My name is Peter Kim. I live in Passyunk Square with my wife and two boys ages 10 and 12. We moved here two years ago, just a few months after the COVID-19 pandemic began, to have a home where we could live more comfortably in case my kids had to do remote schooling and I had to work from home indefinitely. We had the option to move anywhere but we chose Philadelphia for its diversity, walkability, and amazing cultural institutions.
However, we quickly learned that despite the historic pre-car street layouts lending itself well to a walkable and bikeable city, the lack of safe streets infrastructure and poor parking policies make Philly harder than it should be to get around without a car. On our walks, my family would encounter cars parked on sidewalks, in the crosswalk, and in bike lanes. These obstacles made it hard to get to our destination safely. While these problems are systemic in nature and require broad changes to policy and enforcement, I looked for ways my family and I could take immediate action to make our city a more pleasant and safer place to walk.
I learned about Feet First Philly and their Public Space Enhancement Mini-grant Program that allows community organizations to request financial and technical assistance for projects to enhance the pedestrian experience in their neighborhoods. I thought this was a great way to make an immediate impact since the projects funded by the grant are typically small enough in scope to be completed in less than a year.
Earlier this year, just 6 months after I contributed to Feet First Philly’s Public Space Enhancement Mini-Grant program, I was excited to hear that my donation was used towards a small project outside a public elementary school where planters were installed to prevent cars from parking on the sidewalk, which made those kids’ walk to school safer.
Giving to Feet First Philly’s mini-grant program allows them to support more projects in more neighborhoods across Philadelphia. It’s a great way for individuals and families to help make an immediate impact in making our city safer for pedestrians.
Will you join me this year in donating to improve public space in Philadelphia? Feet First Philly is asking for donations to increase the number of community projects they can fund this year. Mini-grants range from $500-2,000 and I am challenging donors to match my $2,000 donation by October 19 so that Feet First Philly can award 2-3 more mini-grants.
Peter Kim, Feet First Philly member