 150 staff positions system-wide, due to unremedied attrition.

Last weekend, Walnut St. West Librarian Bruce Siebers worked Saturday at the Cecil B. Moore branch, along with three others borrowed from other branches. According to Siebers, Cecil B. Moore Library only has four full-time employees.

Libraries are required to have at least four staff present to open, including a guard. If four are scheduled and one calls in sick… you get the picture. It happened 375 times last year. When neighborhood libraries open late, or not at all, people stop using them.  Continue Reading

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PPA ‘courtesy tows’ cars parked on 4500 block of Spruce due to road work. But where do they end up?

May 15, 2018

This neighbor had an interesting experience this afternoon when she found that her car, which had been parked near 45th and Spruce, was “courtesy towed” by the Philadelphia Parking Authority due to road work. Spruce Street between 44th and 45th, was closed all day on Tuesday due to the work. If your car has also been towed from that location and you can’t find it, this story may be helpful.

“When I parked my car at that location during the early afternoon [on Monday], I did not see any signs posted about parking restrictions for [Tuesday],” Emily writes. “I called PPA and was told that my car had been “courtesy towed”… and to call my local police district to find out where it was. I called district 18 and was told that they were aware that a number of cars had been “courtesy towed”… around the neighborhood, but they had not been given a list of where all of the cars had been “courtesy towed” to by PPA like they were supposed to. They said that some cars had been towed to the area around 49th and Springfield, but that other cars from the area around 45th and Spruce may be in different locations.  Continue Reading

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Chestnut Street’s protected bike lane officially opens, but is it only temporary?

August 30, 2017

The Chestnut Street Transportation Project, which includes a parking protected bicycle lane, officially opened on Tuesday with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The new bike lane and some pedestrian safety features were added between 45th and 34th Streets as part of the project. The buffered bike lane reduced the three lanes meant for motorized vehicles to two, which allows to slow down traffic in one of the busiest stretches of the street.

Mayor Jim Kenney, who helped cut the ribbon, called the project, also referred to as Chestnut Street Safety Corridor, “a major step towards improving safety for Philadelphia’s most vulnerable roadway users.” The 2012 Pedestrian & Bicycle Plan identified the corridor as a high crash corridor in need of improvement. “We are excited to introduce the first of this type of project in the City and we’ll be back in the coming years with more corridors citywide,” he added.  Continue Reading

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Letter to the Editor: “We Need to Up Our Recycling Game”

May 20, 2016

recyclePhiladelphia needs to up their recycling game. The amount of recycling we do considering the population of our city is underwhelming. Compared to a city with a much greater population, like Los Angeles, our recycling statistic is pathetic. They have a population of about 10 million people, but are able to divert about 76 percent of their waste from landfills. Philadelphia has a smaller population of about 1.5 million, but is only able to divert about 70 percent of its waste from landfills. The more populated a city is, the more trash and waste are generated, so it should be more difficult to have a high recycling rate, however, Los Angeles manages to exceed us. We need to find a way to convince more Philadelphians to recycle more.

A big issue is the city’s lack of knowledge concerning key recycling information. They need to know what and where recyclable materials go to and how recycling can impact their lives. They need to know the harmful effects of landfills, and be persuaded to divert their waste from these piles of trash that are buried underground. They need to know that recycling programs cost less than sending waste to landfills or incinerators. By convincing them that landfills poison our drinking water, and that curbside recycling has economic benefits, Philadelphia residents would have the necessary knowledge and would be foolish not to want to recycle!  Continue Reading

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Last-minute chance to donate to a community organization and ease your tax bill

December 29, 2015

If you are still feeling generous during this holiday season, there are a few local community organizations that could use some help. Plus, you might get the added benefit of a last-minute, 2015 tax write-off.

Here are some chances to help out:

The West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools has made great strides in remaking the Henry Lea School playground into a terrific community asset. But they’re not done. In 2016, the organization wants to repaint the basketball court, install seating and new flags. They need some more funding help to get it done. Go here to learn more and donate.


Some of the work done so far at the Henry Lea School playground at 47th and Spruce. (Photo from the West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools website)

Curio Theatre Company also relies on contributions to survive (along, of course, with income from their performances). In addition to its line-up of fabulous performances, Curio runs a a theatre school for neighborhood kids that has never turned a child away because of financial need. They want to keep that going in 2016. Click here to donate.

The Soapbox Community Print Shop and Zine Library is in the middle of a fundraising effort to get its new 4,500-square-foot book arts and printmaking studio up and running. They are about halfway there and only have a couple of days left to hit their goal of $15,000. They have all kinds of cool stuff available for donors, including memberships, zine packs and even hand-bound sketchbooks. Check out their campaign here.

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‘What can neighbors do to get this intersection looked at for improvements?’ (updated)

November 19, 2015

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UPDATE (11/19/2015): Many people in the neighborhood posted their suggestions on how to improve the tricky intersection of 46th Street and Baltimore and Cedar Avenues after our post last month (see the original post and reader comments below). Reader David Wengert emailed us his proposal on how to make the intersection safer, along with illustrations:

“I have long wanted to change the physical landscape and traffic pattern at 46th & Baltimore & Cedar, so when I saw the topic appear on West Philly Local in October, I decided to create a picture to visualize my idea for change. It involves three major changes that I believe would improve both walkability and drivability. First, you eliminate the Cedar Ave spur between Baltimore & 46th. This triangle could be transformed into a little park or parklet, and the Baltimore Ave sidewalk would continue along Baltimore Ave all the way to the corner.

Second, you bring 46th St southbound traffic all the way up to the intersection with Baltimore, instead of stopping traffic behind Cedar Ave. This means removing Cedar Ave from the intersection entirely.  Continue Reading

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